On May 3rd, one month before my first U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017 show in Chicago on June 3rd, I decided since I was not following any of the rehearsal or tour updates (I want to be as surprised as possible for my first show) I would play my U2 records – one every day (with some skipped days) for the next month (I don’t have Pop on vinyl yet and don’t want HTDAAB) in sort of a countdown in vinyl to my U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017. There is something magical about vinyl, listening to the record in its entirety from start to finish as it was intended.
May 3 – Boy
I of course started off my vinyl countdown with U2’s first Boy. I didn’t have Boy on vinyl, so I bought the remaster. Listening to the complete Boy album from start to finish, I realize I never gave it the proper credit. It is really a great album – very drum driven. Standouts for me are “Out of Control,” “Stories for Boys” and “Twilight.”
May 4 – Another Time Another Place Live at the Marquee London 1980
This was a nice subscriber gift from u2.com. This was my first time listening to it. Very raw. Cute interview with Bono at the end.
May 5 – October
October is one of my favorites, definitely my favorite of the first three. I already had October on vinyl, but also bought the remaster because I wanted the booklet except mine came with the booklet for The Unforgettable Fire – and it was sealed! I like the original cover better, but the sound on the remaster is much better. October is a highly underrated album. Very drum driven, especially my favorite “Rejoice.” Other standouts for me are “October,” “Is That All?,” “Gloria” and “I Threw a Brick Through a Window.” If you haven’t listened to October in a while, give it another spin – you won’t be sorry!
May 6 – War
I already had War on vinyl, but also bought the remaster. I didn’t remember War being so drum drive either – actually all the first three albums are. Standouts for me are “New Year’s Day,” “Two Hearts Beat as One” and “Like a Song.”
May 8 – Under a Blood Red Sky
I bought the Under a Blood Red Sky cassette the same time I bought The Joshua Tree cassette in the Spring of 1987, so my favorite versions of songs from the first three albums are from UABRS. When I hear these songs today like “Gloria,” “Sunday Bloody Bloody,” “New Year’s Day,” I hear the UABRS version in my head. I did not have Under a Blood Red Sky on vinyl, so I bought the remaster.
May 9 – The Unforgettable Fire
You listen to U2’s first three albums and think they are great, then you listen to The Unforgettable Fire and think WOW – it is great on a whole other level. I already had The Unforgettable Fire on vinyl, but still bought the remaster. To me UF starts U2’s second and greatest trilogy: The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum (the first trilogy of course being Boy, October, War). Standouts for me are “Pride,” “Bad,” “Unforgettable Fire,” “Indian Summer Sky,” “Promenade,” “Wire” and “A Sort of Homecoming.” Yes that’s practically the whole album, but it’s just THAT good! And unlike most other fans I never tire of hearing “Pride” played live in concert. A bit of trivia: Cal Ripken Jr used “Wire” as his walkup music.
May 10 – The Joshua Tree 45s singles
Listening to my favorite b-sides and some of my all-time favorite U2 songs neatly coincided with Bono’s birthday. The b-sides from The Joshua Tree are a huge reason why it is my favorite album. I luckily still have all four of the original 45s singles (see cover photo). The first single “With or Without You” has my favorite two b-sides “Luminous Times” and “Walk to the Water.” “Luminous Times” is my second favorite song of all U2 songs, and it was even more haunting on vinyl. The second single (and my very favorite U2 song), “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” has b-sides “Spanish Eyes” and “Deep in the Heart” – two more fantastic songs well worthy to be on The Joshua Tree album. The third single, “Where the Streets Have No Name,” has the b-sides “Silver and Gold” (which was amazing performed live on Rattle and Hum) and “The Sweetest Thing” – I much prefer the original to the remake. The fourth single, “In God’s Country,” did not have new b-sides, but included the album versions of “Bullet the Blue Sky” and “Running to Stand Still.” It was interesting the B sides of the 45s were actually played at 33 1/3 speed while the A sides were played at 45 speed. I listened to these singles and b-sides again on the May 14th after listening to The Joshua Tree two days in a row.
May 11 – “Red Hill Mining Town 2017” single
I love the picture disc of the new “Red Hill Mining Town” (from this Record Store Day), but I strongly prefer the original. Bono’s voice is SO more passionate in the original. “Red Hill Mining Town” has always been one of my favorite songs, and I wish they would have left it alone. How do you improve on perfection?
May 12 – The Joshua Tree
Coincidentally, I listened to my favorite album The Joshua Tree on the same night the 30th Anniversary of The Joshua Tree Tour kicked off in Vancouver. I don’t have any new insights about the album as Joshua Tree is the one I listen to most often – just not on vinyl (until lately). I can share, however, that the album cover completely represents how I feel about each member of the band with Larry up front facing forward, then Bono up front but sideways, then Edge behind him, then Adam all the way in the back – it’s pretty much how I rank them (sorry Adam fans). Standouts for me from The Joshua Tree album (not including b-sides) are “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (my favorite song of all time), “Red Hill Mining Town,” “Running to Stand Still,” “Trip Through Your Wires,” “In God’s Country” and “One Tree Hill.” I already had The Joshua Tree on vinyl (obviously) and am waiting for the 2017 30th anniversary remaster vinyl set – for some reason I didn’t get the 20th anniversary on vinyl, just on cd.
May 15 – Rattle and Hum
To me Rattle and Hum is The Joshua Tree part 2, just a continuation, so I have thought of those two albums and one gigantic spectacular album – and both contain the best b-sides ever! For some reason, I already had two Rattle and Hums on vinyl. Whenever I listen to Rattle and Hum, the movie plays in my head. I am immediately 16 again brought back to that movie theater surrounded by all my friends. I feel so lucky to have been a U2 fan during their heyday and old enough to enjoy it and now get to relive it again 30 years later! Standouts from Rattle and Hum (not including the b-sides) for me are “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Pride,” “Heartland” and “Love Rescue Me.”
