A Closer Look at the Fan Club Tracks
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2019-07-25)
This week U2.Com has confirmed that the 2019 fan club release is “now mixed, mastered and making its way through the pressing plant.” After the announcement at U2.Com of the tracklisting of the release earlier this week, operators at U2.Com are now confirming that the gift is expected to start shipping in August. However, as has been the case in the past, it is known that it can take several months to get these to all subscribers. Which means we all may have to wait a little big longer. The gift itself is a double CD set, and a photography book of some sort looking at the 2015 and 2018 tours. We’ve taken a bit of a look at the audio contents below.
The first disc of the set contains songs taken from the Songs of Innocence album. All of the songs played live from the album are represented here, as is the bonus tracks, “Invisible” and “The Crystal Ballroom.” Only one additional track would have fit, “Lucifer’s Hands” which was also a bonus track on the album, and was played a small number of times in 2015.
All of the recordings here are taken from 2015, with the exception of “Iris” which is taken from 2018. The 2018 performance is shorter, so they may have chosen it due to time. I don’t really mind, because the 2015 version is available on the home video release for that tour, and the 2018 home video release, from Berlin, was filmed after U2 had dropped the song from the set list. So this is likely the only place we will hear the 2018 version released.
The tracks are heavily taken from the North American shows. Three of the songs are taken from the European leg of the tour, and the other eight songs are taken from the American leg of the tour. In some cases the band had no choice however, as songs such as “The Crystal Ballroom,” “The Troubles” were not played in Europe, and “California (There is No End to Love)” was only played in full, on tour, in North America, although it did make a promotional appearance in Europe in 2014.
It is unclear whether these performances will include snippets Bono used in concert, but “The Crystal Ballroom” would contain a snippet of “Miss You,” originally by The Rolling Stones. Beyond that, the performances represented here on the first disc do not have any snippets of Bono singing other artists songs. The Stones snippet in “The Crystal Ballroom” makes up almost the last two minutes of the performance of the song, and would be impossible to edit out unless they go for an early end to the song. As U2Gigs points out, “Raised by Wolves” will almost certainly have a bit of Bono reading “Psalm 23” as well, but beyond that, there are few additions to U2’s own words here.
One of the tracks on the fan club album was released before. “Cedarwood Road” is being taken from the Paris performance that makes up the home video release from the tour.
The second disc of the set contains songs taken from the Songs of Experience album. All of the songs played live from the album are represented here. The album only had two bonus tracks, “The Book of Your Heart” and “Ordinary Love” but neither are included here. “The Book of Your Heart” was not performed, and while “Ordinary Love” was performed, perhaps the band felt having been released in 2013, it really did not count as a song of Experience.
There are 12 songs included on this release, and the balance between sources is a little more balanced. Five of the songs are taken from shows in North America, and the other seven songs are taken from shows in Europe. All of the songs are taken from the 2018 shows with the exception of “The Little Things That Give You Away” which was not performed in 2018, and is taken from a performance in Rome in 2017. As is the case with the first disc, U2 has little choice about where to take some of these songs, “Summer of Love” was only performed in Europe (with the exception of a promotional appearance), “American Soul” was done in concert in North America, and “Landlady” was performed only in Europe.
All of the songs chosen for the second disc were done without snippets of other artist’s songs as well. Although U2 has released live projects with snippets in the past, it is likely easier to avoid them and not have to seek permission. None of the songs on the second disc have been released live outside of this project and its associated downloads.
Should only be a few weeks before copies start to arrive and we can take a more indepth look. In the meantime here’s a couple of resources where you can find out more about the project:
- U2Songs Discography Entry: Live Songs of Innocence + Experience
- News: A look at the 2019 Fan Club Gift and Delivery of Past Gifts
- News: U2Songs Fan Club Gifts Survey
- Discography Entries for all Fan Club Audio Releases