May 11, 2008
opening hymns for U2charists
I think it's important to have the opening hymn be a high-energy song. Especially if you're not going to be having the congregation singing preludes first, it's also good for it to be a song with an intro that starts relatively quietly and builds (e.g., "All Because of You" asks people to jump in too quickly, I think). Some songs that I've found work well as opening hymns for U2charists include:
- "Pride (In the Name of Love)" -- especially if you're doing it live and extend the chimey harmonic guitar intro
- "Elevation" -- especially if you start it with an extended call and response in which the lead singer sings, "the goal is ..." and everyone sings/shouts "SOUL!" (listen to the mix of "Elevation" playing as the band takes the stage in the Elevation: Live in Boston and U2 Go Home DVDs to get an idea of how the music would sound -- and, by the way, as long as you've got one person who can play a tamborine, you can do this without a band)
- "Where the Streets Have No Name" -- I prefer to use it as a communion hymn, but I've always wanted to do it as an opening hymn in a church with an organ, with the organ playing the opening chords before the guitar comes in for the intro
- "Beautiful Day" -- works well because it gives some time for energy to build before the chorus. Drawback: the verses are too low for a lot of people (especially women) to sing, and the chorus and bridge are too high for many men to sing (this is particularly true if you're going from recordings, and therefore can't change the key).
- "I Will Follow" -- fun because its opening riff is so iconic. I do like to use this one as a dismissal, though; I picture it as sending people forth like the angel at the end of the Gospel According to Mark, with "if you walk away, I walk away" as the congregational response.