If you never experienced seeing U2 onstage or if you are nostalgic for the band’s pre-Joshua Tree period, this newly reissued version of the 1983 live album Under a Blood Red Sky, and its accompanying DVD Live at Red Rocks, provide a pretty good record. Although they only had three albums under their belt when they performed at Red Rocks in Boulder, Colorado, and in shitty weather, U2 already had the crowd under their spell. The performances were just electrifying no doubt highlighted by Bono’s stage presence—big hair and all. It proves that all the fancy lighting and video screens we’re so accustomed today don’t mean jack if you don’t make the audience feel they’re part of the show, and U2 does the exact opposite. The songs from both the video performance and mini-album sound tightly focused such as “Party Girl,” “I Will Follow,” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”—but yet feel spontaneous too. It’s remarkable to see and hear this music in retrospect and realize how much they progressed since then. One of the seeds of their success was definitely planted during that period at Red Rocks.
Watch a clip of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on YouTube: