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Old 03-03-2009, 10:00 AM   #1
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Question for "older" u2 Fans

Im too young to remember but when the Joshua Tree came out in '87, was Where the Streets have no name one of the stand outs on that album or did it become what it is due to the live performances?

I remember reading something from a fan that it didnt become a "classic" until maybe Lovetown or zoo Tv due to the live performances. Im interested because Its one of my favorites but I dont know how I would have felt opening it up the day it came out and listening to it without ever hearing it live. So, what do you older mature fans think
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:17 AM   #2
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That's a great question. I was just talking about this with a friend.

I've been a fan since '82 and I really wanted the Joshua Tree to be their breakthrough album, but on the first few listens I was a little underwhelmed. It grew on me over time, but Streets never really did. It's such a shapeless song that didn't really find its feet until it was played live, and even then, IMO, didn't really become the epic show stopper until the Elevation tour. Think about it this way, they used to open the Joshua Tree tour with Streets. That just sounds crazy now.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:25 AM   #3
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It would BLOW ME AWAY if they opened up a show with Streets now. But that’s pretty cool that you were underwhelmed by JT when you first heard it. It puts things in perspective when Im listening to NLOTH. I didn’t really hear JT until the early 90's and by then it was THE Joshua tree if you know what I mean, so I liked most of it.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:29 AM   #4
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I remember listening to WOWY on the radio and then watching the video on MTV and thinking huh, can't wait to get the album. My first memory of Streets was buying the cassette and listening to it in the car and I do remember that I just kept rewinding and playing it over and over again and thinking, this is great, it's the first track I don't have to guess where to stop my rewinding.

It was crazy as a show opener. I remember the JT show at the Orange Bowl in Miami and Streets opening, it blew me away. Although that was also a time when you could openly smoke pot at concerts and there was a definate cloud of smoke over the stadium, that could have had something to do with euphoria of a Streets opening.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by CosmoKramer View Post
I remember reading something from a fan that it didnt become a "classic" until maybe Lovetown or zoo Tv due to the live performances. :

I definitely think that this is true, Streets just was not considered to be this transcendant concert experience throughout the eighties. Bad was the band's big showstealer back in those days. Streets took a while to flourish, it was popular on ZOO TV but I think Elevation is where it became the centrepiece of the band's live shows.

When JT was released I think it was WOWY and I Still Haven't Found that were the albums 2 stand-out songs.

BTW I'm not sure I'm really an 'older' fan, I first came on board in 97 at the height of Popmart, ah fond memories.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:19 AM   #6
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Im too young to remember but when the Joshua Tree came out in '87, was Where the Streets have no name one of the stand outs on that album or did it become what it is due to the live performances?

I remember reading something from a fan that it didnt become a "classic" until maybe Lovetown or zoo Tv due to the live performances. Im interested because Its one of my favorites but I dont know how I would have felt opening it up the day it came out and listening to it without ever hearing it live. So, what do you older mature fans think
Honestly, "Streets" was not the stand out back then. At least not for me. It was the album intro, it was long end epic, and it was a not that successful single despite the great video idea ... "Bad" was the holy grail of live tunes, and "Streets" simply did grow ...
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:25 AM   #7
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Although that was also a time when you could openly smoke pot at concerts and there was a definate cloud of smoke over the stadium, that could have had something to do with euphoria of a Streets opening.


I've often wondered if that is the real reason so many people follow DMB shows around the country
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:45 AM   #8
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Intresting wee footnote here...Bono was telling me the other day that the lyric for Streets was only intended as a first draft...but lanois and eno thought they were swell the way they were...so just went with them.

In answer to the original question...i would say the song grew due to its live performance
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:47 AM   #9
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wowy was a huge song it was the anthem for that sping, summer and fall. and ISHFWILF was next. Streets alot of fans has resistance to, U2 was getting very big at the time and it sounded too deliberately like area rock.

The standout track to me to this day is still One Tree Hill, and Mothers of the disapeared second, In God's Country third. But I've always though of that CD as a huge identity crisis, u2 being too American. But it worked for them.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:51 AM   #10
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Streets

I bought JT on vinyl the day it was released, ran back to my college room, tore the cellophane off (God, that was one of my favorite things in life), and put the needle down on what was, at the time, just a new U2 record.. though the buzz was already starting. I still remember the otherwordly, church-organ feeling of that Eno-esque drone that opens the album.

At the time, I had been getting into ambient soundscapes, Eno and Fripp and Lanois, among others. I had also been spending a lot of time in the Southwest part of the U.S. (I'm from Arizona), so the album instantly made sense to me. Streets SOUNDED like the desert. Like driving a car across an empty landscape - full speed with the windows down on a hot day.

