October 20th, 2007


A brief return to Axver the U2 Fanlad of old

I was looking back on some old LJ entries, and I must say, some of the old U2 fanaticism really seems quite embarrassing now. Most of my entries I'll still stand behind, but damn, I think I enjoyed that band far too much. Over the last couple of years, I've seriously drifted away from their music (though not the setlists, which still provide hours of nerdy interest), especially everything they've done since 1990 apart from the Passengers project. Bands such as Porcupine Tree, Pure Reason Revolution, The Chills, Orphaned Land, and so forth do far more for me in general. However, I often find myself returning to the eighties albums, especially The Unforgettable Fire, still my favourite album of all time. The Joshua Tree also ranks very, very highly; it is definitely in my current top ten albums of all time.

And suddenly, a couple of days ago, an old spark caught again. The Joshua Tree was released in March 1987, and with no sign of anything special in March this year, I think everyone in the U2 fan world concluded that there wasn't going to be any kind of 20th anniversary reissue. It seems none of us reckoned on the Paul McGuinne$$ factor, the manager who believes nothing's worth releasing unless it's in the final quarter of the year to milk Christmas sales for all they're worth. And suddenly we've got a reissue of The Joshua Tree. Now, U2's recent reissues haven't been anything to write home about. The ZooTV and Popmart DVDs haven't exactly provided much spectacular content in the way of extras. We still don't have official video footage of songs like Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses and Miami despite the fact U2 have it. So I would have been content just to have the full Joshua Tree with its b-sides, especially those that missed the cut of the Best Of 1980-1990 b-sides bonus disc. But U2 have gone ahead and given me a huge surprise.

The fanciest edition is, without a doubt, the single best U2 release ever. The first disc contains the Joshua Tree album, fully remastered; here's hoping U2 don't fall victim to mastering from the "loudness wars" and I especially hope the levels on Exit are not ruined. The second disc contains b-sides, other miscellaneous songs gathered from other sources (e.g. Beautiful Ghost), and four previously unreleased songs. One of them has the amazing title of Drunk Chicken/America. There's some 56 page hardback book with essays and liner notes by various people, including the band. And then there's the DVD. Firstly, it has the entire 4 July 1987, Paris concert apart from the cover songs (Stand By Me, C'mon Everybody, Help; setlist here). Then it has the Outside It's America documentary. And a rare alternate video for With Or Without You. And then ... the fucking Red Hill Mining Town music video! The mythical video the band trashed because they hated it so much. The video rumoured to still exist for years, purportedly broadcast once on whatever random obscure channel you care to name but with no recording to prove it. I simply cannot wait to see how horrendously bad it is. I normally don't give a toss about music videos, but this? This is something special. This entire release is mindblowing. Maybe I've been a little too harsh on U2.

Now if only they'd release a DVD of a concert from my beloved Lovetown Tour ...
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    'Treasure (Whatever Happened To Pete The Chop?)' by U2
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