The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Weekend Straw Poll: One Box

with 10 comments

It almost goes without saying, but that U2 box has been a real hot topic among friends at The Second Disc.

This author has long held the belief that UMe’s U2 reissues, starting with the 20th anniversary package for The Joshua Tree in 2007 have been among the best expanded sets released by a major label. The packaging is detailed, the mastering is pretty good (details uncovered on audiophile CD versions of the early albums are replicated on the reissues) and the bonus content is a potent mix of non-LP material and discoveries from the vault. (Like it or not, that’s probably the best sort of configuration to appease both moderate collectors, new fans and die-hards.)

Achtung takes the cake over all of them, though. While the other reissues had deluxe components, often paired with DVDs in big-enough boxes, this set takes things to a new level with 10 discs – six CDs and four DVDs – of material. Whatever your take on the bonus material, it’s hard not to have an opinion on this set. (My main gripes? It’s certainly unfortunate that Zooropa was shoehorned into the box – I don’t see it as essential to the story of the album before it. Plus, did the other earlier albums – which make up my favorite of the band’s material – deserve this kind of royal treatment?)

Opinions aside, it’s what we express with our wallets that count the most. That leads us to this weekend’s poll: which set are you likely going to pick up this fall?

Written by Mike Duquette

August 5, 2011 at 15:12

10 Responses

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  1. I love this whole period in their career: Achtung, Zooropa AND Passengers. But would I plop down 400$ plus tax for a mega set? No. Despite being a collector.

    It’s just too much cash. I was glad to buy Bowie’s ‘Station to Station’ (if only for the DVD!), but this is absurd. Maybe I’ll get it second-hand. IF I find it someday.

    The Thorn

    August 5, 2011 at 15:36

    • I agree with you. That time period was very exciting. I love Achtung and Zooropa – both really amazing albums. It’s sad to see Zooropa only available in the expensive versions.

      I was unaware of the DVD in the Bowie Station set. Was it concert footage or just 5.1 audio?

      Regardless of the debate on the price, I think it’s cool that there are all of these options. I absolutely LOVE the Unforgettable Fire & Joshua Tree box sets.

      Looking forward to seeing complete track listings so that I can narrow down my choice!

      Life On This Planet Blog

      August 5, 2011 at 19:40

      • If you love that period, check out the ‘Passengers’ album ( It was such a nice surprise when I stumbled on it some dozen years ago; it got a LOT of spins 🙂

        As for ‘Station to Station’, it is a DVD-Audio. It features a few different mixes on it, including the original mix in hi-res stereo but also a remix by Harry Maslin in 5.1 (

        Everyone I’ve shown this boxed set to, most of whom are NOT fans of Bowie, have been really impressed with it. It’s quite the package for fans of the album. And it’s (relatively) affordable.

        The Thorn

        August 6, 2011 at 08:06

    • I definitely have The Passengers. Got that baby the day it came out. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder though, I need to give it a spin this weekend. If I remember correctly, they were playing ‘Your Blue Room’ on their last tour.

      I ended up getting the 3 disc set of Station To Station back when it came out… I already have the Ryko version and the vinyl version… so I was having a hard time justifying the extra quid for the one you have – although that would assuredly be rad to have! 🙂

      Thanks for those links! That Maslin remix sounds interesting. Hmmmm. I’ll have to keep my out for a used set (if one ever pops up around here).

      Hey, have you read Bowie In Berlin?

      – Bret


      August 6, 2011 at 18:22

      • No, I hadn’t even HEARD of the book. Thanks for the tip – I will seek it out 🙂

        As for the ‘Station To Station’ set, it may be hard to find second-hand (and in great condition at that!), but I’ve seen some people split up the pieces and sell them on eBay. Maybe you could just get the DVD. It’s well worth it!

        Cheers! 🙂

        The Thorn

        August 8, 2011 at 08:13

  2. I’d love to get the 6 CD/DVD deluxe box, but I’m waiting to see the tracklist (and, perhaps more importantly, the price.)

    Charlie Sheen

    August 5, 2011 at 17:37

  3. The only way to get the “Baby Versions” disc is to pick up one of the deluxe versions. That’s the disc that interests me the most but it’s going to depend on the price. The two discs of remixes are useless to me – I’ve got a bunch of U2 singles from that era packed with remixes that I haven’t listened to in 20 years because they are too long, frustrating, and/or pointless.

    I hate to say it but as a music fan the money might be better spent on a “Salome” bootleg and then hope the “Baby Versions” hit Youtube.


    August 5, 2011 at 23:16

  4. I did find this period the most interesting by far for U2, despite the scorched earth policy regarding ubiquitous remixes of the singles, closely followed by remixes of anything else that wasn’t tied down in the studio.
    Take the remixes out of everything and you’d be left with maybe 3 discs of something essential.

    Also there has to be something else about Zooropa they could have tacked on. It’s not the longest album in the world is it?

    Salome is still out there folks. Good and bad that it is. And it’s free as well.

    Also i read somewhere about reworkings of Achtung Baby tracks. Is that the remixes or have U2 tampered like they did with POP?

    Anyone know if Lanois or Eno have been involved in the remaster and analysis of the tracks? So many questions, so little money.

    For price and content value, send your tweets to Mr P McGuinness, formerly of Dublin, Ireland. His off linked to comments regarding ramping up boxset prices are very unfortunate.

    And for what it’s worth. I have been staring at a picture of the Smiths Complete Boxset since it was announced. Still not buying it tho.

    gary c

    gary clarke

    August 6, 2011 at 17:54

  5. By the way everyone, it looks like the vinyl box is on Amazon for $184 right now. I imagine it will come down as the release date gets closer – that seems to usually happen over there.


    August 6, 2011 at 18:25

  6. I would love the vinyl set but how can you not include the 7″ singles in it? Plus, how do you justify charging $170.41 for four records?! Unless that set goes down $120, I am not buying it.


    August 9, 2011 at 14:58

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