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Even Better Than the Real Thing? U2 Uber-Box Details Unveiled (UPDATED WITH TRACK LISTS)

with 31 comments

Well. U2 have finally unveiled the preliminary details for the Achtung Baby box set, and it’s particularly insane.

Of the five formats available for this set, most of them could be predicted. You have your single-disc remaster, a two-disc edition featuring B-sides and remixes and a quadruple-vinyl set featuring Achtung Baby and its remixes and B-sides. Fine enough.

Then we have the big box set. Well, two versions of the big box set. At the heart of each is 10 discs – six CDs and four DVDs – that include Achtung Baby, its 1993 follow-up Zooropa, B-sides, remixes and outtakes from each record and what appears to be some sort of an alternate version of Achtung Baby on the sixth CD, plus music videos, a new documentary on Achtung (From the Sky Down), the Zoo TV concert from Sydney and more. That 10-disc set is available in two versions: one in a box with a 84-page hardback book and 16 art prints, and one that includes all that plus stickers, badges, a copy of the band’s official magazine, Propaganda, the Achtung Baby album and selected singles on vinyl and – the piece du insane resistance – a pair of Bono’s trademark “The Fly” sunglasses. All of that comes in a “magnetic, puzzle-tiled box” and can be yours for the spine-shattering price of $447 and change (per Universal’s U.K. page).

I can’t wait to read everyone’s two cents on this one. (UPDATE 10/4: Full track listing for all formats is now in place.)

Achtung Baby: Uber Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMC (U.K.)/Island/UMe (U.S.) B0016045-00, 2011)

Disc 1: Achtung Baby (originally released as Island LP U28 (U.K.)/314 510 347-2 (U.S.), 1991)

  1. Zoo Station
  2. Even Better Than the Real Thing
  3. One
  4. Until the End of the World
  5. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
  6. So Cruel
  7. The Fly
  8. Mysterious Ways
  9. Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World
  10. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
  11. Acrobat
  12. Love is Blindness

Disc 2: Zooropa (originally released as Island LP U29 (U.K.)/314 518 047-1 (U.S.), 1993)

  1. Zooropa
  2. Babyface
  3. Numb
  4. Lemon
  5. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
  6. Daddy’s Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car
  7. Some Days Are Better Than Others
  8. The First Time
  9. Dirty Day
  10. The Wanderer

Disc 3: Uber Remixes

  1. Night and Day (Steel String Remix)
  2. Even Better Than the Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix)
  3. Mysterious Ways (Solar Plexus Extended Club Mix)
  4. Lemon (The Perfecto Mix)
  5. Can’t Help Falling in Love (Triple Peaks Remix)
  6. Lady with the Spinning Head (Extended Dance Remix)
  7. Even Better Than the Real Thing (V16 Exit Wound Remix)
  8. Mysterious Ways (Ultimatum Mix)
  9. The Lounge Fly
  10. Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix)
  11. One (Apollo 440 Mix)

Disc 4: Unter Remixes

  1. Mysterious Ways (Tabla Motown Remix)
  2. Mysterious Ways (Appollo 440 Magic Hour Remix)
  3. Can’t Help Falling in Love (Mystery Train Dub)
  4. One (Apollo 440 Ambient Mix)
  5. Lemon (Momo’s Reprise)
  6. Salomé (Zooromancer Remix)
  7. Even Better Than the Real Thing (Trance Mix)
  8. Numb (Gimme Some More Dignity Mix)
  9. Mysterious Ways (Solar Plexus Magic Hour Remix)
  10. Numb (The Soul Assassins Mix)
  11. Even Better Than the Real Thing (Apollo 440 Stealth Sonic Remix)

Disc 5: B-Sides and Bonus Tracks

  1. Lady with the Spinning Head (UV1)
  2. Blow Your House Down
  3. Salomé
  4. Even Better Than the Real Thing (Single Version)
  5. Satelite of Love
  6. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (Temple Bar Remix)
  7. Heaven and Hell (In Truth Mix)
  8. Oh Berlin
  9. Near the Island (Instrumental)
  10. Down All the Days (Version 1)
  11. Paint it Black
  12. Fortunate Son
  13. Alex Descends Into Hell for a Bottle of Milk/Korova 1
  14. Where Did It All Go Wrong? (Demo from STS-Dublin, July 1990)
  15. Everybody Loves a Winner
  16. Even Better Than the Real Thing (Fish Out of Water Mix)

