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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 October 2011
On paper, there's no way that this package can be worth the asking price: two albums that most people will already own, a live DVD that has been available for years, a documentary that aired free on the BBC. Anyone could be forgiven for being somewhat cynical. So let's take a look in the box.

PACKAGING

Oh my God but this packaging is impressive. The art print portfolio and book are securely encased in a great-looking slipcase printed with the original album cover: for those of us who bought the album originally on CD, even having the cover at this scale is a treat. The portfolio comes in a brown card sleeve embossed with the album's "face star car" logo. The sixteen art prints themselves are on heavy, high-quality card and enable you to assemble your own version of the album sleeve if you have sixteen square foot of wall nearby. Very good (and I don't even care about the prints!)

The hardback book is simply gorgeous: six CDs are housed securely in the front cover, four DVDs in the back cover. The book contains copious artwork and a number of essays in addition to lyrics and credits for the box set. Personally I prefer text to photos, but a good balance is struck between the two and the production is very good. Basically, the book on its own could fetch a substantial retail price.

THE CDs

Discs one and two are Achtung Baby and Zooropa. You don't need my opinion on how good these albums are (if you don't rate them at five stars you should seriously consider why you are reading about this set in the first place). I thought that these albums had been remastered, but if so, I can't hear it. They were always great-sounding albums and they still are, but - if they aren't remastered - there will be no reason for most U2 fans ever to take them out of the book.

Disc Three and Disc Four are CDs of remixes. You know what to expect.

Disc Five collects the B Sides and Bonus Tracks. Often discs like this are "all filler no killer", but in this case half of the tracks are from the Achtung Baby sessions and offer intriguing glimpses of a different path that the album could have taken.

Disc Six is a treat: the entire album in a so-called "Kindergarten" version, which seems to be mixed from the original album sessions in Berlin. I suspect that for most fans this is the disc that will be the most interesting: the versions are notably different in places and the sound quality excellent.

The overall running time for the CDs is six hours and while not everything on those six hours will interest all fans, there is enough here to please most listeners, whether you are a U2 obsessive or just a casual fan who likes these studio albums.

THE DVDs

The DVD selection in this set is slightly dodgy. The new documentary is an entire DVD with only about an hour and a quarter on it. Because it's a new documentary, you get Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks but, to be honest, it's not as revealing as it thinks and it is a shame that this isn't a longer cut of the documentary than aired on television. It wouldn't have killed them to put some bonus performances on this disc.

The Videos DVD has a running time of a little short of one and a half hours, is in 4:3 ratio and only has a stereo soundtrack. It includes all the variants of each video, and includes all the videos for Zooropa as well as those for Achtung Baby, so it's certainly a disc that a collector would want.

The Zoo TV: Live in Sydney DVD is in 4:3 ratio and the video quality is not great. It's a shame that this wasn't remastered and given a commentary, but bear in mind that you are getting what amounts to nearly two and a half hours of the band live with a soundtrack in Dolby Digital and DTS. If you don't have it already, it's a very decent extra.

The Bonus Material DVD is actually pretty good, bringing together the Zoo TV documentary and other bits & pieces. Again, video quality is not great and the sound is only stereo, but it was definitely worth pulling together almost three hours of (mainly promotional) footage and fans will enjoy this.

OVERALL

This is a very decent package, even given the uber-deluxe pricepoint. If your wallet can bear it, get one before they're gone.
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on 15 September 2016
great buy
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on 12 June 2017
It was a good record...okay, all the songs were in Bb but for four guys from Dublin it wasn't bad.
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on 14 September 2017
This is one of their best, most impressive albums.
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on 4 November 2011
Yes, like every U2 I already owned Achtung Baby, Zooropa and ZOOTV Live from Sydney. But when details of this reissue were made public I just knew I had to have it. The Super Deluxe is the must-have format for the dedicated fan. The presetation is outstanding. I was expecting it to come in a lot of little bits with CDs rolling around the place but everything is very compact and well thought out. Everything is build around the book with the CD's and DVD's firlmy secured into the front and back covers.

