There are two conflicting things going on here for mine.
The first is track selection. On the release of U2's "Best Of's" there was always great debate about which songs were selected and which were not. The 80's compilation was probably a little too hit laden, but an accurate reflection of the bands work in the 80's. However, the 90's release wasn't as good a reflection of U2's most ambitious decade. I always thought it took the safe route after the back lash of Pop. More than once I thought I could do better, making sure more ambitious and important material like The Fly, Lemon and Mofo were included. You see, I know better! In more recent times, this type of debate has moved to Internet forums from almost every corner of the globe. Fans putting forward their suggestions for set-lists in the lead up to opening night of tours. We've all seen them: why not forget Pride and New Year's Day and open the show with Acrobat followed by Lady with the Spinning Head? Sound familiar? You see, we ALL know better. We should pick the set-list!
Secondly, as Bono will tell you, the sum is, when U2 is at its best, bigger than the parts. U2 concerts for many of us are a living breathing thing, merging 22-24 tracks into one big, loud and passionate celebration/experience. Think Red Rocks. Think Zoo TV Live in Sydney. Think post September 11 shows in New York. For that reason, U2's tour related releases are usually documented from a single show that illustrates this almost unrivaled skill. U2 are the best at this and a compilation CD will surely lose this? I never liked INXS Live Baby Live CD, for instance, as unlike the fantastic Wembley only video release, the CD was a mish-mash from several concerts on the tour; it just didn't work as well.
So here we are with U22, a fan voted fan club release so WE can select the best songs of the tour. Great idea, but will it be a cohesive document of the tour? Will it work? Does it matter?
Enough of that for the time being, it is all about the songs we picked. Can you think of a U2 live release that sounds better both technically (well done Declan/Joe) and performance wise? It sounds awesome and illustrates that despite advancing years, U2 still sound GREAT. The version of Bad, for instance, reaffirmed what I thought when we were lucky enough to hear it played in Melbourne and Sydney on 360. I left those shows thinking they were the best versions of Bad EVER, but put that down to after-concert glow. But you know what? They were playing Bad really well on 360 and this stunning version from Rome surely proves it. The segue into All I Want is You is fabulous, but does make the next track, All I Want is You, jar a little! But hell, we were there when they played All I Want is You/Love Rescue Me - and the thrilling two minute Michael Hutchence tribute in-between made this Australian spine tingle.
From the storming start of the re-imagined Even Better Than the Real Thing from Mexico, to the Frank Sinatra tinged Until the End of The World, it is a strong fast paced start. There are great performances perfectly mixed everywhere. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and Stay change the mood, both showing Bono's pipes still work. The fans know their stuff, why wouldn't U2 play Stay every night after hearing this? I suspect nearly everyone voted for One Tree Hill too. Us fans know what we are talking about, clearly.
Other highlights are another brilliantly performed track on 360, The Unforgettable Fire. UF segues perfectly into the next track, Zooropa, despite never being played together and being played two years apart on two different continents! Big tick here, especially when City of Blinding Lights follows almost seamlessly. Remarkably, the track placement ebbs and flows in a manner that makes it still feel like a cohesive concert. We are however reminded that it is not when the crowd chants the Pride coda in the Zagreb tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi despite Pride not being played. A perfect version of MLK into Walk On follows to distract us from this. The Unforgettable Fire album does very well on this release, as it did on the tour. Also we can't forget to mention Ultraviolet, a 360 theme song of sorts, sounding fantastic on the back of Where The Streets Have No Name - no easy feat! I personally miss earlier versions of With or Without You but, no matter how it is played, it still sounds great and always will. Probably should always be after Ultraviolet too!
Although not surprised that I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight wasn't selected (I didn't vote for it either), a 360 collection sounds strange without it. It makes it a relief that Moment of Surrender, another key track of 360, is included. Reflective and moody, just like the end of a U2 concert should be. Think Red Rocks. Think Zoo TV live in Sydney. But of course, we are fans and we ALWAYS want one more. So we voted for Out of Control, didn't we? Because we know, don't we?
In the end, what makes this special is that we got a chance to have input. And sure, not everyone's selections will have made it. I'm still crying about NLOTH not being included and where was Acrobat? But the ones that did get selected sound great. The fact that it is largely cohesive and as good a live compilation as you will hear is because we picked it and U2 played it. I just listened to One again. I don't know what I was worried about.
We've just been informed about a U2 tribute band performance that's coming up later this month on Queensland's Gold Coast. We don't know much about it at this stage, other than the promotional poster below and this short blurb that's been sent to us:
Love U2? Come see this amazing Aussie tribute band at RSL Southport on the Gold Coast on the 20th of July from only $10!
These shows are always great fun, so, if you're going to be in the area, why not get along and have a great night out?!
NZ Coverband Supersystem have a U2 and Green Day show at Auckland's Shadows Bar on the 2nd of August.
The guys are hiring the venue and putting on a show with the full lighting, video and sound rig! Some Details and two free tickets on offer in our forum.