Disc 6: Kindergarten: The Alternative Achtung Baby (track list identical to original LP)

LPs 1 and 2: Achtung Baby

5 x 7″ vinyl singles

  1. The Fly
  2. Mysterious Ways
  3. Even Better than the Real Thing
  4. One
  5. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses

DVD 1: From the Sky Down: A Documentary

DVD 2: The Videos

  1. The Fly
  2. Mysterious Ways
  3. One
  4. Even Better Than the Real Thing
  5. One (Buffalo Version)
  6. One (Restaurant Version)
  7. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
  8. The Fly (Performance Only)
  9. Even Better Than the Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix)
  10. The Fly (Text Only)
  11. Until the End of the World (Live)
  12. The Fly (Live from the Stop Sellafield Concert)
  13. Even Better Than the Real Thing (Live from the Stop Sellafield Concert)
  14. Love is Blindness
  15. Lemon
  16. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
  17. Numb
  18. Numb (Video Remix)

DVD 3: Bonus Material

  1. ZOO TV Special: A Documentary
  2. Shorts
    · MTV’s “Most Wanted – ZOO TV Special”
    · MTV Rockumentary
    · U2 on Naked City, 1993
    · U2 on TV-AM, 1992
    · Trabantland documentary
  3. ROM CONTENT: Screensavers, Desktop Wallpapers, Weblinks

DVD 4: ZOO TV: Live from Sydney – The Concert

  1. Show Opening
  2. Zoo Station
  3. The Fly
  4. Even Better Than the Real Thing
  5. Mysterious Ways
  6. One
  7. Unchained Melody
  8. Until the End of the World
  9. New Year’s Day
  10. Numb
  11. Angel of Harlem
  12. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
  13. Satellite of Love
  14. Dirty Day
  15. Bullet the Blue Sky
  16. Running to Stand Still
  17. Where the Streets Have No Name
  18. Pride (in the Name of Love)
  19. Daddy’s Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car
  20. Lemon
  21. With or Without You
  22. Love is Blindness
  23. Can’t Help Falling in Love

Disc 3, Track 1 and Disc 4, Tracks 1 and 5 released on Island CD single CID IS 515 (U.K.)/422 866 533-2 (U.S.), 1992

Disc 3, Tracks 2 and 7 and Disc 4, Tracks 7 and 11 released on Island CD single C REAL 2 (U.K.)/422 864 281-2 (U.S.), 1992

Disc 3, Track 3 and Disc 4, Tracks 1-2 released on Island 12″ single 12 IS 509 (U.K.)/422 866 189-1 (U.S.), 1991

Disc 3, Track 4 and Disc 4, Track 5 released on Island 12″ single 422-862 957-1 (U.S.), 1993

Disc 3, Track 5 and Disc 4, Track 6 released on Island CD single CIDX 550 (U.K.), 1992

Disc 3, Track 6 and Disc 5, Tracks 3-4 and 13 released on Island 12″ single 12 IS 525 (U.K.)/422 866 977-1 (U.S.), 1992

Disc 3, Tracks 8 and 10 released on Island promotional CD single U2-FREE (AUS), 1991

Disc 3, Track 9 and Disc 5, Track 13 released on Island 12″ single 12 IS 500 (U.K.)/ 422 868 885-1 (U.S.), 1991

Disc 4, Track 3 released on Island 12″ promotional single 12 IS 550 DJ (U.K.), 1992

Disc 4, Track 7 released on Island 12″ single REAL U2 (U.K.), 1992

Disc 4, Tracks 8 and 10 released on Melon: Remixes for Propaganda (Island MELONCD 1 (U.K.), 1995)

Disc 5, Tracks 6, 11 and 12 released on Island CD single CID 550 (U.K.)/422 864 521-2 (U.S.), 1992

All other tracks previously unreleased.

