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February 19, 2008

what if I want to do music for the U2charist live, but don't have a full band?

A lot of folks would like to do some or all of the music for their U2charist live, but don't have access to a full band. No problem! Obviously, having a bass player and a lead guitarist with good effects (U2's trademark sound is in large part about The Edge's use of multiple delay effects) is nice. However, most U2 songs are very simple -- two or three chords, in many cases -- and can be done quite well with just a competent rhythm guitarist and a drummer (djembe/congas, even). Here are some songs that I've done with that arrangement:

  • All I Want Is You
  • I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  • Walk On
  • Peace on Earth
  • I Will Follow (playing the full chords E and A instead of just the two strings The Edge uses for the song -- with just the two strings and no bass, the song sounds very thin)
  • Gloria (again, with full chords instead of high lead tones)
  • Wake Up Dead Man
  • Stuck in a Moment
  • Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own
  • Yahweh
  • God Part II (done as a blues song, with the rhythm guitarist giving more of a bassy feel by playing the A-string two frets higher with her/his pinkie on the 2 and 4 beats)
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday (listen to the solo acoustic version The Edge has done live)
  • Desire
  • Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
  • Staring at the Sun
  • Bad
  • Running to Stand Still
  • "40"


Believe it or not, I've even done "MoFo" from the heavily-electronic album Pop as a solo acoustic blues song.


This isn't an exhaustive list by any means. If you want some more ideas about songs that work well without a full band or with acoustic instruments only, I highly recommend checking out what songs U2 has done in acoustic sets in concert. U2's concert DVDs are one way to see those acoustic sets, but fans have also posted U2 doing songs acoustic on YouTube. If you do an advanced Google search for pages including all the words "U2 guitar tabs" and the exact phrase "[the title of the song you want]," you'll find you don't even have to work to figure out what the chords are for most songs.


In short, if you've got one person in your youth group who can play the chords 'E' and 'A' and who owns a capo, you can do a lot of U2 material live, provided you meet the criteria U2 have set up for doing so (i.e., it's billed as a worship service and not a concert, and all money collected at the service goes to an organization working to advance the Millennium Development Goals).


And know that if you've got questions, you can email me; I do my best to answer such questions promptly.


February 19, 2008 in Music tips (live), U2charist F.A.Q. | Permalink

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