"Wide Awake in Europe" - U2


Track Listing:

Background Information

Starting in 2007 Record Store Day has been held on the third Saturday in April to celebrate independent music stores, initially in the USA, and later expanding worldwide. Many artists contribute exclusive albums or singles that are available in shops on that day. Initially some independent online shops were also able to participate. In 2010, a second Record Store Day event was announced to coincide with Black Friday in the USA—the day after the Thanksgiving holiday and, typically, the busiest shopping day of the year. In early October, it was announced that a special U2 release would be among the rarities available in stores on that day. Despite being a Record Store Day exclusive, amazon.com initially listed this limited U2 release online and accepted pre-orders for it. Not surprisingly, none of those orders were filled.

U2’s contribution was a three-track, vinyl-only 12-inch EP entitled “Wide Awake in Europe.” This release plays at 33 1/3 RPM. The release featured black-and-white artwork, with one large picture of Bono on the front and four individual photos of the band members on the back. The sleeve design and font echoed the look and feel of U2’s 1985 EP, initially released only in North America, “Wide Awake in America.” The tracks on this release were all recorded at European tour stops of the U2360° Tour. Of particular note, the A-side track, “Mercy (Live from Brussels),” had not previously been released in either a live or studio version. Thus, the version on “Wide Awake in Europe” (recorded at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on September 22, 2010) marks the debut of the song, which as of this writing does not appear on any other U2 release. The B-side of the EP included “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (Live U2360° Remix)” (recorded at Croke Park, Dublin on July 27, 2009) and “Moment of Surrender (Live from Paris)” (recorded at Stade de France in Paris on September 18, 2010).

“Mercy” had been a song recorded for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb that was cut from the album at late stages of recording the album. A studio version of the song was leaked on the internet and fans hoped the track would be completed and featured on the next album. No Line on the Horizon was released but did not feature that track. However, during the U2360° tour, in the cold rain of a performance in Zurich Switzerland on September 12, 2010 “Mercy” made its debut in the set list. The recording used on the EP was from a few nights later in Brussels. “Moment of Surrender (Live from Paris)” had also been released as a video for the “BornHIVFree” campaign on September 21, 2010. The live recording of the song opened with documentary style footage, the logos of (RED) and One and a short clip of Bono talking in Paris, and then goes black for the performance of the song. The video was released through YouTube. “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (Live from Dublin)” had previously been released on the fan club only release Artificial Horizon on CD, and the commercially available Artificial Horizon on vinyl.

Initial news stories claimed that this EP would be limited to 5,000 copies. However, on the day of release fans reported finding copies with numbers well into the 6,000s. It appears that there was a print run of 6,500 numbered sleeves for this release. Contacts at the record company claimed that extra sleeves were printed in order to allow for potential quality issues on individual sleeves that had to be rejected, and that the circulation numbers for this EP were indeed limited to 5,000 physical copies.

Although many retailers listed this as a US-only offer, independent record shops in Canada were also able to stock this item on the day of release. These copies were from the same pressing as the USA copies. A small number of copies were reportedly sold through Tower Records in Dublin, as well. Twenty copies were given out through U2.com. Retailers across North America reported quick sell-outs of this release. As has become common for limited Record Store Day exclusives, within hours of going on sale, copies of “Wide Awake in Europe” began to appear on eBay at a much higher price point, some initially fetching over $100.

U2.com did stream all three tracks for paid members for a limited time during the week of the vinyl release, as a set of 256kbps mp3 files. The page that they were streamed from was http://www.u2.com/news/title/wide-awake-moment – and that page was active at the time of this writing. The third track was added at a separate address http://www.u2.com/news/title/mercy-now-streaming – which is also still active at the time of this writing. The tracks streamed were taken from a digital source, and are not recorded from the vinyl. There was no means given to download the tracks from U2.com and they were intended to be streamed only. The files streamed were mp3 files encoded at 256kbps quality. The first track streamed, “Moment of Surrender” was made available on November 17, and “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” was added on November 21. The final track, “Mercy” was made available on a separate page on November 26, 2010, the same day the EP went on sale. Unlike the other two tracks which were not limited in the time that they streamed, “Mercy” was limited to 48 hours streaming and was removed from the website after that time. The site streaming “Mercy” listed the following: “Today, November 26th, U2 release a three-track live EP, ‘Wide Awake In Europe’. Released to celebrate Record Store Day, the EP is only available from participating North American stores. This limited edition vinyl EP, is led by a track that has legendary status for many U2 fans. ‘Mercy’ has been in progress for a while and was featured in the setlist of the 2010 European leg of U2360°. The live version on the EP was recorded in Brussels on September 22nd 2010, and is the first time any recording of the track has been released. And just for our U2.com subscribers, for 48 hours we’re streaming ‘Mercy’ – as well as ‘Moment of Surrender’ and ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’ , the two other tracks on ‘Wide Awake In Europe’. Take a listen and tell us what you think.”

On April 6, 2017, “Mercy” was once again made available through U2.com as part of a playlist of songs chosen by Aaron J. Sams. The playlist featured a number of favourite songs chosen by Sams, and included the live version from “Wide Awake in Europe”. At this time it is still available via that playlist, but it is a subscriber only article, titled “Unfiltered Joy“.

Liner Notes

Release production by Declan Gaffney. Mastered by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Audio Post Production by Cheryl Engels at Partial Productions.

All tracks recorded during U2360° Tour 2009/2010.

Mercy (Live from Brussels):
Recorded by Alastair McMillan at King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, 22nd September 2010. Mixed by Declan Gaffney.

I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (Live U2360° Remix):
Recorded by Alastair McMillan at Croke Park, Dublin, 27th July 2009. Mixed by Declan Gaffney.

Moment of Surrender (Live from Paris):
Recorded by Alastair McMillan at Stade De France, 18th September 2010. Mixed by Declan Gaffney


Photography by Aaron Harris. Sleeve Design by Shaughn McGrath at AMP Visual.

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