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Achtung Baby: why?


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On 07/11/2017 at 7:51 AM, HansasHeroes1991 said:

The risk U2 was taking is ultimately part of the continuum of artists who have successfully pulled off a contrast reinvention.

Think of Dylan going electric, The Beatles creating Revolver and Sgt. Pepper,
Bowie leaving the Ziggy persona to become Halloween Jack, The Thin White Duke, and then to leave for Berlin to compose what is arguably is best and most career-defining work with Eno and Visconti.

U2 had already made a big leap from War to The Unforgettable Fire.

The Joshua Tree was a fantastic record and another change,

though The Unforgettable Fire made us more ready for the sonic environment that Lanois, Eno, and U2 are capable of creating.

Achtung Baby was perhaps the biggest leap of all, though not just because of the sonic shift.

The entire attitude of the group shifted.

Irony was new.

Earth shattering, too.

U2 didn't do irony.
They were in a long-running earnest-off with Bruce Springsteen.

Dance rhythms? Check.

Hip Hop? Yep.

Wah wah guitar effects, overdrive guitar effects, drum machines, distorted vocals, big keyboard sounds, samples...

The subject matter was shifting as well.

Jesus was still in there, but now Judas?

Betrayal is the keyword of these times.

"To serve the age, betray it."

That was the quote driving U2.

How many fans first felt massively let down,

even depressed,

when The Fly first rolled out.

I know I was at sea for a time.

Everything you know is wrong, indeed...

This record was like a car crash you just had to look at,

despite initial feelings of horror.

Then, over weeks and months, this black beauty started to make more and more sense.

No wonder the band left three months before the first show of the tour.

The fans needed time to tuck into the winter of 1991-1992 and really chew on this new sound.

By the time ZOO TV arrived, the fans were ready.

Or, they thought they were ready.

Changes, yet again.

Media madness, satellite of love, you can go anywhere...

U2 went as far as you could go.

Then an unexpected album in summer 1993, the Bosnia broadcasts, the glory of Macphisto, Johnny Cash on the moon...

What a time to be 16, 17, 18 years of age, as I was.

What a perfect sendoff into the uncertainty of post-adolescence.

Yet "uncertainty can be a guiding light".

Ultraviolet is the other watchword of the time.

The spirituality is still there.

Ultraviolet is just beyond our vision.

The spirit, vision over visibility.

Following love, wherever that ride takes you.

U2 have never been given their proper due for that massive back flip of faith.

Their fans, the ones that went along for the ride, were rewarded handsomely.

What a thrill of a time.

If you ever need to take that trip then do yourself a solid and dig the following...

 

Besides Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and the singles/b-sides from those albums, and Night And Day, from the album Red Hot and Blue, get 

U2 ZOO TV Live In Sydney DVD

U2 At The End Of The World by Bill Flanagan

That's a great start if you need to get your fix of U2's very best era.

 

I was 14 when Achtung Baby was released. I didn't know much about U2 but I love 'The Fly' that song was the sh*t and still is! my 14 year old ears also loved 'Mysterious Ways'. I got the cassette tape for Christmas but not all of the album sunk in... I don't think my young mind that hadn't listened to much music was ready for what the entire album is. it wasn't until a year later in 1992 when I watched the Outside Broadcast that I got it B) songs that I didn't care for grew on me. as you said like Bowie & The Beatles, U2 changed musically for survival. a band can only tread water for so long until they are tired with what they are doing.

On 11/12/2017 at 9:55 AM, JCF said:

Gorgeous take on Achtung Baby, all of your words ring true!! I was 16, 17 at that time, too, and had the same first reaction - surprise, maybe a little horror....and then....it all started to sink in...and it became my all time favorite U2 album.  My first U2 show was Zoo tour in arenas in Massachusetts. Blew me away.  I viscerally remember sitting on the beach on the Jersey Shore on vacation, reading U2 at the End of the World cover to cover over a couple of days.  Fantastic book. 

