#U2eiTOUR Pre-Show and Post-Show Music

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-05-23)

Originally Posted: May 2, 2018 | Last Updated: May 13, 2018

With each new tour we like to keep track of the music by other artists that U2 use throughout the production, including the music used before, after and during the shows. The eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour is no different, as the tour winds through North America and later Europe we will track the music we hear throughout. We’ve been tracking these songs since the PopMart tour in 1997, and all of the tours since can be found in one spot in our Tour Songs news page. As well on that page you can find links to Spotify playlists containing most of the songs if you want to relive a particular tour. The Spotify playlist for the current #U2eiTOUR is available here.

The tour music we hear before a show is something that has been curated in the past by Gavin Friday for each tour. As Gavin is part of this tour as well, it is highly likely he has had some participation in this tours music as well.

The mix usually starts off with a mix of album tracks – one or two artists will be featured with a number of tracks in a row. Later that will break into an actual mix where the songs are all from different artists.

Pre-Show Music:

During the tour, pre-show music is the songs that play from the time that the audience is allowed into the building up until the final songs that U2 use to take the stage. With no opening act, the pre-show music makes up much of the background noise as fans wait for the show to begin. Like on previous tours, the music generally starts out with music from complete albums, before switching to a mix of songs from various artists. In Tulsa for instance, the music starting out were from two albums, Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. (2017) and Echo and the Bunnymen’s Crocodiles (1980) before switching into the mix of songs. In the case of long delays, sometimes one of these albums will once again repeat prior to show time.

During the tour the following albums have been identified as playing to start out the pre-show:

Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. (2017): Tracks heard include “Loyalty” (featuring Rihanna), “Feel”, “Yah”, “DNA”, “XXX” (featuring U2), “Pride”, “Love” and “Element”
Echo and the Bunnymen’s Crocodiles (1980): Tracks heard include “Happy Death Men”, “Villiers Terrace”, “Going Up”, “Do It Clean”, “Stars are Stars”, “Pride”, “Monkeys”, “Crocodiles”, “Read it in Books”
David Bowie’s Blackstar (2016): Tracks heard include “I Can’t Give Everything Away”, “Girl Loves Me”, “Lazarus”, “Blackstar”
LCD Soundsystem’s American Dream (2017): Tracks heard included “Oh Baby”, “Black Screen”, “Emotional Haircut”, “American Dream”, “Call the Police”, and “How Do You Sleep?”
Frank Ocean’s Blonde (2016): Tracks heard include “Be Yourself”, “Pink / White”, “Nights”, “Facebook Story”, “White Ferrari”, “Seigfried” and “God Speed”
Gavin Friday’s Shag Tobacco (1995): Tracks heard include “Dolls”, “You, Me, and World War III” and “Kitchen Sink Drama”

After these full albums are played, the mix of songs starts to play, which includes songs from a number of artists. Some of these songs are featured on the albums that are played as well, but are clearly part of the pre-show mix as they are heard on nights that the albums are not played.

  • “Mystery of Love” – Sufjan Stevens
  • “Fastlove” – George Michael
  • “Lover Lover Lover” – Leonard Cohen
  • “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” – David Bowie
  • “1979” – The Smashing Pumpkins
  • “Sign ‘O’ The Times” – Prince
  • “Love” – Lana Del Ray
  • “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden
  • “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” – Cigarettes After Sex
  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
  • “Don’t Believe the Hype” – Public Enemy
  • “Zombie” – Cranberries
  • “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” – Dead or Alive
  • “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” – Arctic Monkeys
  • “The Wind Cries Mary” – Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • “Tonight Tonight” – The Smashing Pumpkins
  • “Baby’s on Fire” – Brian Eno
  • “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division
  • “Heathens” – 21 Pilots
  • “Love My Way” – The Psychedelic Furs
  • “Cars” – Gary Numan
  • “Rise” – PiL
  • “Enjoy the Silence” – Depeche Mode
  • “The Road to Perdition” – Atonalist and Gavin Friday
  • “Hong Kong Garden” – Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • “Pagan Lovesong” – Virgin Prunes
  • “You Gotta Be Alive” – St. Francis Hotel
  • “First We Take Manhattan” – Leonard Cohen
  • “Oh Baby” – LCD Soundsystem
  • “Kashmir” – Led Zepplin

In rehearsals for the show leading up to Tulsa the following songs were also heard in the pre-show music:

  • “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth” – Sparks
  • “What A Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
  • “The Son of Flynn” – Daft Punk

Intro Music:

In Tulsa, and the shows up to and including Las Vegas 1, the last song before U2 took the stage was “Winter Beats” by I Break Horses. It was listed in the set list as the introductory music. The song dates to 2011, and I Break Horses are a Swedish rock band. The song had been released as a single. In some copies of the initial Tulsa set list, the introductory music was instead listed as “Intro – Misc Electronica – 5:25”, but other copies of the set list list it as “Intro – Winter Beats”. Both versions of the set list showed a time stamp of 6:45pm the day of the show.


