Monday, October 19, 2009

U2 4: Under A Blood Red Sky

U2 was growing a reputation as a captivating live act, no doubt helped by footage of Bono climbing the scaffolding while waving a white flag in the driving rain in Colorado. So when they put out a live album, it was marketed as an EP, with only eight songs. But considering that it ran over 35 minutes, it was worth the investment.
Culled from three different concerts, Under A Blood Red Sky offers a smattering of the hits—“Gloria”, “New Year’s Day”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “I Will Follow”, naturally—among some less well-known songs that were staples of the live show. “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” was one of the band’s first singles, complete with those trademark fret harmonics. “Party Girl” was originally the B-side to “A Celebration” (a song the band immediately disavowed), extended here to much enjoyment. “The Electric Co.” includes the familiar intro used on “Is That All?”, and a mesmerizing middle section wherein Bono interweaves some lines from “Send In The Clowns” (as well as “America” from West Side Story, both Stephen Sondheim songs), which has unfortunately been excised from all but the initial pressings. The album closes with “40”, played gently enough to get the crowd singing the chorus long after the band has left the stage.
Under A Blood Red Sky provides a great snapshot in time for old and new U2 fans, and effectively sets up their next chapter as a band. 25 years after its original release, it was reissued in tandem with the full-length DVD of the famous Red Rocks concert. Neither the remastered CD nor the film includes “Send In The Clowns”, sadly.

U2 Under A Blood Red Sky (1983)—4
2008 Deluxe Edition: same as 1983, plus DVD

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