Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California – May 21, 2017
Disc 1 (76:13) Intro: A Rainy Night In Soho, Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year’s Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name / California (There is No End To Love), I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, With Or Without You / Shine Like Stars, Bullet The Blue Sky, Running To Stand Still, Red Hill Mining Town, In God’s Country, Trip Through Your Wires, One Tree Hill, Exit / Wise Blood / Eeny Meeny Miny Mo, Mothers Of The Disappeared
Disc 2 (57:23) Miss Sarajevo / The New Colossus, Bad / America, Beautiful Day / City Of Stars, Elevation, Ultraviolet (Light My Way), One / Hear Us Coming, The Little Things You Give Away. Bonus Tracks: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California – May 20, 2017: A Sort Of Homecoming / America, I Will Follow
What started out as a simple plan to commemorate the 30 years since U2 released their iconic Joshua Tree record turned into one of 2017’s top grossing tours. It began rather simple, the group had finished the touring cycle for Songs Of Innocence record and were readying its follow up, Songs Of Experience when the current World climate seemed to be quite similar to some thirty years prior. The group simply put the new record on hold and decided to go out on The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, a 51 date trek that consisted of shows in North America, Europe, and Latin America. The stage set would utilize a 200 foot wide 45 foot high screen to project images relevant to the music making for an incredible visual experience, when combined with the powerful music played, turned the concerts into an Evening Of Experience.
The tour did not escape the attention of many of our favorite bootleg companies, many of the heavy hitters took to the opportunity to compete for our hard earned money and there are a nice variety of concerts to choose from. Labels Like Empress Valley, Rattlesnake, and Xavel all released concerts sourced from IEM (Inner Ear Monitor) / excellent audience recording matrix’s that took bootlegging to a new, high quality level. After releasing several comprehensive packages of excellent audience recordings, the folks at Golden Eggs (formerly Eat A Peach) jump into the arena with Desert Rose, a document of U2’s performance at the famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Boasting a mix of 5 IEM sources and 1 audience recording, this new title has a broad frequency range, the low end is great giving it a ballsy sound that easily competes with the best of the EV and Rattlesnake titles. The mix of IEM to audience is excellent, sounds like a 75-25 mix, the audience source is a perfect compliment with no real interference directly by, it provides the audience ambiance missing from the IEM. This title does not have any of the count in’s that other titles had, its sound is warm and inviting whether it’s on a quiet Sunday morning or up loud on a Friday after work, it sounds great and easily rivals an official release. Only minor flaw I could find is that on disc 2 there is an unlisted track, lasting only 1:30 it is track three, nothing more than a bit of crowd noise.
The band’s performance is very good, Bono sounds a little low in the mix early on and sounds as if it takes him a few songs to really get warmed up. This recording gives you an idea on Bono and Edge’s vocal harmonies, as Bono’s voice has aged, he does not have the same vocal depth as 30 years ago. Depending on the song, The Edge shares a lot of vocal duties as well, their voices blend very well together and give a broader sound for the message they deliver. Like most artists, their music has aged well and as musicians their limitations are complimented with passion and if anything, their musicianship has deepened with age. I am more of a “Side 2” guy when it comes to The Joshua Tree, I find the music more powerful and less, well, beaten to death so they say. I’ll be frank, I listen to a lot of music and while I have had the record in my collection in one form or fashion, I usually gravitate to Achtung Baby more than this one so the glutton of bootlegs titles, both old and new featuring this material has really given me a deeper understanding of what they were saying and how it is still relevant today, in fact I have been immersed with The Joshua Tree for some time now. I also did not lay down the higher prices that Empress Valley demands, making this title even more appealing to me.
The title also gives us a couple bonus tracks to fill out the second disc, the sound is again an IEM / Audience matrix from the previous evenings concert at the same venue. The sound quality is easily equal as the rest of the set, incredible. Typical U2 they throw in different songs when they play multiple nights at a venue, hence we get a very strong version of A Sort Of Homecoming, I love the way Bono intertwines Simon and Garfunkel’s America into the song, it sounds as if it should be there.
The packaging is typical from “The Egg”, a gorgeous tri-fold sleeve with live shots of the band, I am guessing many are from the event itself. Again a couple bonus songs and incredible sound coupled with an affordable price make this title very appealing to both the U2 fans and the casual collector who wants a great title from this tour.