Looks like Universal’s Nevermind box set isn’t the only such package coming from the label this year. Rolling Stone‘s newest issue reports some progress on the long-expected 20th anniversary edition of U2’s Achtung Baby – and it looks like there’s going to be a few surprises in store.
The article – which
isn’t is now available online but was duly reported by @U2 and Slicing Up Eyeballs – indicates that both Achtung Baby (1991) and its follow-up, 1993’s Zooropa will be remastered and incorporated into some sort of box set, likely to be paired with other audio and video artifacts of the Zoo TV era. While the writing was on the wall for Achtung Baby – the band had been reported to have been remastering the album last year, and last month was spotted shooting documentary footage as their 360 Tour went through Canada – including Zooropa is a surprise.
Also surprising is what some have perceived to be some cynical commentary from the band’s longtime manager Paul McGuinness. “There will be multiple formats,” McGuinness said of the project. “If you pile a lot of extra material and packaging and design work into a super-duper box set, there are people who will pay quite a lot for it, so you can budget it at a very high level and pump up the value.”
Ouch. Considering U2 have done some of the best reissues of the past few years, it’s kind of harsh for McGuinness to sound as opportunistic as he does. Maybe the skepticism is coming from the concern that an Achtung Baby reissue may finally be the U2 expansion to not live up to the hype (anyone who has the Salomé bootleg – three discs’ of Achtung outtakes – might empathize). Maybe it’s the misguided bitterness from this one author that Rattle and Hum is getting left in the lurch as reissues go.
Of course, there’s not even a firm release date for the project yet (RS vaguely cites a fall release), so perhaps judgment should be reserved for firmer details. And of course, when those details arrive, you’ll find them here!