Friday, June 2, 2017

CD/Vinyl Review: U2's "The Joshua Tree" Turns 30 Years Old & Still Going Strong

This year marks the 30th anniversary of one of U2's most pivotal albums, "The Joshua Tree." In 1987, U2 was a rock band on the verge of superstardom. Their last studio album "The Unforgettable Fire" cracked the top 20 on the Billboard album chart and their single "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" was the band's first top 40 hit single. As U2 entered the studio to record their follow-up album, they made "The Joshua Tree" with their hearts. The music, the lyrics and the overall vibe of the album signaled a welcome change for U2 from new wave, post-punk band to mainstream, arena rock band.
 
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of "The Joshua Tree," Universal Music is releasing a 4CD or 7LP box set complete with an 84-page, full color hardbound book. The first disc contains the original remastered "Joshua Tree" album. While most of the singles from this album have been heard hundreds of times on the radio, the treasure is re-discovering the songs like "Running To Stand Still" and "In God's Country." The vinyl version of the box set contains the original album as a double-LP.
 
An unreleased concert from 1987 at Madison Square Garden is included on CD2 of the box set. The sound is amazing as you feel the surge in energy from the audience as U2 lead off with their new single "Where The Streets Have No Name" and their classic single "I Will Follow." The show also contains gems from "The Joshua Tree" album that have not been performed live since this time. Songs like "Trip Through The Wires" and "Exit" are great to hear live among past hits like "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "New Year's Day." The highlight of the live show is when U2 invite a choir to sing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" with the band. Listening to this live portion of the box set will transport you back to 1987 when U2 were on the rise of becoming the biggest band in the world. This is also featured as a double-LP in the vinyl version of the box set.
 
The next two discs, or 3 vinyl LPs contain brand new remixes of six of the album's 11 songs, along with outtakes and B-sides. Some of the remixes totally disguise the songs as with Jacknife Lee's version of "Bullet To Blue Sky" and Flood's "Where The Streets Have No Name." Longtime fans will certainly enjoy the outtakes with rare songs like "Wave Of Sorrow (Birdland)" and "Desert Of Our Love," while "Drunk Chicken/America" is as truthful now as it was in 1987. It is also nice to have all of the B-sides from "The Joshua Tree" singles in one place as early versions of "Silver And Gold" and "Sweetest Thing" highlight this part of the box set.
 
The hardbound book contains many unseen photos from The Edge's personal archive of his photography session in the Mojave Desert. The new "Joshua Tree" album will also be released as a 2CD deluxe edition which contains the original album and the live show from Madison Square Garden. U2 are currently on tour promoting the 30th anniversary of "The Joshua Tree" album by playing songs from the entire album. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about the new super deluxe version of U2's "The Joshua Tree," please visit u2.com.

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