Also available as single disc remaster (Island/UMe B0016042-02), double-disc deluxe edition (contains Discs 1 & 5 – Island/UMe B0016043-02), super-deluxe edition (contains all CDs and DVDs without vinyl or additional extras – Island/UMe B0016044-00) or vinyl box set (Island/UMe B016046-01).

Vinyl box set contains original album on two LPs plus two additional LPs of remixes:

LP 3

  1. Even Better Than the Real Thing (The Perfecto Remix)
  2. Night and Day (Twilight Mix)
  3. Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix)
  4. Even Better Than the Real Thing (Fish Out of Water Remix)

LP 4

  1. Salomé (Zooromancer Remix)
  2. Mysterious Ways (Solar Plexus Club Mix)
  3. Lemon (The Perfecto Mix)

LP 3, Track 2 from Island 12″ promotional single RHB-1 (U.K.), 1990. All other sources indicated above.

Written by Mike Duquette

October 4, 2011 at 17:13

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues, U2

31 Responses

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  1. Sure, like most fans could afford this?!? LOL!

    But I wouldn’t mind entering a contest and possibly
    WIN a copy!!

    Bill Janowski

    August 4, 2011 at 20:27

  2. 2 discs full of remixes. Gag. I’ll get what I need off usenet. $447??? Wow. Compare that to the Immersion discs for Pink Floyd. Yep, there’s more discs/dvds on U2 but an extra $320 worth? No.
    4 discs of Jimi Hendrix at Winterland for $40 compared to this for $447. Just seems crazy. I love Achtung Baby and I want the alternate versions but not for that.


    August 4, 2011 at 20:58

    • I’ll wait until I see it second hand. Or, even better yet, it won’t sell at that crazy price and it’ll get heavily discounted 😉

      The Thorn

      October 5, 2011 at 10:01

  3. Achtung Baby’s a great, great album… I’d argue it’s the last great album they ever did (certainly the last one I ever bought), but I’ve no reason to buy anything other than *maybe* the two-disc set. Even then, I have a couple of the b-sides (the “Paint It Black” and “Fortunate Son” covers) already, so I’d want to hear more of those tracks before deciding to buy even that much.


    August 4, 2011 at 21:16

    • If you like the Achtung era of U2, I’d definitely recommend the B-Sides disc. Some great stuff on there, and if all you’ve currently got is Paint it Black and Fortunate Son, imho those are the weakest b-sides from that period anyway, so it’ll only get better! (Even tracks like Heaven & Hell and Blow Your House are quite good in bootleg demo form, but I’ve no idea how these “finished” versions will sound, so “grain of salt” and whatnot.)


      August 5, 2011 at 10:54

      • Fair enough, JG… Perhaps the two-disc set will be worth my while then. I’ll have to check those additional tracks out!


        August 5, 2011 at 18:10

  4. Wow can we say overkill? Basically if you want the cool stuff youre forced to buy the vinyl too. Not just the album but the singles. The fact Zooropa is being treated as an afterthought is kinda sad. I wanna see it get the royal treatment. I lost count in there but vinyl not thrown in that comes to $45 a disc. So even if the cds were valued $15 a piece and the dvds at $20 bonus material not included as it wouldnt be separate. Thats $75 in cds and $60 in dvds. Thats over $300 for the vinyl and the packaging. At least the floyd boxes offer a lot more unreleased material and far less expensive. Think i will have to pass. Hopefully the cheaper version has the bsides like the past releases.


    August 4, 2011 at 21:30

  5. For that price, they should at least throw in a turntable for the vinyl. Surprised that there is no blur-ray version.


    August 4, 2011 at 22:06

  6. Besides, I already have the original LP and CD versions
    of both Achtung Baby and Zooropa, so that’s 4 unnecessary
    discs right from the start in this package, if (I’m assuming)
    they’re the exact same versions.

    Bill Janowski

    August 4, 2011 at 22:11

  7. I guess I’ll hope itunes offer the 6 discs, but they probably won’t. Two disc I have to settle on. Though I wouldn’t mind getting a group together to purchase it.