Remember to keep us informed of any upcoming U2 related events in New Zealand or Australia
U2 star Adam Clayton placed his absolute trust in a former personal assistant accused of stealing 2.8 million euro ($3.5 million) from him, a court has heard.
The bassist revealed he was so concerned for Carol Hawkins's welfare when she confessed to taking more than 13,000 euro from him that he found her a therapist because she claimed to be suicidal.
His former employee denies 181 counts of stealing cheques from him between 2004 and 2008.
Giving evidence against the 48-year-old defendant at her trial on Thursday, Clayton claimed he was in court because he trusted people.
"She had my absolute trust," he told the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin on Thursday.
"We had been together a long time; working together. She had been very conscientious. I felt she looked after my money and on many occasions accused others of being greedy, so I was extremely surprised."
Hawkins, a mother-of-two who worked for the musician for 17 years, listened attentively as Clayton, dressed in a navy jacket and grey shirt, was grilled about their working relationship and his bank details.
The defendant was a signatory on two of his bank accounts from which it is alleged she wrote 181 cheques and lodged into her own account, as well as a joint account with her then husband John Hawkins and a credit card account.
The funds bought 22 horses, with more than 400,000 euro in cash listed as horse and horse expenditure, while thousands of euro were spent on exotic holidays and in designer boutiques in New York, such as Roberto Cavalli, the court heard.
Hawkins also bought a Volkswagen Golf for her son Joe, it was claimed, and paid for fashion and film courses which Clayton suggested may have been for her son and daughter.
The alleged deception emerged in 2008 when she confessed to booking herself between 13,000 euro and 15,000 euro-worth of flights on his account to visit her children in the US and London, the rock star told the jury of seven men and five women.
"She also mentioned that she had been suicidal and had taken an overdose," he told the packed courtroom.
"I was concerned for her health and recommended she see a therapist. I got her a therapist locally.
"In the matter of the money, I accepted she was a distressed woman. Her marriage broke up; her children had gone away.
"I said we would have to verify the amounts she had been claiming."
Clayton said he removed Hawkins, who worked for him since 1992, as a signatory to his accounts but kept her as an employee until 2009.
She had carried out her duties "efficiently and well" when she worked for him, he said, adding that he only ever hired people capable of doing their job to look after his affairs.
"I trusted people and that's why we're here today," he said
After what seems like months, U2.com has announced the tracklisting for the 'U22' subscriber voted CD:
2. Where The Streets Have No Name
6. Even Better than The Real Thing
7. With or Without You
8. Beautiful Day
9. City of Blinding Lights
10. The Unforgettable Fire
11. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
12. All I Want is You/Love Rescue Me
13. Moment of Surrender
14. Until The End of the World
15. The Fly
16. One Tree Hill
17. Stay (Faraway, So Close)
18. Walk On
21. Out of Control
22. Mysterious Ways
U2.com are also promising a download bonus.... Let's hope it is a track that didn't make the CD!
From memory, Moment of Surrender is from Perth, All I Want is You/Love Rescue Me from Sydney and One Tree Hill from it's home in Auckland.
U2 were awarded the 'The Greatest Act of the Last 25 Years' in an online poll celebrating Q Magazines 25 year anniversary at the Q Awards overnight. The entire band turned out at the awards with Edge doing a short interview. Historically, Q has always been in the U2 camp when other elements of the UK music press have not always been quite so positive about U2's commercial success and size.
As a part of the Achtung Baby re-release Q have a U2 cover story in their October edition as well as a cover CD, 'AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered' . The CD has a wide array of bands and performers performing Achtung Baby tracks. CD's accompanying Q magazine releases are typically available in Australia/NZ when the magazine eventually comes out downunder a few months later. If you want the disc and don't want to risk missing out you can buy copies from the U2.comshop.
With the various 20 Year Anniversary editions of Achtung Baby being released later in the week there are a few things to look out for:
Firstly, as pointed by RXX in our forum, From The Sky Down airs on NZ TV Prime, Mon, October 31st, 9.30pm. To date we can't find anything scheduled for Aussie TV but will keep an eye out. If you see anything let us know!
Triple M radio in Melbourne are running a competition to win a deluxe edition: "Not only are Triple M giving these Deluxe packs away but there’s also copies of U2's ‘Achtung Baby’ Remastered to be won". You can listen online.
Finally- here is the first NZ/Aussie review we have seen in the NZ Herald... thanks to U2glen:
U2: Swinging an axe at The Joshua Tree
Twenty years ago, U2 headed to Berlin to record their first truly challenging album. Graham Reid considers the inevitable anniversary reissue After the excitement of Beatlemania began to pall in early 1965, the Beatles realised if they were to survive they had to do something more than write chirpy pop. Fortunately they had that combination of talent, opportunity and wealth to push their musical boundaries for that remarkable album trilogy of Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt Pepper's, all released (along with the groundbreaking single, Strawberry Fields Forever) in 18 months from late 1965.
