By Thomas Bond
U2 “Under a Blood Red Sky” and “Live at Red Rocks” CD and DVD deluxe edition (Universal)
With the U2 deluxe edition CD reissue campaign underway in earnest, this eight-song live EP and concert DVD may seem just a small weigh station between landmark albums such as “War” and “The Joshua Tree.” And it is, but don't overlook it, especially as this is the first ever DVD release of “Live at Red Rocks.” Recorded at the famous Colorado amphitheater a quarter-century ago, it captures the “savage young U2” (if you will), on the cusp of international superstardom.
Given the different makeovers U2 have successfully reinvented themselves with on their way to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it's somewhat startling to look back at the baby-faced band of 1983 -- “Hey, The Edge has no hat on and what's with Bono's mullet and, literal, flag-waving?!”
Appearances aside, what comes through loud and clear is the almost mythic power of the band's music as they run through a solid sampling of their first three albums. This is a group that always aspired to greatness and you can see the seeds being sown here in spades.
Meanwhile, stripped of the visuals and cobbled together from three different shows, the “Under a Blood Red Sky” CD is obviously the weaker sister of this package, even though the remastered sound is terrific. The budget conscious will be glad to know that the DVD and CD are also available separately. All permutations of the release -- including a vinyl version of the EP -- are in stores today.