    August 4, 2011 at 22:20

  8. Achtung Baby and Zooropa were released late enough that they don’t need remastering. I would be happy to buy a 3-CD set of those albums plus a “bonus” disc of songs (read: real songs, not endless remixes). But it doesn’t look like that will happen. The “fans” will get to shell out $500 for some of the things they want, or $30 for things they have already.


    August 5, 2011 at 01:59

  9. Disc 3& 4 are pretty useless – only interested in disc 5 & 6 (if it is an alternate Achtung) – Who on earth has this sort of cash laying around for this – is Bono down to his last 30 mill or something – get a grip – what a way to alienate the fans.


    August 5, 2011 at 03:07

  10. Like many here, I could live without those remixes, cds 5+6 sound promising – worst thing is again including Zoo-TV from Sydney as dvd -> vhs, dvd, cd for fanclub… how many times do we need that rehash again?
    At least the cd/dvd seems to be identical in both box sets, meaning, no new sunglasses for me, especially not at that ridiculous price…


    August 5, 2011 at 10:31

  11. The Good: At least they’ve got the Super Deluxe edition, so I can get all the audio/video material without also paying for stuff I couldn’t care less about like stickers and eyewear. (I’m actually quite surprised they didn’t go this route, after what was done with Dylan’s Tell Tale Signs and Petty’s Live Anthology, where you get an extra disc of material…if you’re willing to shell out another hundred bucks or so for the dust-collecting swag that comes with it.) I’m hoping the SD will retail in the $100 range, which if you ask me would be pretty reasonable for a 10-disc set.

    The Bad: Other than a few remixes of Numb and Lemon, absolutely no Zooropa bonus material? 😦
    Maybe they’ll do a Deluxe Edition of it in a year or two, so we can all buy the album again.
    (It just seems weird to treat it like a bonus item when all their other albums so far (excepting R&H) have gotten individual treatment.)

    Anyway, I know lots of people aren’t into remixes, but I’m impressed at the exhaustiveness of the release & the various uh, “investment” options. 😀


    August 5, 2011 at 10:36

  12. Based on some of the negative comments in this thread, I just wanna clarify: does everybody realize that you DON’T have to buy the $447 Crazy Insane version if all you want is the 6CDs/4DVDs?

    There’s the Uber Deluxe, which is pictured above for $447, then there’s the Super Deluxe, which just includes the 10 discs and the hardcover book. The price for that one hasn’t been announced yet, as far as I know, but I doubt it’s more than $100-150 max. (fingers crossed)


    August 5, 2011 at 10:42

  13. My musical instincts always told me, from the very early ’80s beginnings, that U2
    were a pompous, bombastic, enormously overrated and vastly inconsistent band; and everything they’d done ever since seemed intentionally made to prove me right.
    But with this one, they’re REALLY outdoing themselves bombastic-wise.


    August 5, 2011 at 11:10

  14. As mentioned a few times above, I’m not too excited about all of the remixes. I love Achtung Baby and Zooropa. I would love disc 6 – a demo for each of the Achtung tracks. So, the 2-disc set is the remastered, original album and a disc of b-sides, etc. What I want to know what happens to Zooropa then – will that be getting it’s own 2-disc set?


    August 5, 2011 at 13:18

  15. I’ve got a 4LP bootleg set released prior to the release of the LP that was from the early sessions for the album. I’m guessing “Blow Your House” is from that. For me, the stuff from those early sessions was significantly superior to what made the final LP. I loved them in the 80’s, but this was where U2 lost me. It’s too bad that with 6 CDs, they couldn’t have worked in more material from those early sessions.


    August 5, 2011 at 18:10

  16. In the beginning, U2 simply meant “You, Too”. I don’t see how these reissues all fit’s into the band’s original ethos. The music is what matters, not remixes, not swag, not marketing.

    I hope Adam, Larry, Dave and Paul can recover that spirit.


    August 5, 2011 at 18:53

  17. HOW MUCH IS IT!?

    Amanda Taylor

    August 6, 2011 at 14:04

  18. It does seem stupidly expensive. However, fans will buy it, if they can afford it. Will probably increase in value. However, edge said recently that they filmed everything in those days, so why is there not an alternative dvd ? Surely the die hards who buy this already have the sydney dvd. For that money i’d want an alternative concert dvd from that era.


