Thirty years ago tonight, U2 braved a cold Colorado rainstorm to perform at the fabled Red Rocks Amphitheatre just west of Denver, a concert on the band’s War tour that was filmed and released on video as “Under a Blood Red Sky,” cementing Bono and Co.’s reputation as live act and, arguably, marking the moment they truly entered the rock mainstream.
Although the band had come up in the U.S. with the support of college radio, Red Rocks was U2’s coming out party to a wider American audience — and while the band would remain a staple of alternative radio throughout the ’80s and ’90s, the site of Bono waving that white flag on MTV changed everything.
The film originally was released on VHS in 1984 — the companion Under a Blood Red Sky live album actually only features two songs form Red Rocks — and finally came to DVD in 2008. Below, you watch the band’s performance of “I Will Follow” pulled from that recent DVD release.
U2, “I Will Follow” at Red Rocks
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Milestones: U2’s ‘Joshua Tree’ is 25 today; watch full 1987 ‘Save the Yuppies’ concert
- Milestones: U2’s ZOO TV Tour opened 20 years ago tonight — see news footage
- Stream: Full U2 ‘Achtung Baby’ tribute album ‘AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered’ from Q
- Video: U2 ‘From the Sky Down’ trailer — documentary about ‘Achtung Baby’
- U2′s ‘Achtung Baby’ box set: 6 CDs, 4 DVDs, 2 LPs, 5 7-inches — and Bono’s fly shades
Every June 5 I think of this — my first concert ever. (There’s a good shot of my sister, my friends, and me for a couple of seconds during the crowd chanting “hey! hey! hey!” before Edge’s guitar break in “Gloria.”) It was probably the greatest introduction to live music a 14-year-old could have possibly had.
Great show indeed, wasn’t there but have watched and listened to this one for years. Red Rocks has to be one of most beautiful concert venues in the country, would love to see a show there sometime.
IF ONLY, time could’ve stopped for the band here. So brilliant. So long ago.