Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Classic Album: U2, Under A Blood Red Sky (Universal-Island)

A quarter-century after its first appearance, Under a Blood Red Sky remains the best summation of pre-Eno U2.

A year on, and The Unforgettable Fire would herald the arrival of New, Improved U2, with added "Pride (In the Name of Love)", and Bono's gusty self-righteousness would be working up to the messianic mistral we know today. They were always a more potent prospect in concert than on record, and this account managed to condense their set down to its most vital moments: anthems such as the surging "I Will Follow", U2's initial article of faith, and "Sunday Bloody Sunday", probably their most courageous composition. It's preceded here by Bono's assurance that "This is not a rebel song", though it's debatable whether many Germans would be conversant with its context. Because despite the iconic scarlet packaging based around the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, most of the album was recorded in St Goarshausen. The accompanying DVD does, however, provide the opportunity to watch the Red Rocks concert in its entirety, an experience akin to watching a Pathé Newsreel of a distant time. Ironically in retrospect, both "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "40" contain queries as to "How long must we sing this song?" Well, for ever, I'm afraid – that's rather the point of anthems.

Pick of the Album: 'I Will Follow', 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', 'Gloria', '40'

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