For a lot of us, the go-to New Year’s song is, somewhat unimaginatively, U2’s “New Year’s Day.” Yet while I’ve always associated U2 with New Year’s, it’s for a very different reason: my nearly worn-out bootleg of the band’s Dec. 31, 1989, concert at the Point Depot in Dublin, which was broadcast live across Eastern Europe as the Iron Curtain slowly collapsed.
I’ve listened to that tape, recorded off the radio when San Diego’s 91X broadcast it some months later, more than any other bootleg I’ve owned. The only reason I haven’t worn it out completely is that the concert was released on iTunes some years ago as part of the massive The Complete U2 digital box set. And while I know that concert inside and out sonically, until this afternoon, I’d never actually seen it. I stumbled across some footage on YouTube, and it’s just amazing to finally see the images that go with the sounds that, for 20 years now, have been so thoroughly ingrained in my memory.
Posted above is the opening song of the concert, “Where the Streets Have No Name,” which was performed just after midnight. It’s arguably one of the greatest live versions of one of U2’s greatest songs, and it’s only that much more thrilling to see the performance, with the house lights on, the balloons and confetti falling on an ecstatic crowd. As Bono preaches to the audience: “Here she comes… the future. Happy Christmas and happy New Year to you all. It’s 1990. Forget about the past, we’re going to celebrate the future… where the streets have no name.”
Here’s to a great 2010. Thanks for reading, and happy New Year from Slicing Up Eyeballs.
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