U2's biggest surprises: Electrical Storm
In this series we go back to recent times to highlight U2's biggest surprises in liveshows and elaborate on their significance and fans' responses. In this part we travel back to 2 July 2009, to the live debut of Electrical Storm, a song no one expected to hear and was retired already only 2 performances later.
U2 opened their 360 tour in Barcelona with two shows. As U2 played a stadium it was very difficult for them to hide their soundchecks to fans listening outside. The draft rehearsal for the first show disclosed most of the 360 setlist already. On the afternoon of the second show, fans outside couldn't believe their ears as U2 rehearsed both Drowning Man and Electrical Storm. Two songs never played live before, and two songs fans would not have put on their predictions of songs to make it to the 360 tours setlist. The first unfortunately ultimately never made it to a live appearance, but the second already appeared later on that day. The first six songs of the setlist were identical to the first night, before U2 started to mix things up. Fans saw the tour debuts of Desire and Party Girl before U2 went into Electrical Storm, a huge surprise to most of the fans listening in from inside the stadium and from their homes.
The fans' respons in the stadium was not very enthusiastic and it seemed only the die-hards both knew the song and it was only them who appreciated the significance of the surprise that U2 pulled. U2 played the song just two times more (in Milan and Gothenburg) before putting the song to what it appears to be its final resting place in live appearances, which only makes the three performances the more special.
OMG!!!! ELECTRICAL STORM!!! I love you U2!!! #U2— Tassoula (@tassoula) July 2, 2009
* Electrical Storm was played just three times live in concert, on 2 July 2009 in Barcelona, 8 July 2009 in Milan and on 1 August 2009 in Gothenburg.
* No U2 single part of an album or best of album was played live fewer times than Electrical Storm.
* Electrical Storm's live debut came 8 years after the song's release date as a single (November 2001).
Back in 2009 it was quite rare for fans to listen in live to a show online. Most of the show on 2 July was streamed online via 1000mikes (sort-of like a cellphone broadcast), so fans online were witnessing this appearance. It was evident from the tweets sent on that day that this was quite a rare performance appreciated by many:
https://twitter.com/javibalbo/status/2444789052 The liveshow topic on this show on the U2start forums also exploded when Electrical Storm was played, as can be read onwards from here in the topic from 2009 (apologies for all the cursing):
Originally posted by flowerchild:OMG !!!!!!!!! ES!!!!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Originally posted by AllBecauseOfU2:HOLY FUCK
Originally posted by MWSAH:Oh fuck..listening to the first live ES ever on my room
Originally posted by Risto:I'll contact the queen and negotiate a new national holiday. You can fight your own battle. Im too excited
Originally posted by walkon:this day should go into the history books!!
Originally posted by pepepotro:WOW AMAZING IM CRYING AND SOMEONE IS RECORD THIS ?????
I attended both Barcelona shows in 2009, and remember being in the seats for this show on the other end of the stadium, seeing The Claw in the distance. I don't think I knew about the rehearsals of the afternoon and for the first few notes of Electrical Storm it took me a few moments to realise that it was actually Electrical Storm. I remember standing up and saying something to my girlfriend in the lines of: the fans online are going crazy at this moment. Something which was not the case for everyone around me, as all people remained to be seated down and either not recognising the song or at least nog realising its significance. All in all, I really loved the performance. When it comes to such a surprise you don't really care how well it is played, you love it either way. Looking back at it I am quite happy to have witnessed such a rare performance.
When U2 pulls out a surprise in the early days of a tour you always wonder how they judge it themselves and if they will consider it to be part of the main set. In the case of Electrical Storm they gave it a chance and worked on it for several weeks, but in the end they didn't think it was either good enough or getting the reception they expected so they dropped it after a month. It is a difficult song to be played live, and it is a song mostly remembered by U2 fans as a big surprise rather than an amazing live version of a song. It is likely Electrical Storm will never make a live appearance again, but on the other hand there probably is no U2 fan to be found who blames U2 for trying.
The article U2's biggest surprises: Electrical Storm was published on U2start.com by Remy and last updated .
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Amazing to hear it live but no surprise it's been dropped to be honest
I love this song and am disappointed it isnt played more. The version on Edge's Picks is fantastic and one of the highlights of the whole set. Sometimes I wish U2 would just play what they want instead of being so sensitive to the crowd's response. You cannot tell me that ES would get less of a response than RBW or Invisible.