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March 12th, 2006

*sigh* @ 02:16 pm

inklingfair:
I'm currently feelin: morose morose

I've just given in to my obsessive-compulsive tendencies and organized all my U2 files on my PC. And it's partly because the phone lines are down (again!) and I've been restless.

And this is how I discovered that there were two A Sort of Homecomings in my PC. The first one, from The Unforgettable Fire, has already been discussed on SOTD before, so I'm going with the live version, from 15th November 1984 - Wide Awake in America (OT: I was born 34 days later).

The original (missing/changed) UF lyrics are in parentheses.



A Sort of Homecoming

And you know it's time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning
Lights in the distance

And you hunger for the time
Time to heal - desire time
And your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape

Oh, oh, oh - on borderland we run, mmm-mmmm...
I'll be there - I'll be there tonight
We'll build a bridge across the sea and land
(A high road, a high road out from here)

The city walls are all come down
The dust a smoke screen all around
See faces ploughed like fields that once gave no resistance

(And we live by the side of the road
On the side of a hill as the valley explode
Dislocated, suffocated
The land grows weary of its own)

(Oh come away, oh come away, oh come
Oh come away, say I... mmm-mmm
Oh come away, oh come away, oh come
Oh come away, say I)

Oh, oh - on borderland we run
And still we run - we run and don't look back
I'll be there - I'll be there
Tonight, tonight

I'll be there tonight
(I believe)
I'll be there tonight
(I'll be there somehow... I'll be there tonight, tonight)

Oh come away, oh come away, oh come
Oh come away, say I... ah
Oh come away, oh come away, oh come
Oh come away, say...

The wind will crack in wintertime
This bomb blast lightning waltz
No spoken words - just a scream

Ooo-oooh...

Tonight we'll a bridge across the sea and land

(See the sky, the burning rain
She will die and live again tonight)

I'll be there
I'll be there tonight

And your heart beats so slow
Through the sleet and driving snow
(Through the rain and fallen snow)
Across the fields of mourning
Lights in the distance

Oh, don't sorrow - no, don't weep
For tonight, at last, I am coming home
I am coming home

(My transcription; all faults mine)



I love Larry's drumming here. This was recorded at a soundcheck and the audience noises were edited in later - which explains why it sounds a bit too "clean". It may just be my imagination but the tempo's a bit faster than in the UF version.

The Edge's backing vocals doesn't show up on the first verse or "on borderland we run" like in UF (I miss the prolonged "ruuuun" here) or in "oh come away...", and Bono's voice sounds a little thinner. I miss a lot of things here, too, my favorite line: "See the sky, the burning rain / She will die and live again tonight".

That line just sends chills up my spine. It just hit me that U2 are sort of coming home for a while... listening to this song and thinking of - well - everything that's happened this week makes my heart break all over again. Anyway, for me this a song of hope and comfort and faith that things are going to be all right.

All my love and prayers.
 
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Comments

 
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From:signifiers
Date:March 12th, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
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This version - which is featured on the Unforgettable Fire Collection - was the first time I'd ever heard the song and I just fell in love with it. The song, coupled with the video footage from the road, really struck me and for that reason I've always preferred to the album version (although I do really like the missing line you mentioned). Glad to see this gem being mentioned.
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From:angerfish
Date:March 13th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
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signifiers!

I love this song! =D
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From:tinamachina
Date:March 12th, 2006 07:09 am (UTC)
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I have both versions on my iPod. I love them both--A Sort of Homecoming is probably in my top 10 favorite U2 songs.
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From:amphibious_one
Date:March 12th, 2006 07:34 am (UTC)
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There is actually a mix of that live recording which features Edge's vocals at the beginning (plus an extra verse, if I remember correctly). It appeared only on the 12" release in NZ and Australia and is pretty hard to come by.
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From:specialcamper
Date:March 12th, 2006 08:33 am (UTC)
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This is my favorite U2, and maybe all time favorite, song ever. I have an agreement with my family that it will be played at my funeral.
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From:volare
Date:March 12th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
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amen.
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From:amizada
Date:March 12th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
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This is my favourite version of ASOH. It's in my top 5 for sure.
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From:canadanne
Date:March 18th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)
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Right, firstly I'm gonna take this opportunity to comment in more detail on the song itself, as my previous effort (on the original SOTD) was just pathetic!

Whilst I've never considered it an all-time favourite and I rarely think of putting it on, this is a brilliant song. It's one of those great singalong tracks that you can really throw yourself into - the sheer momentum of it is amazing, it just keeps pushing forward and hitting one explosive climax after another. I think Bono is the major star on this one, he's *so* passionate and his vocals are incredibly strong and varied throughout. Highlights include:
~ "On borderland we ruuuuuuuuu-u-u-uuu-u-u-uuu-u-u-u-uunnn!"
~ "And we live by the side of the road! / On the side of a hill as the valley explode!"
~ "No spoken words, just a SCREEEEAAAAMMMM YE-E-EEAAAAAHHH!"
~ "See the sky, the burning rain! / She will die and live again, toooNIIIIIIIGHT!"
.....Just holy wow, you couldn't accuse him of a half-hearted performance here. *g*  I, um, also like the whispery falsetto bit. ("I'll be there, tonight... toni-i-i-iiight!")

Then there are the gloriously imaginative lyrics - this one really reads like poetry, don't you think?  I love lines such as "Your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape" and "The dust a smokescreen all around", and I recall someone else enthusing over the phrase "bomb-blast lightning waltz" (how do you come up with something like that?!). I also really enjoy the "O come away say I" bits, they're rather quirky but huge fun to join in with. And I mustn't end this review without praising Edge's wonderful harmonies, they add a lot of texture to the song, especially on the line "And you hunger for the time..."

There. That's a better comment than my last one. ;p

Now, onto the Wide Awake In America version.....

Five or six years ago when Gary Davies was still at Virgin Radio, he was my favourite DJ because he absolutely *adored* U2 and was always playing their music and babbling on about them. He even used to play stuff that you'd *never* usually hear on the radio, like Zoo Station. I was gutted when he left the station, I've never entirely gotten over the loss!  My reason for mentioning him is that on one occasion, he announced that he was going to play his all-time favourite U2 song, and of all the classics that were running through my head, I never would have predicted the track he went for - the live version of A Sort Of Homecoming from the Wide Awake In America EP. I thought that was quite an obscure choice!

I haven't actually listened to this version in years... in fact I probably only *ever* played it once or twice, as I never have any reason to put this EP on. Just listening to the intro now, it sounds very different to the album version!  I totally agree about missing the prolonged "ruuuuuunnn!" - he even goes *down* the scale on that word here, which feels rather disappointing. Still, the bit where the rest of the band finally kick in is pretty cool, and overall it has the same pounding energy as the UF version. It's just a real shame they omit that entire early section of the song, as well as the line you mentioned later on. :/  Bono's voice also cracks once or twice, though he mostly does another great job with the vocals. In conclusion, a nice solid performance but it's no match for the awesome studio version, IMHO.

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