My only criticism of the book is that while we get Corbijn, Eno and Lanois' views among others the band members themselves say nothing. That said, they probably said everything they need to in U2ByU2 and in the documentaries included on the DVDs. The bonus material disc is really fantastic with one part of it showing a vast amount of a 1992 concert including MirrorBall Man overshadowed by Macphisto for too long!) preaching about his 'vision'. This made up for my initial disappointment that Sydney was the tour concert chosen for the reissue.

The Kindergarten disc is really good. The initial versions of the songs are very different mucially, especially TTTYARTW and LIB. All of the songs are different lyrically. Great listen for any Achtung fan. The b-sides disc is very good too. It contains a lot of really good material particularly 'Blow Your House Down' and 'Down All The Days'.

All in all, this a great reissue. Well worth the money to see U2 during the greatest period of their career.
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on 23 November 2011
This Super Deluxe box is a thing of beauty to any hardcore U2 fan. And let's face it, U2 really have set the bar pretty high when it comes to deluxe box sets for their album remasters. Check out these "The Unforgettable Fire (Remastered - Super Deluxe Edition)" & "Joshua Tree (Deluxe)". Contained within this set is almost everything to do with their mammoth albums Achtung Baby & Zooropa, both aural and visual, as well as the Zoo Tv world tour, gathered together in the one slipcase. Let's have a look at what's inside...

First up, the package. The quality is right up there with some of the best Super Deluxe box sets we've had released of late. Nice thick paper/cardboard for the book, art prints and slipcase. 10 discs (6xcd and 4xDVD) are safely housed inside the front and back covers of the huge 12" LP sized book and arrived at my house all in place and undamaged. There are some really nice essays about the recording process from the various parties involved and a lot of photos taken by Anton Corbjin while the album was being made.

The audio for the most part sounds good on all discs and it's great to have all of those fantastic club mixes in the one place, spread out over two discs instead of having to dig out all my vinyl & cd singles. There's also a disc of bonus tracks and b-sides, some of which are demos. Interesting to hear this now legendary band jamming. BUT, the real revelation here is the previously unreleased first mix of the entire album, the so called "Kindergarten" version. This is where I started my revisiting of Achtung Baby and if you know the album well it's fascinating to hear different mixes, arrangements and even lyrics. Without a doubt, a major bonus of this box set. All in all six cd's of pretty good content.

Now to the dvd's. The new documentary "From The Sky Down" is good, if not a bit short at only an hour and fifteen minutes. The second dvd is a collection of videos in all their various alternate versions and mixes from both albums. The third dvd contains a couple of MTV specials, one of which is almost a full show from the first USA leg of the Zoo Tv tour and a couple of period documentaries, some of which have been previously released on the second disc of U2 - Zoo TV [Limited Edition] [DVD] deluxe set. The fourth dvd is disc one from the above mentioned Zoo Tv release which I already own and believe most U2 fans will also have previously purchased. It would have been nice to get a different show from what was a very extensive tour. I've taken off a star from what otherwise would've been a five star set for making me buy this dvd again.

If you're a crazy U2 fan like me, I suggest you track down one of these box sets ASAP. I think you'll be suitably impressed especially with the previously unreleased audio. If you're extra fanatical then there's the "Achtung Baby 20th Anniversary Über Deluxe Box Set" which is a little more on the expensive side and has vinyl records as well as all the digital discs amongst a host of extra content. I'm more than happy with the Super Deluxe. Now, I'm ready for the laughing gas and am off to Zoo Station, it's even better than the real thing.
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on 30 April 2001
Achtung Baby stands out as a masterpiece in U2's illustrious history. In this album, painfully ground out over a year of re-recording and re-inventing in 1990's Berlin, the power of U2's music is as direct and compelling as ever. The real beauty here, though, is the wit and intelligence of the music. This contrasts with their earlier music on the one hand, which tended to be naively honest, and their later work on the other which became almost a little too contrived. Achtung Baby is thus the album that best captures all that is good about U2 over their lifetime: a balance between the self-conscious cool and kitsch sounds of their later years, and the intensity and passion upon which they built their reputation.
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on 2 November 2011
I'd be waiting for the re-release date of Achtung Baby for what felt like ages, ever since the boxset details were announced earlier this year. Having been blinded by the collectable riches available in the Uber-Deluxe set (the Fly glasses looked like the clincher for me), I decided against shelling out the best part of £275. I made the right choice, as this is THE boxset to invest in.

