U2 – All You Need Is Love (Rattlesnake RS 301/302)

U2, ‘All You Need Is Love’ (Rattlesnake RS 301/302)

Disk 1; Sunday Bloody Sunday / New Year’s Day / A Sort Of Homecoming / Pride (In the Name of Love) / Where the Streets Have No Name – All You Need Is Love – Live Forever / I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – Stand By Me / With or Without You – Shine Like Stars / Bullet the Blue Sky – War / Running To Stand Still / Red Hill Mining Town / In God’s Country /
Disk 2; Trip Through Your Wires / One Tree Hill / Exit – Wise Blood – Eeny Meeny Miny Moe / Mothers Of The Disappeared / Miss Sarajevo / Beautiful Day – Starman / Elevation / Vertigo – The Jean Genie / Ultraviolet (Light My Way) / One / I Will Follow

Recorded at the Johan Cruyff ArenA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 30th, 2017.

U2 performed the second night of their Joshua Tree anniversary tour in Amsterdam at the very end of the month but the same stadium. A familial set throughout the tour, the band would mix it up a little bit for this second evening, considering the success of the first nights show, it was going to have to be a great gig to beat it.

From the same source that recorded that first night, this is another excellent IEM / audience matrix – bold and full, well mixed and very close to being official sounding, we’ve never been treated to a U2 tour recorded in such close and prevalent proximity. The audience are full of it tonight, the concert very, very quickly turns from gig to football match and this being a classic album, everyone knows every word. This is reflected in the gang bellowing Bono’s words right back at him.
The best thing? Those radio set count in’s are pretty much obsolete now that they’ve mastered their set so the only real count in’s come from the Edge (Though those others haven’t completely disappeared)

The show started, as it usually did with the startling drum rumble of ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ – classic singalong track (The crowd don’t wait for their cue however, they’re singing the harmony before Bono begins his) if deeply politically based – something that the band manage well despite their longevity – there are few bands who manage to keep those fires burning after such a strong start at writing such rousing polemics – quickly running through, ‘New Years Day’ featuring the Edge’s robust, metallic riffing.

‘Pride (In The Name Of Love)’ gets a loud reaction, the audience singing loudly their response to this clarion call as they do to ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’, clapping loudly as the choppy beat storms to it’s liveliest.

‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ works the same way it had the night before, the tune begins, the audience lead the way for the best part of the first verse, leaving Bono to pick up a little later. At least though, the singer knows that he’s not there just to leave it to the attended and takes up the song where he feels he needs to, playing back to the crowd however when he breaks in to Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’ at the coda. He does have to talk the gang down though as, left to their own devices, they would still carry on all night.

‘Trip Through Your Wires’ is once again preceded by a salute to Anton Corbijn and Bono’s apparent ineptitude with the harmonica (It’s still not that bad.) while ‘One Tree Hill’ begins with the speech to Greg Carrol as it does throughout the tour and ends with a wave of calls as the Dutch sing the words back to the band.

The electric drone of ‘The Disappeared’, clutches at the heart strings and mood of the evening, reverberating for a while after the track has ended while the crowd holler. The encore is particular to this show as the band seem to take a little longer to return to the stage – whether this is technical or because the band are happy recharging their batteries, we’ve only to guess at but they are introduced back to the stage to the spoken intro to ‘Miss Sarajevo’ perfectly. Even more perfectly is how that song dovetails in to ‘Beautiful Day’, where it blossoms out from glacial pace to medium paced stadium rock (It’s sly nod to Bowie’s ‘Starman’ is keenly sneaky too.)

‘Elevation’ blows up the pressure again with the static buzz of the manic riffing that encapsulates the track drawing straight through in to the busy pull of ‘Vertigo’ which, once again, features it’s tip of the hat to ‘The Jean Genie’. An ecstatic finale that has Bono questioning the fact that this energy is still spare on a Sunday night.

‘One’ and ‘I Will Follow’ (Replacing ‘Mysterious Ways’ in the line up) wrap the night up, the latter the perfect ending to the busy evening, an attempt at using up some of that spare energy that the audience have, no no avail though, they have more power than Mr. Burns’ nuclear plant and excitedly clamour to stand on a parity with the singer. Small gripe here – The show ends and the tape fades down far too fast – Maybe it’s the choice of the producer, maybe the label but holding the faders a little slower wouldn’t have sounded so rushed.

Tough choice deciding between the two – I like the first nights show and today, I prefer it, but for a none-committal reason, yes, it’s a cop out and I would recommend either (Both!) shows for your listening gratification – there really is very little reason to choose.

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