There is a legendary bootleg in U2 circles called “Rock’s Hottest Ticket.” It was recorded at Rosemont Horizon in Chicago on April 29, 1987. The bootleg’s name derives from the cover of Time magazine that U2 made just a few days before this show.
I have been chasing this particular bootleg for about 5 years and last Friday, thanks to Ebay, I got it. And, it was worth the wait.
This bootleg captures U2 at their classic U2 peak. This is before Rattle and Hum so the entire show is made up of songs from Joshua Tree, The Unforgettable Fire, War, October (including a quick run through “Exodus”), and Boy (“I Will Follow”).
The highlight of the show, at least for me, is the 11:24 version of “Bad.” This includes the opening of the song where Bono explains why they wrote it and what it’s about. The other highlight is a cover of “Spring Hill Mining Disaster” by Peggy Seger. You don’t often get to hear Bono sing a folk song, and on this one he sings it in an Irish folk style. And, during “With or Without You” Bono closes with the “Shine like stars in the summer night/Shine like stars in the winter night/one heart/one hope/one love.” This is in the movie version of Rattle and Hum, but as far as I know has never been released officially on disc.
The U2 I got to see live is different from the U2 on this disc. This is the young U2, still serious and bleeding all over the stage. There is an immediacy and urgency to this show that I haven’t heard on later tour bootlegs (or seeing them live). This show was early enough in the JT Tour that even though U2 had the number one album in America the band still felt like they needed to prove something.
This bootleg is a must have for any serious U2 fan.
Audio Grade: A-Powered by Sidelines