May 16 – Rattle and Hum 45s singles
I only have two of the four Rattle and Hum singles on vinyl. And like The Joshua Tree, I love the b-sides from Rattle and Hum. These 45s, unlike JT’s, actually play at the 45 speed on both sides and only have one song on each b-side. The “Desire” b-side is “Hallelujah Here She Comes,” which is catchy and fun. The “Angel of Harlem” b-side is “A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel,” which I really love! Besides bringing my two passions (Elvis and U2) together, it is very ethereal and haunting much like my favorite Joshua Tree b-sides. And oh yeah, the drums are wonderful!
May 17 – Larry Covers 12″ Singles
The two 12″ singles I have from The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum with Larry on the covers are my favorite “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Desire.” I have posters of both covers as well as a t shirt of the “Desire” cover I bought at Sam Goody back in 1988 – I still wear it today. The 12″ “Desire” single has one more b-side than the 45 – “Desire Hollywood Remix.” I usually don’t like the U2 b-side remixes, but I really like this one – maybe because it brings back memories.
May 18 – woke up to the shocking, sad news Chris Cornell died, so no listening to U2 vinyl.
May 19 – Achtung Baby
My second favorite album (if you count The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum as one album, which I do). I had to search for this on vinyl, and I found it in orange, which I know is probably a copy, but orange is my favorite color and it sounds fine. Although to me it is a little weird listening to anything on vinyl that wasn’t originally recorded on vinyl and especially such an electronic-type album as Achtung Baby. ZooTv was my first U2 tour (since I wasn’t allowed to see The Joshua Tree tour when I was 14 because my mom thought I was too young), so the songs from AB are very special to me … now. When I first listened to Achtung Baby, I did not like it because it was such a departure from all the previous albums. Standouts for me are “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses,” “So Cruel,” “One,” “Ultra Violet,” “Acrobat” and “Zoo Station.”
May 23 – Zooropa
I did not have Zooropa on vinyl, so I found it in blue. I will admit that Zooropa is not one of my favorite albums. I am sure to those whose Achtung Baby is their favorite, Zooropa is their Rattle and Hum. But for me, it is probably my second or third to least favorite, but there are some good tracks on it. Standouts for me are “The First Time” and “Dirty Day,” but I did love hearing “Zooropa” on the 360 tour and I LOVE the video for “Numb.”
May 24 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
I did not have All That You Can’t Leave Behind and paid a pretty penny for it once I found it, but it was worth it because it is my 3rd favorite album (1 – The Joshua Tree/Rattle and Hum and 2 – Achtung Baby). All That You Can’t Leave Behind are the songs from my favorite tour, Elevation. I saw 27 shows, including the very first and the very last. It was the first US GA tour, so I had many great experiences on Elevation. All That You Can’t Leave Behind sounds great on vinyl. To me, it is like going back to the days of The Joshua Tree after a big break of electronica on Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop (I can’t find Pop on vinyl for a rational price). Standouts for me are “In a Little While,” “When I Look at the World,” “Walk On,””Beautiful Day” and “Elevation.”
May 27 – No Line on the Horizon
I already had No Line on the Horizon on vinyl because this is the album U2 starting releasing on vinyl again. Unlike most folks, I love No Line on the Horizon! It is my 4th or 5th favorite depending on how I feel about The Unforgettable Fire that day (1 – The Joshua Tree / Rattle and Hum, 2 – Achtung Baby, 3 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind). No Line on the Horizon has songs from my second favorite tour – 360. I saw 24 shows on 360 including driving with my two dogs to all 16 US shows on the final leg. Standouts for me are “Get on Your Boots” (I don’t care what you say this song is great live LET ME IN THE SOUND!), “Breathe,” “No Line on the Horizon,” “Moment of Surrender” and “Magnificent.” If you’re a NLOTH hate, please take another listen – it’s really quite fantastic!
May 30 – Songs of Innocence
I already had Songs of Innocence on vinyl because U2 released it right after they gave it to everyone for free on iTunes. Of course I had to have it vinyl since Larry was on the cover – and the only band member to be on the cover (with his son Aaron Elvis – worlds colliding!). Standouts for me are “Volcano” (as soon as I heard it live and Larry banging those drums right in front of me on the b stage), “Cedarwood Road,” “Iris” and “Song for Someone.”
May 31 – Songs of Innocence Record Store Day 2015 release
I had yet to open this is a great double vinyl set with all the songs from Songs Of Innocence, alternate versions, acoustic versions and b-sides “The Crystal Ballroom” and “Lucifer’s Hands.” This is a great cover, even if it doesn’t have Larry on it. It looks like a classic album with handwriting on it. I have a t shirt with this album cover on it.
June 1 – The Joshua Tree (again)
I had to listen to my favorite Joshua Tree on vinyl one more time before I embark on tour this weekend!
The countdown is over and tomorrow my musical journey on the road with U2 continues in Chicago for the first of ten Joshua Tree Tour 2017 shows concluding in Cleveland July 1st for my 100th U2 show. I still feel guilty though about not going to the tour opener in Vancouver, since The Joshua Tree is my favorite and I have waited 30 years for this and I went to the tour openers for Elevation, 360 (US final leg) and ie tours. Felt like since The Joshua Tree means so much to me I should have gone to the tour opener, but many factors were working against me and I just couldn’t make it work. I am grateful I am seeing 10 shows (even though I saw more on Elevation, 360 and ie tours) and feel lucky my 100th U2 show is a Joshua Tree show. I hope to see you On the Road with U2 in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Miami, Louisville, Philly, DC, Jersey and Cleveland!