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Unfortunately, for this first night of the tour Bono's voice is shot and, he sounds awful on every song of the set and this factor makes the show a pretty hard listen in the vocal department with renditions of songs such as Streets, Exit and Bad being very low-ranking renditions + the band not really doing anything interesting during the gig which, brings this gig down by some more points so yeah, this isn't their finest hour when it comes to their performances.
Fantastic sound on this recording KeithM did a near-perfect job here in capturing the show, the audience sound is well-mixed as they don't seem to interfere with the recording yet they're clearly audible, the recording also picks up what the band are doing very clearly as well so you can hear details such as Edge's guitar work and Bono's vocals very well. Recording: "KeithM master via JEMS" - 4 stars
To be honest, I'm going to say that I feel sorry for them during this gig especially when they're having to sit through a gig where you have to deal with a singer who can barely do his job but, they do seem to cheer/react during certain sections of songs due to solos or something Bono says to them + it is nice to hear them trying to support Bono in spots by singing along in spots of songs.
Overall though, a rough show in U2's concert career due to the aforementioned things such as Bono's voice and the band messing up, but it does have the infamous quality for being the first night of the tour where Bono's voice is shot which, causes an interesting listening experience for people to hear this definitely takes the spot for the weakest U2 show I have heard so far.
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First Night of the Joshua Tree Tour
16/44.1 Mastered Edition
KeithM Master via JEMS
Recording Gear: Sony ECM-939 Stereo Microphone > Sony Walkman D6C
JEMS 2017 Transfer: master cassette > Nakamichi CR-7A azimuth-adjusted playback > Sound Devices USBPre2 > Audacity 2.0 (24/96 capture to .wav) > iZotope RX6 and Ozone 6 mastering > iZotope MBIT+ resample and dither to 16/44.1 > Peak Pro 6 (post production) > xACT 2.37 > FLAC
01 Promoter Barry Fey Reads Governor Mecham Statement
02 Where The Streets Have No Name
03 I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
05 I Will Follow
06 Bullet The Blue Sky
07 Running To Stand Still
09 In God’s Country
10 A Sort Of Homecoming
11 Sunday Bloody Sunday
12 Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan cover)
15 New Year’s Day
17 People Get Ready
Introduction To The KeithM Masters
JEMS could not be more pleased to present the outstanding work of KeithM to U2 fans the world over.
KeithM recorded hundreds of concerts in, around and beyond Southern California starting in the early ‘80s, including what can only be described as a series of essential recordings from April 1987, the start of the Joshua Tree tour. Of the tour’s first 16 performances, incredibly KeithM recorded nine of them using a Sony ECM-939 stereo microphone and Walkman D6C. In my opinion, they range from really good to excellent and offer a striking balance in that they capture the extraordinary excitement of the crowd, but somehow little to no up-close chatter or talking.
Some of KeithM’s recordings have circulated before (though perhaps not all?) and the lineage of what is around ranges from an analog generation or two removed to “unknown.”
This series presents the first proper digital transfers ever made from KeithM’s metal master tapes and as such we believe each and every one of them represents a substantial upgrade to circulating copies of these nine incredible shows. In other words, 30 years later, we get to hear some of the formative shows of the original Joshua Tree tour in best-ever quality thanks to the remarkable preservation and genorisity of KeithM.
All nine shows will be posted in two formats:
16/44.1 mastered by JEMS
24/96 unmastered raw transfer
Tempe, April 2
The infamous opening night of the tour, when Bono’s voice was shot. I must admit I had never played this show before, knowing the circumstances, and it isn’t an easy listen. At times Bono is straining so hard that you actually sense the pain he is no doubt experiencing as he tries to soldier on. And he is off right from the start, struggling to pull off “Where The Streets Have No Name.”
There are moments in the show when his voice grows a little stronger and the set isn’t as much of a disaster as I had come to believe, but you do wind up feeling incredible sympathy for him and how difficult that performance must have been.
But that’s all hindsight. I asked KeithM for his point of view having experienced the show in person and his take is fascinating:
“I have to say, the 4/2/87 show is one of my favorite U2 shows, because of Bono's voice. The reason I love it so much, aside from how unique it is - for any performer - is how the crowd carried the show. The album had only been out for a few weeks, but more than half of the audience already knew all of the words and sang them as loudly as any U.S. audience I have ever heard. I can only imagine the discussion that took place before he decided he was going to perform. Did people try to talk him out of it? What did he think of the show afterwards? Not enough to play the 4/3/87 date, but I always assumed that was because he stressed out his vocal cords on 4/2/87.”
KeithM captures the heroic struggle in high-fidelity, with a fine recording that includes Barry Fey’s introduction reading a statement from the band about Governor Evan Mecham’s attempts to block the MLK holiday.
Levels are a tad rocky at the start, but then the capture settles in nicely. There are a few moments where the levels run too hot and you might notice a tiny bit of distortion in one channel, but nothing the distract materially. Samples provided as well as artwork for the 16/44.1 version included.
Beyond Bono’s vocals, the band is still finding its way this night as well, not surprising for opening night. There are some missed cues, but as noted above, its not a bad performance, just a difficult one.
I’d like to express my personal gratitude to KeithM for loaning us his precious master tapes and allowing us to share his work. You should express your gratitude to him as well in the comments. Special credit goes to DIME member bitrate for helping me connect to KeithM and remaining persistent as the months went by before we finally got things going with the tapes. Lastly, there’s no one JEMS trusts more to handle post-production of this series than our esteemed colleague mjk5510. Thanks to him for his continued critical support of our efforts.
