What Counts As A Performance?
Simply put, U2Tours considers any instance of U2 (or a member of U2) playing a song for an audience to be an official “performance.” This can take many forms. The most common, of course, is a concert setting. But we also include things like television or radio appearances (pre-taped or live) and most recently, pre-recorded songs posted by the band to social media. We also count things like Bono singing bits of a song at press conferences or other similar events. We do not typically add soundchecks or rehearsals, unless fans have been specifically brought into the venue to watch. The most popular example of this is U2’s ZooTV rehearsals in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 1992.
How Do You Determine Which Setlists To Add?
At U2Tours, we place a premium on identifying and confirming information before we add it to our database. We look for as many primary sources as we can, and will only add songs that we can confirm explicitly. In most cases, this confirmation is done by listening to live recordings. However, we also look for reviews and articles in newspapers, magazines, books, or other mediums. Occasionally, fans submit hand-written setlists from early shows. Unless the person attended the show themselves, and/or has other corroborating evidence (ticket stubs, passes, ads, or posters), we usually do not add those setlists to our database until we can find additional sources to confirm.
A Word On Snippets
From a setlist perspective, U2 concerts are unique due to Bono’s habit of singing short bits of other songs during U2 songs. In the U2 Community, these short verses are known as “snippets.” Some of them recur night after night, but many others are spontaneous and often fleeting. These snippets can range from just a few words to full verses, or in rarer occasions, a musical measure played by The Edge.
So how do we decide if something is a snippet or a full song? When it's a very short snippet of another song while U2 continues to play the main song, we won't include it in the proper setlist, but we will include it as a snippet. When it's a longer snippet, and/or when the main song stops so the other song can be sung/played, we will include it as a separate entry in the setlist. For other recognizable song additions that are neither snippets nor separate songs (like Bono's famous Shine Like Stars coda in "With Or Without You") we will list them as a part of the song in question, but not as a snippet. Anything else will be listed in the Notes section for each concert date.
We're always interested in hearing any suggestions or corrections you have to the setlists we post. The best way to do that is to email us here or find us on Twitter and provide as much evidence as you can to explain why you think we got it wrong. We're always happy to hear from you!