Axver (axver) wrote,

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It's 11 O'clock ... Tick Tock!

Firstly, people, I would just like to alert some of you to the existence of the lj-cut. Yes, it's there, and it exists for a reason. Please use it. Thank you.

Secondly, I believe it's deadlydenial's birthday today, so happy birthday to you! Hope you have a really good day.

So I'm permanently banned from CF for something I didn't do. The administration amuse me. They claim to be so Christian but the second anyone disagrees with them, their mask fails and they're shown to be little different to the Pharisees. I love it how the very people who harp on so much about forgiveness, selflessness, and compassion are the first to reject those virtues when put in the position to practice them. It would be amusing if it weren't so sad and pathetic. If Christ had a grave to turn in, he'd be turning in it.

Just got another assignment from Interference. May not be quite as easy as my first one. Hmm ... it's on emotional live moments, so maybe I should listen to a U2 bootleg instead of this new Dire Straits one?

I've decided that Lovetown was the greatest U2 tour ever. Bono's voice at that time had absolutely no peer, the band were making some amazing music, there was a quality mix between old and new material, the setlists weren't static, and it was just an all-round incredible tour. I cannot believe they went from that to ZooTV. I consider it a tragedy. ZooTV would've been a fantastic tour if U2 had never made any music before Achtung Baby (I'd say before The Joshua Tree, but how could they possibly abandon Hawkmoon 269 and God Part II?). And really, Streets is one of the greatest live songs ever and the Lovetown version, in my opinion, is totally unmatched. Best Streets: 26 December 1989, Dublin; 18 December 1989, Amsterdam; 30 December 1989, Dublin. Pride wasn't all that bad on the 30th either. The end is great, by Pride standards. And really, She's A Mystery To Me! Why was that played so infrequently?

11 O'clock Tick Tock started life under a different name, the Silver Lining. The music was pretty similar, but the lyrics were different, and it was one of many U2 songs played live around Ireland that didn't make the cut for the Boy CD. However, unlike Street Mission and The Fool, it did not just vanish. Instead, it evolved a little bit, and with a new title and lyrics, it was recorded and released as a single, with a b-side named Touch, which I believe was also the evolution of the pre-Boy song Trevor. The single is arguably the worst version of 11 O'clock Tick Tock in existence - it seems like U2 were simply trying too hard, but couldn't capture the enthralling live atmosphere of the song.

Essentially, that is what 11 O'clock Tick Tock was - a live song to really get the crowd going. It's not a work of art, it's not even got that many lyrics, and it's not meant to blow your mind with complexity. It was a live song that the crowd loved, and for this reason, it was often played twice in the early days. During the Boy Tour, it would regularly both open and close the show, or be the second and second-last tracks, with The Ocean opening and closing. For the October tour, it was largely confined to the encore, flowing perfectly as always with The Ocean to close gigs. It would seem from video footage that the band really enjoyed this song, and I don't blame them, for it sure was an exciting number.

When the War Tour rolled around, 11 O'clock Tick Tock initially appeared late the main set before being promptly shuffled back to the encore, this time without The Ocean. This is when I believe the song hit its peak, and the greatest performance was captured in all its glory on the Under A Blood Red Sky video from the 5 June 1983 concert at Red Rocks. Edge was absolutely scorching on guitar that night, and indeed on every War recording I've heard. Sadly, the version of 11 O'clock Tick Tock that appeared on the Under A Blood Red Sky EP was edited horribly. It was taken from 6 May 1983, Boston and whoever edited it did an absolutely appalling job. When you compare this recording to the bootleg, they don't even sound like they're from the same show. The editor sucked all the life, power, and intensity out of the song, leaving a bland piece that most people probably give little thought to. So the UABRS video remains the only officially released material to showcase 11 O'clock Tick Tock in its full glory.

Initially, it was in the encore on the next tour, The Unforgettable Fire Tour, but when U2 returned from the Southern Hemisphere and began their European leg, 11 O'clock Tick Tock returned to the opening position for the first time in over three years. This was where it stayed for almost every show, being played with the song it regularly appeared in the encore with on War, I Will Follow. It made for an electrifying opening combo that surely excited the audience.

However, The Unforgettable Fire Tour was pretty much the end of the road for 11 O'clock Tick Tock. It was never to return in its original form. The short set of the Conspiracy Of Hope Tour that U2 were a part of did not allow the song to be included, and it was not until the third-last show of The Joshua Tree that it appeared again. The date was 12 December 1987, and in Hampton, U2 followed MLK with what was then a unique rendition of 11 O'clock Tick Tock - it was shorter than past versions, containing a single solo that was essentially a combination of the two of old. This set the tone for the future. It looked like it had been totally dropped for Lovetown, but then at the very end of the European leg, it appeared on 30 December 1989 in Dublin and again at the last show of 'old' U2, 10 January 1990, Rotterdam.

For the next ten years, 11 O'clock Tick Tock was abandoned, along with almost all of U2's older material. I once read rumours that it was considered as a song for MacPhisto to sing and that it was practiced during a German Popmart soundcheck, though I do not know how accurate those rumours are. In any case, it is doubtful anyone saw its appearance on 5 December 2000 coming. U2 was playing Irving Plaza in New York and right at the end of the set, they pulled out a very pleasing surprise with this song. It then appeared eight times on the first two legs of Elevation, but then 11 September intervened, altering U2's setlist - for instance, The Fly and 11 O'clock Tick Tock were out, while Please was back in.

The future of 11 O'clock Tick Tock is now up in the air. Will it return? It was such an important number in the band's early days that one has to hope they'll perform it again in future, at least in recognition of its significance. After all, on 28 February 1983, Bono did say "We won't forget this one!" I'll hold you to that, Bono. I just feel sorry for anyone nearby if U2 do choose to play it at a show I'm attending.

We thought that we had the answers
It was the questions we had wrong

Well now, that was fun. Hooray for 11 O'clock Tick Tock! Best song ever. I think I'll be focusing on some more serious stuff tomorrow.
Tags: 11 o'clock tick tock, u2
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