Friday, October 7, 2011

Man, oh man! I wish I could have been there!

Although I rarely watch television there are a few videos I like to watch occasionally - even though I've probably seen them dozens of times - movies like The Parent Trap (the original), Follow Me Boys, and Joe vs. the Volcano. And while my wife finds it strange that I can watch them again and again, she really thinks it strange that I can watch a U2 concert video again and again. I'll never understand women.

Under a Blood Red Sky - Deluxe Edition CD/DVDWhat do you do when you plan to film a concert in the beautiful outdoor setting at Red Rocks, Colorado on a splendid summer evening and instead it rains? If you're an up-and-coming U2 you go on with the show and film anyway and it turns out even better than planned. As the notes in this DVD/CD deluxe reissue edition of Under a Blood Red Sky explain, the band reserved another venue for the following night and invited all the ticket holders to attend either concert or both. Only about half showed up but they made up for those unwilling to stand in the rain. And those who didn't come really missed out!

U2 always had a lot of energy but by this point in their career (1983) they also had a lot of passion to go with it. This was the tour for the War album, their 3rd release (after Boy and October), and they were just becoming known in the US with songs like "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" (about "the troubles" in Ireland) and "New Year's Day." (I must have been living under a new wave rock because I didn't discover them until The Joshua Tree came out while I was in Brazil - in fact, I remember Benji Burton from Oregon was dumfounded that I'd never heard those songs.) But if nothing else, U2 has a talent for promoting themselves, and this show made for MTV was all about self-promotion.

And as much as I love The Joshua Tree, I just might like this one better (although that might depend on the day you ask!). The relatively short CD alone is fantastic and worth buying (only 2 songs, "Gloria" and "Party Girl," actually came from that rainy concert), but the DVD is the best possible bonus for this remastered reissue. Be aware that since it was originally shot on video there are some red streaks from the lights - at first glance Jamie thought the kids had taken a crayon to the TV screen - but you get used to it. Also, if you're a die-hard U2 fan you'll notice that a couple minutes of the performance of "The Electric Co." has been cut out to omit the "send in the clowns" line from the original VHS version because of copyright issues or something (I never liked that "Send in the Clowns" song anyway!). But I love this DVD/CD set. In fact, maybe I'll go home and watch it again tonight (and Jamie will roll her eyes and call me a nerd - again!).

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