Give Me Some Truth (Golden Eggs EGG 117/118)
Civic Center, Hartford, CT, USA – April 23, 1985
Disc 1 (71:53) 4th Of July / 11 O’Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, Two Hearts Beat As One / Celebration / Loch Lomond, Seconds, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Wire / Give Me Some Truth, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Cry / The Electric Co / Give Peace A Chance, A Sort Of Homecoming, Bad / Candle In The Wind / Ruby Tuesday / Sympathy For The Devil / Norwegian Wood, October, New Year’s Day
Disc 2 (78:19) Pride (In The Name Of Love), Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Gloria, 40 / Do They Know It’s Christmas / We Are The World / Tears Are Not Enough, Sweet Jane (Bono w/ Lone Justice during Lone Justice Set). Bonus Tracks: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI, USA – March 23, 1985: MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Wire, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Cry / The Electric Co / Amazing Grace, A Sort Of Homecoming, Bad / Ruby Tuesday / Sympathy For The Devil, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Gloria
U2’s fourth studio album was a transitional one, one of maturity no less. They decided not to use Steve Lillywhite, who had produced their first three records, and moved to go with the brilliantly eccentric Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois with the hopes of redefining their sound. The results were what they wanted, a vastly mature and ambient record with expanding themes of humanity, both internal and expanded. The Unforgettable Fire would be the platform for the rest of U2’s career, propelled by the incredible lead off single Pride (In The Name Of Love) and deep cuts like Bad and A Sort Of Homecoming that showcased the band’s desire to move forward musically, without boundaries. Their youthful anger that propelled the early records was now focused and passionate, becoming even more palatable for the masses.
The change was noticeable during their live performances as well, the new music would provide a new dimension and depth to the stage, combined with passionate performance style the band employed was making U2 one of the biggest draws on the concert circuit. This new release from Golden Eggs comes at a good time as the pandemic has taken over much of ones waking day and the need for music becomes even more important, U2 music certain brings comfort and hope. This coupled with my having only one other title from this tour in my collection, Thank U Too For The Fire (Godfatherrecords G.R. 324/325), has made this title a steady listen over the past month.
The concert featured here comes from the 5th leg of the tour and the first large scale American leg of the tour. The previous American leg was the previous December and consisted of 10 shows in theaters, this trek was arenas filled to capacity. The recording featured here is of excellent quality, it is obvious the taper had very good equipment and knew what they were doing. It has perfect balance with a superb sound stage that captures the electric atmosphere of the event perfectly and is a joy to listen too. Typical for Golden Eggs, they give us maximum music for the money and this double disc set is packed full of aural goodness, good for quiet time and more importantly daytime where you can really turn up the volume.
The instrumental 4th Of July is the opening prelude with the concert starting with a proper double shot of 11 O’Clock Tick Tock and I Will Follow, both high energy youthful anthems. The pacing of the set is very good, the band seem to have a pulse of what songs go where, the fast beginning lets the band be able to evolve into the newer, more complex music. Bono is typically passionate and tells the crowd to “Loosen up” during Two Hearts as well as between song speeches of being united, constantly developing his onstage performance. His ability to interject cover song snippets is on full display, from Kool and the Gang to traditional Irish songs (You take the high road I’ll take the low road…). Like many great front-men, he relates to the crowd by reminiscing of playing the famous club Toads to “10 or 20 people…I’m sure glad that’s a lot more than that here tonight”.
Once established the band expand the music with the ambient MLK which is the opening of the new music, at its conclusion Bono says “Welcome To The Unforgettable Fire” as an intro to the song of the same name. Larry Mullen’s drumming is superb, punctuating the lyrics and rhythm of the music. The melancholy feel of A Sort Of Homecoming is translated perfectly to the stage, most heartwarming. Bad is certainly the new song show stopper, Bono gives the introduction of the death of his friend due to heroin that finds the audience listening intently. Clocking in at over 14 and a half minutes the emotion builds and builds, the band is in no hurry letting it evolve as Bono interjects song snippets that are relevant to his experience, Elton’s Candle In The Wind, The Stones’ Ruby Tuesday, songs of love lost, The Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil is the drug, The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood is lost innocence, all beautifully weaved together, a group painting the aural picture.
Interjecting the new music with the existing classics like Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Year’s Day provides sequences that never get boring, the concert has an emotional climax with New Year’s Day and Pride (In The Name Of Love). The encores begin with a cover of Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door feature Bono playing guitar. I love his vocal interpretation, unique and current while paying homage to the traditional, he gets an audience member up to play a bit of guitar that is well received by the audience. The set ends with a blistering Gloria and finally 40 where Bono features the African famine relief songs Do They Know It’s Christmas, We Are The World, and Tears Are Not Enough. The famine was certainly much in the news, the music world would do their part which would culminate with Live Aid two months later. The Edge plays some real interesting soundscape sounds during this song, sounds like he was building inspiration for Bullet The Blue Sky. The last portion of Audio from Hartford comes from the evenings opening act Lone Justice with special guest Bono on a cover of the Velvet Underground song Sweet Jane. It is a minute and a half fragment, guessing the taper saw what was happening and got his rig together and set, very cool.
The rest of the disc is a 49 minute segment from a month previous during U2’s stop at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. The venue did not have the greatest acoustics but the taper got a great pull thankfully. The audience source is excellent and rivals that of the Hartford one, it has a perfect balance and like Hartford has that in your face sound. It also has just a tad bit better frequency range, highs are a tad brighter and a real good bottom end, it captures the electricity inside the arena perfectly. The songs come from mid set plus a couple of the encore songs for good measure. The performance is as equally convincing as Hartford, certainly something that is trademark. U2 are consistent and very strong live performers and this one certainly hits that mark and I for one would love to hear more of this concert.
The packaging is the tri gatefold sleeve, this title features artwork based upon the Unforgettable Fire record, great pic on the cover. The rest is made up of live shots with Bono’s mullet on full display, the interior also features the 5th leg tour dates, typical classy production. Great recording and performance, this title arrived at a time I needed some strength, prime U2 is just what the doctor ordered.