AUDIO: “Winter Beats” by I Break Horses

Starting with the second show in Las Vegas, the last song before U2 took the stage was “It’s a Beautiful World” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The song had also been tried out in rehearsals for the show, but it didn’t get used on the tour until the second show in Las Vegas. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds opened many shows on The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, but did not perform this song live in those appearances. On the set lists, the song is listed as “It’s a Zootiful World,” a reference to Zoo TV, and the song is indeed touched by Zoo TV. If you listen carefully you’ll hear “What do you want?” from Zoo TV in the mix.


AUDIO: “It’s a Beautiful World” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

After the intro music there is a brief instrumental piece, overlaid with sounds from an MRI scan. The voices say “Breathe, Breathe in please, Breathe in, Breathe in, Exhale, Thank you. Exhale. Thank you.” The music that can be heard under the voices is Han Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s “Rain” from the Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack. This goes directly into the next song by U2 on the PA.


AUDIO: “Rain” by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch

The intro music that U2 takes the stage to is “Love is All We Have Left” played over the PA. In rehearsals Bono was sometimes heard to sing along with the track.

During the Show:

  • “The Sick Rose” and “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” – Gavin Friday and Regine Chassagne (from Arcade Fire)

Gavin Friday, longtime friend to Bono, and former lead singer of the Virgin Prunes is featured during the Experience and Innocence Tour. Over the music for “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” Gavin can be heard reciting William Blake’s poem, “The Sick Rose” from Songs of Experience, and then continuing on to sing “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”. Regine Chassagne from Arcade Fire joins Gavin on vocals for the song. “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” is a cover of the song that U2 contributed to the Batman Forever soundtrack in 1995, and the video for the song featured an animated MacPhisto. In 2015, during the Intermission, the band started out using a variety of videos before settling in on a cover of “The Fly” by Gavin Friday, that had been newly recorded for that tour. This time, Gavin’s vocals are back for the Intermission, accompanied by an animated video that walks through a twisted comic book take on the band complete with super powers, and mysterious strangers.


VIDEO: Courtesy of U2Gigs.Com: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

  • “Prelude to 110 or 220 / Women of the World” – Jim O’Rourke

“Women of the World” is a song that was first recorded by Ivor Cutler and Linda Hirst in 1983. In 1999, Jim O’Rourke released his album Eureka, which included a cover of the song titled, “Prelude to 110 or 220 / Women of the World”. O’Rourke is probably best known as a musician and a producer, and worked with Sonic Youth. U2 is using his version of the song as a break before they return to the stage to play “One” in concert. “Women of the world take over, ‘cos if you don’t the world will come to an end, and it won’t take long”. The version of the song that U2 is using in concert is a new mix of the song, still featuring O’Rourke’s vocals, but with added instrumentation, and added vocals by Madison Ryann Ward. U2 have since recorded the audience at the Ellen show singing the song to mix into the vocal, and are asking their fans to also contribute by sending in a recording of their voices singing the song.


VIDEO: “Women of the World” by Jim O’Rourke

Outro Music:

The final song after U2 depart the stage for the first two shows is the song that the Innocence and Experience tour started with, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” only this time its a remix of the song. On set lists seen during the show it is labeled as “Out-tro: The Miracle (of Joey Ramone / Ambiant Mix)” (Yes, ambient is spelled that way on the actual set list papers.)

For the third show of the tour, in San Jose, a Talking Heads song is used instead, “This Must Be the Place.” Earlier in the show Bono mentions Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads who may have been at the show. This change is likely due to him being present. After the first show in San Jose, the song reverted to “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) (Ambient Mix)” each night, but it is still being listed as the Talking Heads on set lists. We have confirmed that it is indeed “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” and that “This Must Be the Place” was only used for the first show in San Jose. In that show in San Jose, although “This Must Be the Place” was used, the Ambient Mix of “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” was eventually played over the PA system as well.

A big thank you for the help from Joe Ahorro, U2Start, Tim C and Jaime Rodriguez, Nico, Edo, Morgan, G’lies and Paul for assistance with the identification of some of the songs.

< Next News Entry | Previous News Entry >

u2songs.com was formerly known as u2wanderer.org. Follow us on Twitter | Facebook