I didn't get to see ZOO TV, it didn't visit my city. I would've loved to see that show. 

edit: oh my goodness, it's 2018 and this is the first time I've seen this footage from the Sydney vhs/dvd! such a shame I was stuck in Perth :Zoo_Baby:16 and broke.

 

Edited by BigBunny
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On 1/20/2018 at 8:57 AM, BigBunny said:

I was 14 when Achtung Baby was released. I didn't know much about U2 but I love 'The Fly' that song was the sh*t and still is! my 14 year old ears also loved 'Mysterious Ways'. I got the cassette tape for Christmas but not all of the album sunk in... I don't think my young mind that hadn't listened to much music was ready for what the entire album is. it wasn't until a year later in 1992 when I watched the Outside Broadcast that I got it B) songs that I didn't care for grew on me. as you said like Bowie & The Beatles, U2 changed musically for survival. a band can only tread water for so long until they are tired with what they are doing.

I didn't get to see ZOO TV, it didn't visit my city. I would've loved to see that show. 

edit: oh my goodness, it's 2018 and this is the first time I've seen this footage from the Sydney vhs/dvd! such a shame I was stuck in Perth :Zoo_Baby:16 and broke.

 

 

The incredible irony of the song you just posted here is that it DIDN'T make it onto the VHS/DVD of the show!

Apparently, the young lady above was not of legal drinking age - thus, this performance was tragically cut from both. I had seen a bootleg CD of this show in a record store back in the 90s, and it had TTTYAATW on it - I had watched that VHS tape more times than I can count and I knew that this song was not on it. I was quite confused.

Thanks to this site, I eventually found out why it was cut - too bad, as it is one of my very favorite songs from AB and the ZooTV tour. Surely, she is of legal age to imbibe now...PUT THE SONG BACK IN THE SHOW! :D

 

Edited by dmway
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3 hours ago, dmway said:

 

The incredible irony of the song you just posted here is that it DIDN'T make it onto the VHS/DVD of the show!

Apparently, the young lady above was not of legal drinking age - thus, this performance was tragically cut from both. I had seen a bootleg CD of this show in a record store back in the 90s, and it had TTTYAATW on it - I had watched that VHS tape more times than I can count and I knew that this song was not on it. I was quite confused.

Thanks to this site, I eventually found out why it was cut - too bad, as it is one of my very favorite songs from AB and the ZooTV tour. Surely, she is of legal age to imbibe now...PUT THE SONG BACK IN THE SHOW! :D

 

I knew why it was cut, it's just such a shame as the edit is so obvious on the vhs/dvd. Edge goes from being onstage (I think he's singing Numb?) the next moment he's taking a ride on the ZOO TV camera :blink: talk about a magic trick.

this is the first time I've seen this footage live, 2018... only 24 years since I got the vhs :Zoo_Dish: better late than never ;)

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8 hours ago, BigBunny said:

I knew why it was cut, it's just such a shame as the edit is so obvious on the vhs/dvd. Edge goes from being onstage (I think he's singing Numb?) the next moment he's taking a ride on the ZOO TV camera :blink: talk about a magic trick.

this is the first time I've seen this footage live, 2018... only 24 years since I got the vhs :Zoo_Dish: better late than never ;)

Yes - I understand why it was cut on the VHS too; however, when the DVD was released, the "controversy" had long since passed - PUT THE SONG BACK IN!

The same problem happens with the "Send In The Clowns" section during "The Electric Co." on the "Live At Red Rocks" show. The original VHS kept the section in (by excluding "The Electric Co." on the packaging setlist - clever idea that... ;) - however, on the DVD, they cut it due to a royalty being due if it had stayed in. Two problems there: 1) Why are the original publishing-rights holders being so anal-retentive about "Send In The Clowns"? U2's including that bit increases the profile of the song which would invariably bring in more sales for it later. 2) If the royalty demand can't be dismissed, why doesn't U2 just pay it? It can't be that much. With the edit, Bono leaves the stage and mystically comes back moments later to rousing applause - what exactly is the crowd cheering? A successful bathroom break? Why we aren't allowed to know on the DVD version that the crowd is so pumped because Bono had just come back from climbing to the top of the stage to sing the "Send In The Clowns" section is just annoying... PUT IT BACK IN!

