Thank U Too For The Fire: Definitive Edition (Godfather Records GR324/325)
Teatro Tenda, Milano, Italia – February 4th, 1985
Disc 1 (58:06): 4th Of July, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, Seconds, Indian Summer Sky, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Wire / Give Me Some Truth (snippet), Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Cry The Electric Co. / Send In The Clowns (snippet), A Sort Of Homecoming, Bad / I’m Waiting For The Man (snippet)
Disc 2 (57:57): October, New Year’s Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Party Girl, Gloria, 40 / Do They Know It’s Christmas (snippet). Bonus tracks: Teatro Tendra, Milan, Italy – February 4th, 1985 soundcheck: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Bad (instrumental), New Year’s Day (instrumental). Brixton Academy, London, England – November 3rd, 1984: Surrender, Two Hearts Beat As One
Despite reaching world-wide success in the early eighties, it wasn’t until the February 4th, 1985 show in Milan for them to play in Italy. Originally they were booked to play in the Palazzetto dello Sport, but in the coldest winter in northern Italy and after four days of massive snowfall with 1oocm (more than three feet) accumulations, the venue was destroyed and the U2 show was moved to the small Teatro Tenda.
Since more tickets were sold than the Tenda could hold, on the night of the show there were many outside the venue hoping to get in, creating some concern about security. During the show the heat inside was very high in contrast to the extreme cold outside creating condensation similar to rain.
It is under these dramatic conditions someone thankfully taped this concert. This is an excellent stereo audience recording being very clear and enjoyable. There are non-destructive cuts after “MLK,” “The Cry, The Electric Co.” and “Pride (In The Name Of Love).”
The show was released soon after the event on vinyl called Thank U Too For The Fire and a previous CD release was issued in 1998 also titled Thank U Too For The Fire (Kobra Records KRCD37/1, 2) with bonus tracks from the February 1st show in Mannheim. Godfather’s is the definitive version because it is a nice upgrade in sound quality over the older versions of the show.
The tape starts out with the taped “4th Of July” introduction before the opening song “11 O’Clock Tick Tock.” The audience become very animated during “I Will Follow,” one of U2’s greatest anthems. Afterwards Bono says “Seconds” is “a message to the president.”
Four consecutive songs from their groundbreaking album The Unforgettable Fire follow and provide a surreal contrast to the older material just played and to the conditions under which this show was played. “Indian Summer Sky” is played live by the band for the very last time making this a true rarity. It is a shame too because it is an effective and energetic live piece, representing a transition between the ethos of War and the new songs.
“Welcome to the unforgettable fire” Bono says as they launch into the title track. This represents one of the high points of the evening as the audience sing along to the song. They sing loudly enough for Bono to say afterwards, “if by any chance I can no longer sing, you people can sing much better! This is for those of you who are outside as well as those inside” in acknowledgement of the crowd freezing outside the circus.
“Wire” contains a short reference to John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth.” This is another excellent live song which was a staple of the set early on but hasn’t been played since the end of that tour with its final live performance on July 7th, 1985.
“The Cry, The Electric Co.” has a reference to “Send In The Clowns.” This is a regular inclusion on this tour, but is especially appropriate given the venue. Afterwards Bono proclaims that the Irish and Italian are one before “A Sort Of Homecoming” and the ten minute long “Bad” has a reference to The Velvet Undergrounds “I’m Waiting For The Man.”
The set closer is the new song “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” in which Bono sings, not just to Martin Luther King Jr. but for John Lennon, James Dean, Janis Joplin, and Brian Jones among others. The noisy Italians break into a spontaneous football chant before encores and Bono says, “next time we come here we’ll play you a game of football.”
The final encore in an eleven minute, apocalyptic version of “40” with a reference to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” This was just released several months before and the idea to help save Africa would reach its culmination several months later with Live Aid. The spellbound audience continue to sing the song even when the band leave the stage!
Godfather include two sets of bonus tracks. The first three are a thirteen-minute soundcheck earlier in the day. It is sourced from a poor to fair audience recording, but is fairly audible. It is important for revealing that they rehearsed their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.” It would be played the following show in Bologna for the first time live since 1983.
The final two songs come from November 3rd, 1984 show at the Brixton Academy sourced from what sounds like an professional source.
Thank U Too For The Fire is a tremendous upgrade of one of the classic U2 unofficial releases. It is packaged in a tri-fold cardboard gatefold sleeve with various photos from the era. This is a solid release worth having.