Few artists enjoy that rare combination - or have the desire for a significant change of musical direction. Bowie did - notably with Low, Heroes and The Lodger - as did Radiohead and Wilco with OK Computer (97) and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) respectively.
Perhaps the most courageous band, with the biggest audience to lose from a sudden change, has been U2 who - after the critical drubbing for the album/film Rattle and Hum in 1988 - went to Berlin, teamed up again with producer Brian Eno and turned away from the stadium anthems that had formed the backbone of their albums The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree.
Just as the Beatles tapped the mood of their era - esoteric exotica and psychedelia, in their case - U2 also locked on to what was happening around them in the discomforting era of Ronald Reagan, the first George Bush, Margaret Thatcher and the Gulf War.
There were internal ructions in the band about their direction, Public Enemy were making headlines, and DJs, remixers and heavy rock-electronica acts like the Nine Inch Nails were entering the mainstream.
In Berlin's Hansa Studios (where Bowie and Iggy Pop had resurrected flagging careers) U2 began an album as different as it was abrupt. Out went chest-baring ballads and in came electrostatic; swaggering confidence was replaced by uncertainty; iconic became ironic; Bono's messianic pose was cast off for the leather-clad, shades-wearing caricature of The Fly; optimism was pushed aside by darker moods, chaos embraced ... and the result was Achtung Baby in 1991.
U2 kept the stadium-option open with the ballad One, but Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses and Mysterious Ways - which could have been archetypal Joshua Tree songs - were given a studio duffing up in line with the brittle and abrasive approach they brought to material like Zoo Station (the crackling opener with searing guitar, arresting distortion and clanking drumming) and The Fly.
On its 20th anniversary, this album - U2's most challenging, critically essayed and acclaimed - gets multiple reissues.
There is the album re-presented; a deluxe version with a disc of B-sides, remixes and covers (the Stones' Paint It Black and Creedence's Fortunate Son); and a six-CD/four-DVD edition with the remastered album, its Zooropa sequel, remixes and B-sides, an alternative Achtung Baby, videos, a doco and the ZooTV live film shot in Sydney. And there's the album and remixes over four vinyl records.
Only Lotto winners and obsessives might go for the super deluxe edition so, given many have the original, attention turns to the 14 extra tracks on the double-disc version.
Lady with the Spinning Head sounds like very bent Oasis in Morocco; Blow Your House Down is a straight-ahead rocker with a dirty glam foot-stomp and keening guitar; Lou Reed's Satellite of Love is less persuasive than when Bono duetted with Lou's image on the big screen on the ZooTV tour; the Temple Bar remix of Wild Horses neatly strips it back to a more familiar ballad with Springsteen-like breadth; those covers are effectively rendered in the Achtung Baby ethic but aren't up to much; and the broody instrumental Alex Descends to Hell would have fitted neatly on the album.
The extra disc could be read as a lost U2 album from this exciting period. And Achtung Baby remains a defining artistic achievement. Although recently they have mostly reverted to type, it shows what a creative urge money, power, will and desperation can be.
Makes you wish they'd be "ready to let go of the steering wheel", as Bono sang on Zoo Station, again.
Achtung Baby (Deluxe Edition)
What: U2's 1991 album, Achtung Baby. Deluxe edition released October 29
Also: Doco of the album's recording From The Sky Down, screens on Prime, Monday, October 31
U2.com has confirmed that the Achtung Baby Remaster will be released in 5 formats on the 31st of October 2011. The release will include a limited edition "Uber" Deluxe Edition which includes just about everything except some of the Berlin Wall. Interestingly, Zooropa is included in the release, indicating the remaster of Zooropa will not have its own individual release but will be a part of the Zoo TV themed Achtung Baby release. As previously reported, Davis Guggenheim's documentary, From The Sky Down, is included in many of the formats.
The formats as listed on U2.comare below:
1. A limited, numbered Uber Deluxe Edition is a magnetic puzzle tiled box which will contain: 6 CDs including the original Achtung Baby album, the follow-up album, Zooropa, B-sides and re-workings of previously unheard material recorded during the Achtung Baby sessions. 4 DVDs including 'From The Sky Down', 'Zoo TV:Live From Sydney', all the videos from Achtung Baby plus bonus material. There will also be 5 clear 7" vinyl singles in their original sleeves, 16 art prints taken from the original album sleeve, an 84-page hardback book, a copy of Propaganda magazine, 4 badges, a sticker sheet, and a pair of Bono’s trademark 'The Fly' sunglasses.
2. The Super Deluxe Edition will contain the 6CDs and 4 DVDs, in addition to a 92 page hardback book and 16 art prints in a wallet.
3. The Vinyl Box Set is a limited release containing 4 LPs, two of which are pressed on translucent blue vinyl containing remixes and B-sides. The box includes a 16 page booklet.
4. The Deluxe Edition is a 2xCD set containing the reissue of the original album plus B-sides and rarities.
5. The Standard CD is the original album.