Maybe BluRay releases in the future will fix these needless problems. One hopes anyway...

 

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1 hour ago, dmway said:

Yes - I understand why it was cut on the VHS too; however, when the DVD was released, the "controversy" had long since passed - PUT THE SONG BACK IN!

The same problem happens with the "Send In The Clowns" section during "The Electric Co." on the "Live At Red Rocks" show. The original VHS kept the section in (by excluding "The Electric Co." on the packaging setlist - clever idea that... ;) - however, on the DVD, they cut it due to a royalty being due if it had stayed in. Two problems there: 1) Why are the original publishing-rights holders being so anal-retentive about "Send In The Clowns"? U2's including that bit increases the profile of the song which would invariably bring in more sales for it later. 2) If the royalty demand can't be dismissed, why doesn't U2 just pay it? It can't be that much. With the edit, Bono leaves the stage and mystically comes back moments later to rousing applause - what exactly is the crowd cheering? A successful bathroom break? Why we aren't allowed to know on the DVD version that the crowd is so pumped because Bono had just come back from climbing to the top of the stage to sing the "Send In The Clowns" section is just annoying... PUT IT BACK IN!

Maybe BluRay releases in the future will fix these needless problems. One hopes anyway...

 

Royalty money might not be the problem. It could be that the copyright holder of “Send in the Clowns “ just doesn’t want the song included in the DVD and won’t change his mind for any amount of money, so U2 either has to put out a choppy DVD or get sued for using the song without permission. Copyright is a minefield.

 

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2 hours ago, dmway said:

Yes - I understand why it was cut on the VHS too; however, when the DVD was released, the "controversy" had long since passed - PUT THE SONG BACK IN!

The same problem happens with the "Send In The Clowns" section during "The Electric Co." on the "Live At Red Rocks" show. The original VHS kept the section in (by excluding "The Electric Co." on the packaging setlist - clever idea that... ;) - however, on the DVD, they cut it due to a royalty being due if it had stayed in. Two problems there: 1) Why are the original publishing-rights holders being so anal-retentive about "Send In The Clowns"? U2's including that bit increases the profile of the song which would invariably bring in more sales for it later. 2) If the royalty demand can't be dismissed, why doesn't U2 just pay it? It can't be that much. With the edit, Bono leaves the stage and mystically comes back moments later to rousing applause - what exactly is the crowd cheering? A successful bathroom break? Why we aren't allowed to know on the DVD version that the crowd is so pumped because Bono had just come back from climbing to the top of the stage to sing the "Send In The Clowns" section is just annoying... PUT IT BACK IN!

Maybe BluRay releases in the future will fix these needless problems. One hopes anyway...

 

I haven't seen Red Rocks in ages. I did have the vhs in the early 90's but I can't remember seeing Bono climb anywhere?

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10 hours ago, Europa_Thomas said:

Royalty money might not be the problem. It could be that the copyright holder of “Send in the Clowns “ just doesn’t want the song included in the DVD and won’t change his mind for any amount of money, so U2 either has to put out a choppy DVD or get sued for using the song without permission. Copyright is a minefield.

 

 

I have actually heard that before. I wonder why it made the cut in the original VHS version then - surely it would have been just as problematic back then...

 

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9 hours ago, BigBunny said:

I haven't seen Red Rocks in ages. I did have the vhs in the early 90's but I can't remember seeing Bono climb anywhere?

Well, Bono was notorious for scaling parts of the stage in U2's early career - so much so that they rest of the band started taking him to task for it! :D

Yes, he does actually go on top of the stage roof while Edge is playing his solo (it isn't shown) - the thing is he doesn't even sing the actual lyrics of the song either. He just compliments the crowd to the tune of "Send In The Clowns" - this of course makes the omission even sillier.

Check out about 3 1/2 minutes into this clip:

 

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