So, while I connected with the song intially, it wasn't until I saw them on that first leg that Streets became what it was (I was there for the opening shows at Sun Devil Stadium, and also in Chicago). That initial BLAST of light for the opening of a show was a powerful statement. It made me smile from ear-to-ear, without really understanding why or what for. Since then, the song (to me), has always been about entering heaven - even though I'm not a particularly religous person - quite the contrary. Since then, it's been interesting to see so many other people connect with a song that wasn't really the most popular on the album. Now, it's still my favorite moment of a U2 show.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:24 PM   #11
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I think that the performance of Streets in that tour, set a precedent for their entire future. That performance, the intro, the lighting, was amazing. I was lucky enough to witness it and when I see in in Rattle And Hum on video...it looks great, but live was fantastic.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:30 PM   #12
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I remember April 17, 1987...Los Angeles Sports Arena...Good Friday of all days...and when the lights went out and the keyboard swirl began it was pure bedlam!!

I was sitting side stage left in the front row and I could see the staircase they took to the stage, so I watched as one by one the band took the stage, and I'll tell you that night 'Streets' was transcendant!! I've never heard a crowd that loud in my life and 'Streets' kicked it off like it was an old concert fave. So, while there may be some of you who think 'Streets' was a grower, I remember it being a very popular choice as an opener.

Come Lovetown it was 'thee' concert opener, but back in '87 it was still a great song, and I think the video had a lot to do with making it more popular. The vid may get panned somewhat now, but at the time it was a very exciting, different kind of video.

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Old 03-03-2009, 12:34 PM   #13
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I think most people knew at the time that JT was a step up for U2, how much maybe not so clear- songs become classics over time- very rarely straight away

I didn't see U2 until Zooropa tour in 1993, by which time it had become a classic track- especially in the live show
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #14
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I can only remark from the POV of ZOO TV, but by that time, "Where the Street Have No Name" was entirely epic, linked, if I remember correctly, with "Running to Stand Still" and "Bullet the Blue Sky" during that tour. For the Fox TV special on ZOO TV, William S. Burroughs read a Thanksgiving poem that was biting, and seemed to project the band's notion of American politics, having spent so much time mulling over our culture in the '80s. I won't say un-American, because it is all of our right to see the cultural highs and lows. But the line "still building and burning down love" seemed emblematic of what we were all hoping for with the election of Bill Clinton having just wrapped up. Still building. Keep trying.

Without a doubt, by 1992, that song was an utter classic, and a staple of the live set. JT was a revered album, and the songs fit well with the otherworldy haze of the AB songs. Those journalists and critics who followed U2 through R&H might have seen a kink in the chain, and felt that the band had lost their mystery with so much America pandering. But the audience didn't show any signs of JT burnout. To the contrary, those songs were mysterious and dark, interpreting much of the flow of the shows. If "The Fly" was the new message, "Bullet the Blue Sky" and other JT songs were the backbone. And without their earnest soul and cultural insight, we'd have just been watching TV and feeling quite hopeless about where things were going in '92. U2 have always offered just enough mystery, hope and activism to offset any tones of irony and despair. The mix is what made ZOO TV the best thing I've ever experience, concert-wise.
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:29 PM   #15
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Both

TJT is the only album I have ever heard that I loved in its entirety...both on first listen and today.

Streets on the album was special...live . It's a very strange experience to have such high expectations for seeing a band live, and then for these expectations to be exceeded so much and so consistently. If I can find a word to describe the feeling I'll get it inserted into the dictionary. Wasn't just Streets, it was the whole tour that got me.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:22 PM   #16
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I had an advanced copy on cassette at the time of the Joshua Tree Album & the first track was "Streets" & the moment I heard that song & the whole album I knew it was going to be something special. I think "Streets" began to come into it's own during & after the L.A. Rooftop video shoot that the band did in Calif. By the way my first time seeing the band was in 1983 at the Pier in N.Y & they have changed as expected with age. Bono's vocal range is no way near what it used to be from 83-90 but that is to be expected after aging plus the smoking he did & occasionally still does. With all that said I still appreciate the work they are doing & the lyrics is what is most important & always has been to me. I guess I am one of the old timers still left on here as I near my 49th birthday, but I had plenty of fun growing up with this band in the 80's.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:52 PM   #17
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I listened to JT as soon as it came out, and to be honest I only began to like WOWY a few years after, and I still don't like ISHFWILF, however, Streets was one of the tracks that I instantly loved, and I do remember that they released it as a single and peaked at 14 (someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that was its peak chart position on Billboard), so radio liked it as well. But, it did take a shape of its own on the JT tour and by ZooTV it was just a song fans expected to be blown away by.

