Saturday, 12 November 2011

U2 ~ Achtung Baby 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition.

Ah have a vision! A vision! Television!

~ The Mirrorball Man.

Finally 'ere. The 20th anniversary edition of the album which redefined U2, setting stage for them to reinvent themselves creatively and musically for the 90s. Physically big box set, with revelatory articles about the album by various individuals current and past, plus nice pics within a hardcover book, just like the Nirvana set. 6 CDs in total. Achtung Baby, is well, to my ears, just like the original one. Zooropa, which has had its roots during the Zoo TV Tour, and meant to be an EP expanded into a separate album, also sounded the same. Personally, I think it shouldn't be included within the set and should be given a separate treatment (and I will still stick to the original album version as it does not come with any lyrics). The Uber and Unter Remixes are given the clubbing DJ treatments, and well, I just kinda felt abit awkward when I listened to it. For those who owned the singles, the b-sides are here and the bonus tracks are kinda nice but still growing on me. The gem of the set actually, is the Kindergarten - Alternative Achtung Baby. Not sure when the songs were recorded, perhaps selected from early takes of the original but oh boy, does it stick to me like an ear worm. The songs I'm so used to are given different arrangements, some kinda stripped down thus sounding more rockier and earthy. There are additional lyrical rearrangements, some which sounds inaudible (Bongolese, Bono?) like in "The Fly", but great, lifting the entire experience, at least to me, to another plane. The gem amongst the gems here is probably "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses", a personal surprise as I always thought the original , while good, is not comparatively as great as their other singles. One listen is all it takes to keep me pressing the repeat button. The DVD documentary is alright thought I personally felt it is done to atone for the criticism thrown at "Rattle and Hum". No new facts in the DVD of which U2 fans have not heard before, like how "One", the single which saves U2 career as one pundit said, was born out of "Mysterious Ways" song bridge, the determination to reinvent, redefine and maintain relevant, the tensions which almost led to the breakup of the band as a result of it, the disappointment instead of salvation in Berlin, but all the negative vibes plus lots and lots of hard works which eventually gave birth to one of the greatest 90s albums. The music videos are all here, all seen before as well as the Sydney Zoo TV Tour concert (which I had in VHS format), infamous because the first night, party animal Adam could not make it after a previous night of wild outing, and his bass tech, Stuart Morgan, had to stand in for him. The one filmed 'ere was of the second night. Bonus materials DVD consisted of the MTV coverage of the Zoo TV experience, and true to it's objective, consists of mocking their own popularity, rock stars and others in general, ironic and nonsensical at the same time (the Tour would eventually grew to a circus like atmosphere, a vortex which would sucked in everyone famous from across the spectrum of the society - Bill Clinton, Salman Rusdie, the supermodels of the 90s, of which Adam briefly dated Naomi Campbell (luckily she did not throw a bass at him when they broke up eh ;), various rock stars and bands, actors and actresses, etc. etc.). For the super core fans, they would have settled for the ultimate completist set, the Uber version by now. For average fans, go for this set, even if it was only for the Kindergarten album, it's worth the price of admission.

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