Glastonbury (Pilton Farm), Pilton, England, United Kingdom

Set List of Show:

Main Set:

  • "Even Better Than the Real Thing"
  • "The Fly"
  • "Mysterious Ways"
  • "Until the End of the World"
  • "One"
  • "Where the Streets Have No Name"
  • "I Will Follow"
  • "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
  • "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)"
  • "Beautiful Day"
  • "Elevation"
  • "Get On Your Boots"
  • "Vertigo"
  • "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
  • "Bad"
  • "Pride (In the Name of Love)"

  • "With or Without You"
  • "Moment of Surrender"
  • "Out of Control"

Additional Music

Pre-Recorded Intro Song: "Space Oddity" - David Bowie

Snippets of Other Songs Performed by U2:

    "Independent Women" (Destiny's Child) / "Jerusalem" (William Blake) / "All You Need is Love" (The Beatles) / "Movin' On Up" (Primal Scream) / "Rain" (The Beatles) / "She Loves You" (The Beatles) / "Garageland" (The Clash) / "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division) / "Yellow" (Coldplay) /

Show Details:

U2 finally play the legendary Glastonbury Festival. U2 are playing on the main stage, aka the Pyramid Stage, and are headlining the first day of a three festival on a Friday night. Coldplay are headlining the second day of the festival and Beyonce is headlining the third. Attendance included 135,000 tickets for the weekend, as well as 37,500 passes for crew, performers, traders etc.

The Festival which started in 1970 happens most summers in Pilton, Summerset, England. Usually at five year intervals the festival will take a year off to give organizers and the venue a break. The festival is organized each year by founder Michael Eavis and his family. Tickets are for the full multi-day event, and most camp right on site for the entire festival.

For those not familiar with the festival, there are multiple stages which run music concurrently with the main Pyramid Stage. This means that Primal Scream, DJ Shadow, Crystal Castles and Fatboy Slim are all scheduled to be performing on the smaller stages at the same time that U2 is on the main stage. The lead in to U2’s performance on the Pyramid Stage is Morrissey, who’s set finishes about 45-minutes before the start of U2’s show.

Tickets for the 2011 festival sold out in four hours. Tickets went on sale on October 3, 2010 and cost £195 for the ticket plus £5 for a booking fee and postage. U2 was announced to be the Friday evening act on February 24, 2011, although it was long rumoured that they would play the show due to their cancellation the previous year. The Festival in 2011 broke a new record, with 18.6-million viewers tuning in to watch the festival on TV.

U2 had been listed on the Glastonbury Poster in 1982, but did not play the festival that year. Adam Clayton joined Hothouse Flowers on the Pyramid Stage in 1989. U2 were initially scheduled to perform on the Saturday night in 2010 but that appearance was cancelled with Bono’s back injury and subsequent injury. Muse ended up taking the slot from U2, and The Edge joined Muse to perform “Where the Streets Have No Name”. But this appearance in 2011 was the first appearance of the full band at Glastonbury.

U2’s plans for the Festival in 2010 would have followed a three-act set up. They planned to open with “Where the Streets Have No Name” and then spend the first third of the performance focused on songs from the 1980s. Act two would have seen the band do the first half hour of the Zoo TV show including the original video sequences, and then act three would have been a modern day version of the band, taking inspiration from the U2360 tour, including a new song written for the event called “Glastonbury”.

Willie Williams shared in his diary for U2.com, “I loved this set list but in the intervening year things moved on and besides, there was so much public speculation about the band opening with Streets that we revisited the idea. After much deliberation we now have a similar kind of set but with acts one and two swapped. This means we now intend to open the Glastonbury set with five songs from Achtung Baby that are staged with all the accompanying ZooTV visuals and I for one am psychotically excited about it. The one exception is Even Better Than the Real Thing which opens the show. The new version of the music demanded a new visual idea, so none other than Damien Hirst was commissioned to make a video piece to accompany the song.”

U2’s performance started with five songs from Achtung Baby recalling the opening of Zoo TV where many of the songs from the new album were played back to back. The show very much resembled the second show played in Anaheim a few nights earlier for the first half of things. After that U2 played a number of songs which had been released as singles over the years.

The full set included 19 songs. Every song had been released as a commercial single except for “Until the End of the World” and “Moment of Surrender”. Some singles including “Out of Control” (Ireland only), “Bad” (South Africa only), and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (Brazil, Japan, and Europe only) had limited releases but each was released commercially. In the end the song U2 had worked on for the 2010 performance, “Glastonbury” was not played in the show. Fans would hear it again, as elements of the song were reworked first into “Volcano” and later into “American Soul”.

Snippets included “Independent Woman” as part of “Mysterious Ways” (Beyonce was playing the final night) and “Yellow” as an introduction to “Moment of Surrender” (Coldplay is playing tomorrow night). Other snippets include “All You Need is Love” during “Where the Streets Have No Name”, “Movin’ On Up” during “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “Rain” as part of “Beautiful Day”, “She Loves You” and “Garageland” as part of “Vertigo”. “With or Without You” also includes a bit of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Also included are bits of William Blake’s poem “And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times” which is listed here as the song “Jerusalem”, a song based off of the poem, put to music in 1916 by Sir Hubert Perry.

In the middle of the set is a nod to Live Aid. U2 play “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Bad” back to back, and then launch into “Pride (In the Name of Love)” next, the third song they had planned to play at Live Aid, but the one that had to be dropped due to going over their time with “Bad”.

A new video has been prepared for “Even Better Than the Real Thing” by artist Damien Hirst. Video footage for the remainder of the Achtung Baby tracks included footage from the original Zoo TV tour. And the footage of Commander Mark Kelly on the International Space Station that U2 have been using in the U2360 tour opens up “Beautiful Day”. The band do leave the stage between “Pride” and “With or Without You” but seem to come back quickly.

The weather do not cooperate with the band. A light rain had started in mid-afternoon. It got steadily worse as the day went on. The crowd was wet and cold. As Morrissey took the stage the rain got harder and indeed by the time U2 was to perform was actually quite heavy. It made the stage slippery and somewhat dangerous to move around on.

There were technical issues throughout the performance as well. The trailer which powered the equipment to run the video walls had lost power, and the video was run on back up power. And some elements of “Even Better Than the Real Thing” weren’t present, as Terry Lawless, working behind a video wall tonight, had his computer rack knocked over and was unable to play as he set things back up.

The entire show was broadcast live on BBC with just a small delay between performance and broadcast. U2’s performance of “I Will Follow” was released the following day.

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Officially Released Tracks