Modena 1987 (Godfather Records GR665/666/667)
Disc 1 (78:10) Stadio Comunale Braglia, Modena, Italy, May 29th, 1987: Where The Streets Have No Name, I Will Follow, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Bullet the Blue Sky, Running to Stand Still, Exit / Riders On The Storm / Gloria, In God’s Country, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Maggie’s Farm / Cold Turkey, Bad / You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, October, New Year’s Day, Pride (in the Name of Love), Party Girl, Trip Through Your Wires
Disc 2 (68:59): Gloria, With Or Without You, People Get Ready, ‘40’. Stadio Comunale Braglia, Modena, Italy, May 30th, 1987: Where The Streets Have No Name, I Will Follow, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Exodus, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Bullet the Blue Sky / Riders On The Storm, Running to Stand Still, A Sort of Homecoming, Sunday Bloody Sunday
Disc 3 (54:04): Exit, In God’s Country, Help / Rain, Bad / Ruby Tuesday / Sympathy For The Devil, October, New Year’s Day, Pride (in the Name of Love), Party Girl, With or Without You / Shine Like Stars / Love Will Tear Us Apart, ‘40’. Bonus Track, JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA – September 25th, 1987: Stand By Me (Featuring Bruce Springsteen)
For those who enjoy this period of U2 this three disc set containing two full concerts will be a real treat. Let’s begin with the first concert on May 29th. The sound quality is a very good stereo audience recording. The music and the vocals share equal space in the recording. The people around the taper were well behaved; there’s not too much talking to disrupt the sound of the show and when there is talking it’s either to sing along with Bono or to respond to his conversation. Bono takes time to interact with the crowd, even speaking to them in their native tongue a few times much to their delight. There is a little bit of audio difficulty when the Edge’s guitar goes silent at the beginning of Pride and Bono has to start the song over again. But the problem is quickly rectified.
Almost all of the songs from the Joshua Tree album are performed with Trip Through Your Wires being included as an encore, much to this reviewer’s delight. The band also perform Party Girl for the first time on the Joshua Tree tour. One of the highlights is the inclusion of Maggie’s Farm. The band rock hard on this Dylan cover. And the addition of classic songs like the Beatles You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away and the Doors Riders on the Storm (even if they are incomplete snippets) is all the more reason to enjoy this concert. A great concert and a great capture.
Too bad the same can’t be said about the concert from May 30th. The sound quality is markedly different that that of the concert the night before. This, too, is a stereo audience recording but the sound is distant and the vocals seem buried under the music. The audience is loud at inappropriate times and the talking sometimes interferes with the listening experience.
Most of the songs from the Joshua Tree album are performed along with the songs you’d expect to hear at a U2 concert like I Will Follow, Pride, Sunday Bloody Sunday, and the like. However, the band give inspired performances of a couple of songs from their The Unforgettable Fire album, namely The Unforgettable Fire and A Sort of Homecoming. By these performances one can tell that this was a band that was still looking back to their past success having not yet attained the superstardom they quickly would. And that’s a very good thing. On this particular night the band perform the Beatles songs Help and Rain one after the other and then segue right into Bad /Ruby Tuesday / Sympathy For the Devil, a lethal combination of great tunes. While not as great a capture as the concert the night before, this still is a Joshua Tree tour concert worthy listening to repeatedly.
One must question the addition of the bonus track on disc three – Stand By Me – with Bruce Springsteen at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, PA. Granted it’s a rarity and it is Bruce Springsteen. But it seems out of context with the other two concerts as it was recorded on the North American leg of the tour, four months later.
Overall, Godfather has once again done good, giving us two complete U2 concerts from the Joshua Tree tour on three silver discs packaged quite nicely in a tri-fold sleeve along with a bonus poster annoucing the concert and venue. We can only hope they continue to release such gems.