UABRS 2023 Remaster to get a Digital Release

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2023-11-23)

Looks like U2 are doing more for the 40th Anniversary of Under A Blood Red Sky than expected, with a digital release of the new 2023 master coming tomorrow to digital shops. It will be released tomorrow, Friday, November 24. At the same time a special limited pressing on red vinyl will be available in stores for Black Friday’s Record Store Day Event.

The 2023 version appears to be the same edit as was done in 2008 for the earlier remasters program. Track timings are identical to that release. (“11 O’Clock Tick Tock” is a second longer, and “I Will Follow” a second shorter, but as these are back to back, it’s likely the track split has shifted slightly. The same happens with “New Year’s Day” and “40”.) The edit of “The Electric Co.” on the 2008 version and the 2023 version are the same, if you listen to the two side by side, they do overlap. What has been changed is the levels, the volume, and other things cleaned up for this release. On the 2008 version there were times that the crowd noise caused some clipping in the audio tracks, this has been fixed and there is no longer any evidence of any clipping in the sound overall in the segments we compared. The gain on the new version is slightly less, and the new recording does appear to be a little more dynamic overall, the quieter moments are more quiet making them stand out that much more. But if you are looking for big differences in the editing choices of what has been removed or included, we didn’t spot any big changes between the two recordings. But there are differences in the sound, and the new version is very pleasing to the ear and corrects a few rough spots the 2008 master missed. The new digital version also offers a high resolution audio option, at greater than CD quality sound, available at some online retailers at 24-bit, 96kHz quality.

IMAGE: 2023 and 2008 Digital Versions

There’s also a new cover for the 2023 version. They have changed the logo used for the titles on the front cover for both the digital release, and for the physical red vinyl pressing. The red vinyl is also a gatefold sleeve, a first for Under A Blood Red Sky. The interior of the sleeve uses a photo of the crowd gathered at Red Rocks. The inner sleeves picture photographs of the band from the era in black and white, Adam and Larry on one, and Bono and Edge on the other. A poster is also included in the package.

Record Store Day’s Black Friday event is an instore event for independent retailers. For the first twenty-four hours they are asked to make the records available in shop only, but on Saturday most shops will start offering any left over quantities through their online shops. This is the first time U2 have issued a RSD release in digital formats on the same day in some time.

IMAGE: 2023 Version

With this release on red vinyl, Under A Blood Red Sky joins many of the other albums which have been issued on coloured vinyl in recent years. To date, only War, Rattle and Hum and All That You Can’t Leave Behind have not been reissued on colour vinyl. But this isn’t the first release on coloured vinyl for Under a Blood Red Sky – it was also issued on red vinyl in Australia in the 1980s.

The catalog number for the red vinyl is 8817464, and will carry a UPC of 0602458174649. The sticker on the front of the release identifies it as a “40th anniversary limited edition gatefold” and also mentions “newly remastered”, “red vinyl pressing” and “includes a large 2-sided poster”. We’ll have more information on the red vinyl and the digital release in our discography entry when both are released.

IMAGE: 2023 Cover Art

The full track listing on digital services is as follows:

  • “Gloria” (Live from Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado / Remastered 2023) (4:47)
  • “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” (Live From Boston, Massachusetts / Remastered 2023) (4:40)
  • “I Will Follow” (Live from Sankt Goarhausen, Germany / Remastered 2023) (3:46)
  • “Party Girl” (Live from Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado / Remastered 2023) (3:06)
  • “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (Live from Sankt Goarhausen, Germany / Remastered 2023) (5:18)
  • “The Electric Co.” (Live from Sankt Goarhausen, Germany / Remastered 2023) (4:38)
  • “New Year’s Day” (Live from Sankt Goarhausen, Germany / Remastered 2023) (4:35)
  • “40” (Live from Sankt Goarhausen, Germany / Remastered 2023) (3:47)

Original pressings of “Under A Blood Red Sky” had a snippet included of a Stephen Sondheim song, which U2 had failed to clear. In the settlement of the dispute about the use of the song, U2 agreed to remove that from all subsequent pressings of the album, and to pay a small financial penalty. Later pressings removed the snippet, and the 2008 remaster took away even more of the song.

The album has always been a mix of live versions from three different concerts, one in Colorado (two songs), one from Massachusetts (one song) and the remainder from an appearance in Germany. For those interested in more tracks from the Colorado show, U2 released a four track digital EP in 2021 containing additional songs from that appearance as part of their “The Virtual Road” event.

Also to celebrate tomorrow’s release, U2 have issued a performance of “October” and “New Year’s Day” at the Colorado show to YouTube. It’s available now:

Many thanks to cgmorgan1986 for always keeping an eye on this stuff for us.

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