Reissues — August 21, 2009 at 10:29 am

U2’s Bono and The Edge play ‘Unforgettable Fire’ outtake ‘Disappearing Act’ on BBC

U2's The Edge and Bono

While U2 still hasn’t unveiled the tracklist for its forthcoming deluxe reissue of The Unforgettable Fire, Bono and The Edge did discuss the project publicly for the first time — and preview one of the set’s unreleased tracks — during a visit to BBC Radio 1 this week.

Until this week, the band had only announced the reissue of its 1984 album via plastic shopping bags handed out at its European concerts; although U2’s Web site now reports the 25th anniversary edition of The Unforgettable Fire will be out “later this year,” shows an Oct. 27 release date.

Like 2007’s reissue of The Joshua Tree, the Unforgettable Fire reissue will come  in “super deluxe, deluxe, CD, vinyl and download” formats; presumably the Unforgettable Fire super-deluxe set, like the similar Joshua Tree package, will feature a second CD of B-sides and unreleased tunes, as well as a DVD.

To that end, Bono and The Edge told BBC’s Edith Bowman they recently have been sorting through demos and unreleased recordings from the Unforgettable Fire sessions with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. The two specifically mentioned a song called “Disappearing Act,” which Bono described as “incredibly special.” The band recently touched up the song in the studio, adding fresh vocals:  “It’s 25 years ago, the drums, the bass and the guitar. And now, the voices. It is a strange, weird thing,” Bono said. The Edge brought a copy, which partially was played on the air. (Hear clip after the jump.)

“Well, it was originally called ‘White City’, and it was a track we started with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois back in 1983 when we were recording The Unforgettable Fire. And we discovered it about six months ago, and we dug it out and did some work on it in France a few weeks ago, and it’s now finished.”

Fan site @U2 has posted an interview with Lanois conducted by U2’s now-defunct fan club magazine Propaganda during the Achtung Baby sessions in 1991. The producer talks about “White City” in the context of the difficulties the band experienced recording The Unforgettable Fire.

“Some of it was stressful, we put too much time into making things that didn’t make the record, which is a lesson that artists have to learn.” Lanois said. “There was one called ‘White City,’ which I think is still on the shelf, every now and again rumour gets around that they’re going to take it down from the shelf and work on it again. We spent a lot of time on other tracks that didn’t make the album too, the titles of which I’ve forgotten.”

Bono and The Edge also discussed their role in the upcoming “Spider-Man” musical, plans to finish off the already-in-the-works follow-up to No Line on the Horizon and, perhaps most intriguingly, their collaboration with astronauts on the International Space Station to perform Passengers rarity “Your Blue Room” on the North American leg of their current tour.

Listen to the whole interview here.

Hear a clip of U2’s “Disappearing Act” after the jump…

Audio: U2, “Disappearing Act,” on BBC Radio 1


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