The packaging is reassuringly solid, heavy and enticing. You already know what's inside but Christmas has come early for the millions of U2 fans across the globe. This is the re-issue that eclipses both the Joshua Tree and Unforgettable Fire limited editions by some distance, not least because it's an era-defining album that nearly broke the band in half. It's the one album I would listen to daily.

The array of CDs and DVDs is excellent, even though the duplicate of the Sydney gig should have been changed. We all own it, so it's a waste of a disc. A ZooTV first leg concert would have been a more tantalising offering.

'From the Sky Down' is a brilliant documentary with lots of rare footage - worthy of a release in it's own right.

The remix CDs won't be to everyone's tastes, but it takes you back to when U2 experimented with the cross-over into dance music.

I'm already looking to find a wall big enough in my house to re-create the album cover with the art prints included here. You know you want to.

Grab yourself a copy of this set while you can. Indulge yourself. Achtung Baby is their best work, so lose yourself again with Ultra Violet, So Cruel and Who's Gonna ride Your Wild Horses.

A shimmering package that all fans should own.
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on 20 August 2009
Following the bombast of "The Joshua Tree" and the rootsy cod-Americana of the disappointing "Rattle & Hum" it appeared to many that U2 had creatively ground to a halt, run out of ideas, and would be little more than an embarrassing footnote in the bright shiny new 1990's. That they managed to reinvent themselves so completely with this record is surprising enough, but the fact that's it became one of the most influential and inspired records of the decade, suggests at a comeback of truly Lazarus-like proportions.

This is an inspired record, capturing the zeitgeist of the period perfectly (the breakdown of the USSR/Eastern Europe, the beginnings of globalization, our obsession with television and media) and showcasing a band completely in tune with the times in which they lived. Gone is the overblown, pompous posturing of the 80's, replaced by a sleek, stripped down, streamlined machine, who enjoy poking fun at themselves and deconstructing their own myth. In short it's the sound of a band who've finally learnt to have fun.

Having ditched the formulaic guitar heavy anthems that characterised previous records the mood here is much looser, dancier and electronic, with this sense of freedom and abandon pulsing through songs like "Ever Better Than The Real Thing", "Mysterious Ways" and "Until The End of the World". It also features three of U2's very best ballads in the form of "One", "So Cruel" and the beautiful "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?" which underpin and provide the emotional heartbeat of the record. Throw in "Zoo Station", "The Fly", "UV" and "Love is Blindness" and you've got an album that always delivers and never disappoints.

In time Achtung Baby has proved to be a landmark release, and one which U2 have never bettered. Even 18 years after its release it feels fresh, vibrant and still has something to say, which really is a great achievement.
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on 8 April 2013
After the incoherent, self-indulgent, fake americana mess that was 'Rattle and Hum', the release of 1991's 'Achtung Baby' came as a very welcome surprise.

A reinvented U2? Perhaps. A revigorised U2, it certainly is. 'Zoo Station' starts the preceedings with its crunchy, stuttering beginning and distorted vocals while the delicate and atmospheric 'Love is Blindness' provides the perfect ending. In between there is a lot to love. Among the gems are of course 'The Fly', 'Mysterious Ways' and the anthemic 'One', all singles at the time. But the album cuts are really just as good. Special mention must go to 'Ultraviolet (Light My Way) and 'Acrobat'. If anything, 'Achtung Baby' sounds like a mix of the more adventurous parts of 'The Unforgettable Fire' and the great songwriting of 'The Joshua Tree', the result being greater than just the sum of the parts.

Contained within this Deluxe Edition are remixes, b-sides and an particularly interesting disc featuring earlier mixes and versions of the tracks that ended up on the album. The follow-up album 'Zooropa' is also included. Whether or not these extras are worth the additional expense is up to the individual, but as a whole it does form a more or less complete picture of the 'Achtung Baby' era; a stunning album that U2 - in my book anyway - never equalled neither before or after its release.

Go get one of the editions. It's a modern classic.
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