Heading down the coast later this week for the Concert for Kids charity U2 gig that’s part of the Dreamforce conference, I’m already conjuring up thoughts of the rush I’ll get as my heroes take the stage. I haven’t seen them perform live since my birthday trip to Dublin last November, so I couldn’t be more ready for that rush.
For those who aren’t as passionate (or downright nutty) as us, part of what we “superfans” do is debate the setlist. Before (sometimes during) and after shows, we like to predict, celebrate (or mourn) and de-brief about which songs were played. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what they’d play leading up to this event until I saw today that they’re resurrecting their stadium stage from the Vertigo tour for the show. And because I’m someone who believes inanimate objects hold energy, and I also believe that Bono will feel like “time traveling” a bit, my opinion on what they will likely play has shifted.
Before I go any further, I should disclaim: I honestly have no tips or inside information on this setlist, so if I turn out to be wildly accurate, just chalk it up to my years of following them on the road and a healthy dose of God-given intuition. If I turn out to be completely wrong, well, that’s fine too.
I should also say that this is in no way, shape or form my “dream setlist.” If I had any say in the matter, a lot of the greatest hits would fall by the wayside to be replaced by sentimental favorites, or they’d just play their War album start to finish.
This list isn’t what I think they even should do, it’s what I think they will do.
- Vertigo — The stage is literally set for them to bust this out, and I’m 100% sure they will. Why do I think they’ll open with it? Bono can count the crowd in with some Spanish. It’s hard not to jump up and down when they start playing it. Most of the audience will know it even if they’re not U2 fans (especially if their memories go back as far as 2004 when it was featured in an iPod commercial). Side note: he hasn’t sang “twinkle” since then. It’s “sparkle” now. Just an FYI.
- Elevation — While the crowd is amped, they’ll want to keep them that way, and this song is another one that’s so familiar (if only because it’s often played at sporting events), it will do the trick.
- Beautiful Day — Obligatory. They’re in California. It most likely will be a beautiful day. And everyone knows the words.
- Even Better Than The Real Thing — Taking the average age of the crowd into consideration, something from Achtung Baby should come out by now, and I’m bargaining it’s the least exciting (but arguably most recognizable) one.
- Stuck in a Moment (You Can’t Get Out Of )— Five songs in, they’ll slow it down and for some reason, I think they’ll do it with this. Can’t explain it; just feeling it. Maybe even a “California” snippet at the end. This choice isn’t logical, by the way. Just a gut feeling.
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For — A crowd pleaser for sure, this one would fit nicely after that ^ one.
- The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) — They opened their shows with this on the most recent tour, and it’s the song they played the day they (gasp) gifted us their free album during the Apple event two years ago. Dreamforce is a tech crowd, and even if the audience members aren’t die-hard U2 fans, they’ll probably have heard this at least once before. I don’t think they can not play something from the current album, and this is the most logical choice.
- I Will Follow — Bono will give some speech about how The Ramones inspired them, blah, blah and break into their most recognizable early hit.
- Desire — The band caused quite a stir last week with their Donald Trump take on this song at the iHeartRadio Music Festival. A month out from the election? They’ll do it again, I hope.
- Bullet the Blue Sky — They’ll follow with this to add an exclamation point to that ^. Outside, it’s America.
- The Fly — With graphics that speak to the election (hopefully). How great would it be to see the phrases from this hateful Donald Trump word cloud make an appearance in the classic Fly sequence? So great.
- Sunday Bloody Sunday — While they’re pissed, this is a natural path to take, turning from America’s injustices to Ireland’s.
- Every Breaking Wave — Another radio-friendly song from the current album to calm things down (This is when douchey jerks in the audience will refill their beers. Sorry, it’s just true).
- One — Bono will need a break by this point and he can make the crowd sing this one. Don’t act like you don’t know it.
- Mysterious Ways — They’ll wake everyone back up with this dance-y pleasure, which I (for the record) never get tired of hearing/seeing.
- New Year’s Day — This is a bit of a wild card, but it could work.
- Where the Streets Have No Name — They have to.
18. Pride (In the Name of Love) — They can’t put it off too much longer; the show is almost over.
19. Walk On — A little hope for the ride home.
20. With or Without You — Easy choice. Good choice. Good night.