The Unforgettable Fire
2009 Remaster

Release Date: October 26, 2009
Original Release: 1984
Produced by: Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois
Format: 2CD



Matt Rowe


The arrival of The Unforgettable Fire by the established U2 surprised many with its about-face change of style that has since become a hallmark of the band, for better or worse.  Regardless of it's original reception, The Unforgettable Fire has since achieved a kind of status amongst 'dyed-in-the-wool' U2 fans, that of the band with many musical hands.

Produced by the tandem team of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, The Unforgettable Fire started a new direction that stands by itself.  It also paved the way for the generally accepted masterpiece that is The Joshua Tree.  Personally, I stand withThe Unforgettable Fire as the band's unquestionable masterpiece.

Recently, the band has had their earlier catalogue titles remastered and reintroduced as definitive, book-bound, 2-disc treasures.  And that is the starting point as these definitive reissues also come out in greater sets.  Interestingly, The Unforgettable Fire is reissued after its more successful follow-up, The Joshua Tree.

Naturally, the primary interest here is the remaster, which is great.  Plenty of room to breathe especially with Bono's voice clearly in front.  But this set elevates to higher heights with not only the elegant book-bound 36-page booklet, which is filled with notes, lyrics, complete credits, session and album-related photos, singles picture sleeves, and a revealing set of notes and track notes by The Edge, but also an extra audio CD that is crammed with a blessed 16 extra, sessions-related tracks, four of which had been previously released as the wonderful 4-track EP, Wide Awake in America.

The Unforgettable Fire doesn't need me to convince you that it's a great album.  We will forgo that in this review.  In addition, the associated bonus tracks do not need to be extolled because you already have a hint of their quality from the before mentioned Wide Awake in America EP. 

The rest of the material found on the bonus audio CD are noted B-sides, remixes, and single edits, including Holy Grail additions of previously unheard session tracks.  I'll leave these tracks alone for you as discovery pieces.  But you can trust me on this, if the mindset back when The Unforgettable Fire was released were to fill a CD, these excellent out-takes would not be out-takes, pure and simple.  It must  have been agonizing to pick and toss the remarkable tracks that made the cut, and those that didn't.  The notes supplied by The Edge indicate (in his track note for "Love Comes Tumbling") that there was/is a "...pile of out-takes from TUF demo sessions...".  Personally, I'd love to hear them even if they are unfinished. Maybe one day, a newer definitive edition of this album will emerge with everything, demos and all.  Yes, I'd buy it all over again.

This set is capped off by the solid slip-case used to protect your significant investment in one the great albums of Rock history.

You can proceed with confidence in procuring your own copy of this magnificent album in it's new definitive state.









Copyright 2002-2009 Matthew Rowe.
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212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon
"Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S Thompson
"...you best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in...: -- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut
"Because they wouldn't let me go for three..." -- Woody Hayes (OSU)
"Show me peaceful days before my youth has gone" -- Neil Diamond (Serenade)