I've been a fan since 1980, and maybe it's nostalgia, or something, but I believe that their best work is truly behind them. From 1980-1994, we were truly spoiled, I mean two masterpieces in a 4 year span?! That's outrageous...if you add to that Boy as one of the best debut albums ever by a rock band, War, Zooropa, and even the strangely hypnotic Unforgettable Fire, it was just a band on a roll...you listened to those albums just a few times and you just knew there was somethin g special about them.

This thing now, from the mid nineties to present day where some fans say you need to listen to the albums a thousand times to get it, that's just not the way it was for me or the other U2 fans I knew from that era. I think U2 wants to stay relevant (whatever that means) and some fans, of course, want them to be loved by other non fans, but deep down I know that I never had the same feeling of WOW! when I heard ATYCLB, or Bomb, or Pop for that matter. However, there are some interesting things on NLOTH, some great stuff, and that feeling I had in the eighties and early nineties has crept up.

But, I still think that the outstanding reviews this album has gotten, is due more to the underwhelming state of rock music, than the actual quality of the album. If you constantly hear good, but not outstanding, rock music, and a band releases something that's very good, or at least head and shoulders above the rest, we tend to overpraise it.

I think this is why I rate AB higher than JT. When AB came out and during the ZooTV tour, grunge was starting, and there were a ton of rock bands out there with very good stuff. AB had to "compete" with a new emerging sound that was dominating the airwaves, which was probably the opposite of AB's sound, and yet U2 still ruled that era.

Oh f***, just realized I have rambled on way too much...thousand apologies
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:02 PM   #18
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Streets was a big hit on the radio. It either hit the Top 10 or was close to it. The video was in constant rotation on MTV.

My favorite radio station back then always used to premiere the big new single of the week on Sunday nights and made kind of a big deal out of it. I remember they gave Streets the "Sunday night treatment" when it was released as a single. (It was the night before the first day of fall classes at the college I was going to, and I remember hearing the Streets radio premiere and thinking it was a good omen for the coming school year.)

I don't remember if people referred to it as a "classic" back when it first came out, but that's probably because it was a new song and you can't be "new" and "classic" at the same time.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:04 PM   #19
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I must have heard "Where the Streets Have No Name" a thousand times between the time my older brother bought it and when I became a fan shortly after Achtung Baby came out. I never new the band in relation to other U2 fans or ever saw it in concert. I always thought "Streets" was a great song and still think the best version is easily on the album.

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I listened to JT as soon as it came out, and to be honest I only began to like WOWY a few years after, and I still don't like ISHFWILF, however, Streets was one of the tracks that I instantly loved, and I do remember that they released it as a single and peaked at 14 (someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that was its peak chart position on Billboard), so radio liked it as well. But, it did take a shape of its own on the JT tour and by ZooTV it was just a song fans expected to be blown away by.

I've been a fan since 1980, and maybe it's nostalgia, or something, but I believe that their best work is truly behind them. From 1980-1994, we were truly spoiled, I mean two masterpieces in a 4 year span?! That's outrageous...if you add to that Boy as one of the best debut albums ever by a rock band, War, Zooropa, and even the strangely hypnotic Unforgettable Fire, it was just a band on a roll...you listened to those albums just a few times and you just knew there was somethin g special about them.

This thing now, from the mid nineties to present day where some fans say you need to listen to the albums a thousand times to get it, that's just not the way it was for me or the other U2 fans I knew from that era. I think U2 wants to stay relevant (whatever that means) and some fans, of course, want them to be loved by other non fans, but deep down I know that I never had the same feeling of WOW! when I heard ATYCLB, or Bomb, or Pop for that matter. However, there are some interesting things on NLOTH, some great stuff, and that feeling I had in the eighties and early nineties has crept up.

But, I still think that the outstanding reviews this album has gotten, is due more to the underwhelming state of rock music, than the actual quality of the album. If you constantly hear good, but not outstanding, rock music, and a band releases something that's very good, or at least head and shoulders above the rest, we tend to overpraise it.

I think this is why I rate AB higher than JT. When AB came out and during the ZooTV tour, grunge was starting, and there were a ton of rock bands out there with very good stuff. AB had to "compete" with a new emerging sound that was dominating the airwaves, which was probably the opposite of AB's sound, and yet U2 still ruled that era.

Oh f***, just realized I have rambled on way too much...thousand apologies
I thought your comments were very interesting. No need to apologize.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:08 PM   #20
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as streets opened the show, you tended to forget it among the rest of the show

for me, big track from JT tour was Exit

that blew me away, great emotion, fucking great guitar

EDIT: and the crashing symbals, and less intrusive bono talking over edge's solo
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