BK for JEMS
Audio / MP3
Bit rate: 224, bit depth: 16, sample rate: 44100, channels: 2
"Dream Beneath a Desert Sky" AKA "We've Missed You"
1. Barry Fey's Statement on Behalf of U2 Regarding Gov. Meacham
2. Where the Streets Have no Name
3. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
6. I Will Follow
7. Bullet the Blue Sky
8. Running to Stand Still
10. In God's Country
11. A Sort of Homecoming
1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
2. Maggie's Farm
5. New Year's Day
7. People Get Ready
April 2, 1987, Tempe, Arizona. ASU Activity Center
History of this set: Analog first generation tape > Maxisound Home Studio Pro 64 >Wav > CD Master >EAC Secure >SHN > CDR > FLAC
Comments (by Javi Dieguez, Justin Cook, and me):
Javi's Comments: First night of the JT tour with a cracked Bono on vocals, short show. This set's not excellent, but still good... it has bass, treble, sounds fairly close. But it has also a bit of hiss and clarity could be better. Anyway, taking into account how bad versions out there for this show are, this is a nice 2 CD set. I put this on CDR from a 1st generation XLII90 using my pro64 soundcard, no processing done besides normalization and smoothing of breaks. I could seamlessly join the beginning of SBS at end of side A of the tape with the entire song at side B.
Justin's Comments: Sound quality is infinitely better than "The Tour Begins". This recording is not quite on the same level as "Back In the Desert" (a bootleg documenting the next night's concert), but it's still very good. There is very little crowd noise and it is relegated entirely to the background. Bono's vocals (if you can call them that) feature prominently in the mix. There is a bit of background noise, but it certainly shouldn't cause much concern.
Bono was suffering from throat problems after practicing for much of the previous week in the dry desert air of Arizona. He croaks "Hello!" during the intro to "Streets" and his singing during the first verse of the song makes you realize that what was arguably U2's best tour started out rather terribly. By the second verse of "Streets", Edge is obviously singing more than just back up vocals, and the performance improves as a result. Bono's voice continues to deteriorate throughout the show, but despite the rough vocals it is very interesting to hear some of U2's greatest hits performed live for the first time ever and sounding very raw.
The opening track is features Barry Fey, speaking on behalf of the band, unleashing a scathing criticism of Arizona's Governor Meacham, who refused to make Martin Luther King Day a state holiday.
My comments (Mike): I took Justin's/Javi's comments right from Justin's web site.
They are for the title "We've Missed You," which is the same thing as this. "Dream Beneath a Desert Sky" was my title, as I got this show in the format of WAV files directly from Javi himself, and this recording was otherwise unavailable at the time. So know that this is the same as "We've Missed You." About the show I have not much to add. I have a feeling this was the same taper as "Back in the Desert," but is lesser sound quality because "Back in the Desert" appears to have been remastered. A very nice recording nevertheless. Despite the problems with Bono's voice, I think this was a great show, and things certainly went up from here.
Audio / MP3
Bit rate: 192, bit depth: 16, sample rate: 44100, channels: 2
State University Activity Center
April 2, 1987
"The Tour Begins"
LINEAGE: CD-R > FLAC > fre:ac (mp3)
01-Where The Streets Have No Name
02-I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
04-I Will Follow
05-Bullet The Blue Sky
06-Running To Stand Still
08-In God's Country
09-A Sort Of Homecoming
10-Sunday Bloody Sunday [cut]
14-New Year's Day
15-Pride (In The Name Of Love)
16-People Get Ready
Audio / MP3
Bit rate: 192, bit depth: 16, sample rate: 44100, channels: 2
Out of my 7,000+ shows and radio broadcasts, I have many concerts that were special for some reasons: the setlist, the
musicians, the venue or unexpected events. These are the ones I'd like to propose you. Most of these come from my
cassettes collection, so they will be released at a slower pace than my Master Series! But you won't be disappointed!
I will try to gather the most unusual things I have in my collection and, as always, your feedback and comments will be my
reward for all the work involved in this project.
DO NOT share this music on mp3, just convert it for your own use. Sharing mp3's is the right way to make me stop sharing
music at DIME.
Tempe, Arizona State University Activity Center
April 2, 1987
1st show (out of 109) of the Joshua Tree tour
01. Where The Streets Have No Name
02. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Exodus (snippet) / Three Little Birds (snippet)
04. I Will Follow
05. Bullet The Blue Sky
06. Running To Stand Still
08. In God's Country
09. A Sort Of Homecoming
10. Sunday Bloody Sunday (fades out)
11. Maggie's Farm / School's Out (snippet) / Cold Turkey (snippet)
12. Bad / Oh Holy Day (snippet) / Walk On The Wild Side (snippet)
14. New Year's Day
15. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
16. People Get Ready
Lineage: Unknown recording device > n generation copy > Aiwa Tape Deck AD-WX828 > Audigy Soundblaster > HD >
SoundForge 7.0 > CD Wave >FLAC Frontend (level 6)
Bono - vocals, guitar
The Edge - guitar, piano, backing vocals
Adam Clayton - bass
Larry Mullen Jr. - drums
This is the very first show from the JT tour, and probably the most unfortunate tour starter of the band's career. Bono's
vocal chords were heavily damaged in addition with already difficult conditions (hot and humid) in Arizona, made his voice
barely listenable right from the beginning of the show. So vocalwide the performance is very poor. As a result of this,
following day's show in the same venue was cancelled and postponed on the 4th. So this is the full 85 minutes set, where
most of the encores, including With or Without You were cut from the setlist. Probably as a thank for the patience during
these two very difficult shows, the band decided to close the JT world tour with two dates in Tempe in december 1987.
Interesting setlist, though.
Soundwise this is good and listenable, although not the best of the quality. My tape was running far too fast, so I tried
to adjust speed according to my ear. I did not touch anything more since I felt that the sound was good enough. I haven't
seen this one circulating, so please enjoy the starter of one of the best tour U2 has ever performed.
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