New Voices Of Freedom (Godfatherecords G.R. 874/875)
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York – September 28, 1987
Disc 1: (52:35) Where The Streets Have No Name, I Will Follow, I Trip Through Your Wires, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Bullet The Blue Sky, Running To Stand Still, In God’s Country, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Exit/Gloria
Disc 2: (54:04) Help, Bad, October, New Year’s Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love), With Or Without You, Party Girl, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For(with The New Voices of Freedom), Spanish Eyes, 40
U2 released their fifth LP, The Joshua Tree, on March 9th, 1987 and embarked on a massive tour that would take the band through the United States twice separated by a two and a half month long European leg. The first North American leg started on April 2nd with two dates in Tempe, Arizona at the Arizona State University Activity Center and would come full circle by the end of their second trip through North America finishing up in Tempe, Arizona again with two dates at Sun Devil Stadium on December 19th and 20th.
September 28th, 1987 at Madison Square Garden documents the first of a two night stand and comes just ten days after Godfather’s Boston Garden release, Forever In Fever, Forever In Heat and the sound quality is equally as good. A perfectly balanced soundboard with just the right amount of audience mixed in gives New Voices Of Freedom the sound quality of an official live release.
A typical U2 show has many highs and lows. They really know how to rock the house as well as bring the dynamics down to almost nothing demanding the crowd’s undivided attention all the while. U2 hit the stage with “Where The Streets Have No Name” sending the crowd into a frenzy. From the get-go it is obvious that they are in top form again giving another flawless performance. After they slam their way through the early rocker “I Will Follow”, Bono greets the crowd with “This is a sort of a love song…tonight I dedicate it to myself…it’s ok to fall for somebody, it’s not ok to fall over for somebody”. They continue with a good solid version of “I Trip Through Your Wires” from their latest, The Joshua Tree, featuring Bono on harmonica.
Bono tells a story as they start to play “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” that is documented in the booklet:
“A few days ago we were in Harlem
and we heard these words coming out of a church hall:
They said “I believe in the Kingdom Come,
Then all the colours bleed into one”
I said, ‘Hey, those are my words, I wrote these words’,
So we went inside and we found The New Voices Of Freedom, a gospel choir,
And they are here singing this song…”
The crowd sings along and readily participates with Bono and he references Bob Marley’s “Exodus” during the track. “MLK” is dedicated to “a real American hero” and is paired with the title track from the same record, The Unforgettable Fire.
The groove (along with the mood) gets really heavy for “Bullet The Blue Sky”. The Edge plays some untamed guitar to great effect simulating the Salvadoran Civil War. Bono tells of a true story during “Running To Stand Still” inspired by two people he knew addicted to heroin. He talks about addiction and proclaims “Me? I’m addicted to being up here”. The up-tempo “In God’s Country” brings about a more positive vibe.
The political “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is obviously a real crowd pleaser by the audience’s reaction. They break down the track from the War album and Bono talks about Ireland and the turmoil that inspired one of their greatest songs. “Gloria” is played as part of “Exit”. This is reference to the Van Morrison track, not the U2 classic.
Bono incorporates “New York” into the lyrics of The Beatles “Help”. By the audience’s reaction during “Bad”, he obviously has them eating out of his hand. This continues into “New Year’s Day” where the crowd sings the first few lines for him. They have the house lights turned on during “Pride” and Bono expresses his sincere thanks to the audience before finishing the main set.
They return for a hypnotizing version of “With Or Without You”, the first of many encores tonight. For the second encore they come back for “Party Girl”, also known as “Trash, Trampoline, and the Party Girl” from the b-side of the non-LP single “A Celebration”, released between the October and War records. As the song winds down Bono says “I told you about The New Voices Of Freedom…they just happened to be walking past Madison Square Garden…what do you want to do?…I think they only know one song” as they proceed to play “I Still Haven’t Found” for a second time tonight. The choir sounds amazing putting their gospel spin on the vocal and hearing this is worth the price of the disc alone. They bring the energy back up for “Spanish Eyes” and will leave only to return one more time for “40” before the night is done. This is a special night for Bono who announces that his father and brother are there and some guests of The Edge as well. This is definitely another magical performance from The Joshua Tree Tour that is thankfully available on silver disc compliments of Godfather.
New Voices Of Freedom from Godfather comes packaged in their standard tri-fold cardboard sleeve with some casual photos of the band from the appropriate era. It comes with a 4 page booklet featuring some live shots and opens to explain the title for the set. This is a perfectly balanced soundboard making this another easily recommended title for the U2 fan.