    August 6, 2011 at 15:53

  19. I wanted the unreleased Orb remix of Numb soooooooooooo bad…


    August 6, 2011 at 21:31

  20. I really wish there was more Zooropa stuff. Even without “previously unreleased” material, there’s a ton of stuff that should have been included:
    *”Stay” B-sides: two live tracks, plus “Slow Dancing” and even the Bono/Frank Sinatra track that was a double A-side with “Stay”
    *Alternate versions of “Wanderer,” “Stay,” and “Until the End of the World” from Wim Wenders movies
    *The legendary but possibly non-existent version of “Wanderer” with Bono on vocals
    *”Stay (Underdog Mix)” from the Melon album
    *Other rare remixes, such as the aforementioned Orb remix of “Numb”
    *The Zooropa album cover shows that demos of “Wake Up Dead Man,” “Staring at the Sun” and “Hold Me Thrill Me etc.” existed during the Zooropa sessions…


    August 8, 2011 at 10:13

  21. I would have loved to get the Perfecto mix of Daddy’s gonna Pay. Orb mix of Numb would have been great too.


    August 8, 2011 at 16:06

    • There’s a Perfecto Mix of Daddy out there? Holy crap…how many did he DO? 🙂


      August 9, 2011 at 09:22

  22. No interest in buying DVD’s (Blu-Ray’s only, please) or having Zooropa which leaves five CD’s that I actually want to purchase, looks like I have buy the 2CD set and obtain the other three through “other” means, sorry Bono 😦

    Maballes Aiken

    August 10, 2011 at 02:19

  23. “Down All the Days” evolved into “Numb”
    “Blow Your House” evolved into “All Because of You”
    “Heaven and Hell” evolved into “North & South of the River”
    “Lady with the Spinning Head (UV1)” evolved into “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” and “The Fly”
    [UV1= Ultraviolet 1]

    I wanted in DVD: Love is Blindness (video), Numb (Video Remix), Lemon (Dance Video Remix)


    August 14, 2011 at 13:00

  24. DVD 2:Videos
    1 The Fly
    2 Mysterious Ways
    3 One (Trabant version)
    4 Even Better Than The Real Thing
    5 One (Buffalo Version) – Previously Unreleased
    6 One (Restaurant Version)
    7 Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
    8 The Fly (Performance Only) Previously Unreleased/Unseen
    9 Even Better Than The Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix) Previously Unreleased
    10 The Fly (Text Only) Previously Unreleased
    11 Until The End Of The World (Live)
    12 The Fly (Live From The Stop Sellafield Concert)*
    13 Even Better Than The Real Thing (Live From The Stop Sellafield Concert)*
    14 Love Is Blindness (Previously Unreleased On Dvd -Only Ever Available On Numb Vhs)
    15 Lemon
    16 Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
    17 Numb
    18 Numb (Video Remix)(Previously Unreleased On Dvd -Only Ever Available On Numb Vhs)

    DVD 3:Bonus Material
    1 Zoo Tv Special – A Documentary Previously Unreleased
    2 Shorts – Mtv’s “Most Wanted – Zootv Special”* Previously Unreleased
    3 Shorts – Mtv Rockumentary* Previously Unreleased
    4 Shorts – U2 On Naked City, 1993 Previously Unreleased
    5 Shorts – U2 On Tv-Am, 1992 previously Unreleased
    6 Shorts – Trabantland Documentary
    7 Rom Content: Screensavers, Desktop Wallpapers, Weblinks


    September 25, 2011 at 18:10

  25. Bonoman

    September 29, 2011 at 20:21

  26. Curious to hear thoughts on the additional content now that it’s been released. Anyone? 🙂


    November 1, 2011 at 16:41

    • Hey Bret,

      You should see a review of the basic deluxe edition from us pretty soon. It’s really a shame that one would have to buy such a big box to get all the bonus content, rather than a remix compilation or the remastered Zooropa. But such is the nature of the beast!

      Mike Duquette

      November 1, 2011 at 16:53

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