At this point writing an introduction on U2 explaining who they are, what they became, and what their music stands for would be quite foolish. I suppose if you are a normal person who listens to radio, watches TV, or at least has some minor interest in music chances are you already know plenty about Bono and the rest of the boys. U2 has evolved into something much more than an Irish band that once dreamed big.
As the title suggests the subject of this review is indeed the notorious 1987 album by U2 titled The Joshua Tree - a release that catapulted the Irish lads straight to the top of international charts and de facto transformed them into the biggest and most successful band of the 90s. Back on the island The Joshua Tree also became the fastest-selling album in UK history selling nearly 250 000 copies during the first week of its release.
So, what I have in my hands is the re-release of The Joshua Tree-DVD which this time around comes under the distribution umbrella of Eagle Rock Entertainment. The disc runs at approximately 60 min. and indeed it appears to be an exact replica of the old OOP release. Here you will not find any new footage complied specifically for this release nor you will see a difference in the quality presentation, everything appears as it was first released on DVD in 1999.
This being said, The Joshua Tree-DVD is practically an hour-long documentary where Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Brian Eno and the rest of the producers recall how they assembled what would later become their most celebrated album. Amidst sporadic clips (Where the Streets Have No Name, With or Without You, I Still Have Not Found What I'm Looking For, Bullet The Blue Sky, Mothers of the Disappeared) members of the band talk about the difficulties surrounding the initial song cuts, how they were mixed, the different opinions amongst those who were involved with the recording process. In fact, you will be pleasantly surprised to see and hear that some of your favorite U2 songs were meant to sound quite differently.
Certainly if you are not a die-hard U2 fan however The Joshua Tree-DVD might feel a bit too dry, perhaps not as far-reaching as a true documentary should be. In fact, I am inclined to believe that those of you looking for a solid retrospective on The Joshua Tree will be slightly disappointed as a lot of the discussions that take place on the screen address purely technical issues. Still, the opportunity to hear your favorite band talk about their marquee release and what it took to create an album with a sound no one else had heard at the time is welcomed. No doubt, even after all this years The Joshua Tree still sounds impressive.
How Does the DVD Look?
This hour-long documentary is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and excluding some of the archive footage shown the image quality is exceptionally high. Detail, contrast, and colors are all very pleasing and there isn't any print damage that I could spot. As mentioned above there are quite a few music clips that pop-up here and there throughout the discussions and logically their quality varies. The overall presentation however is incredibly satisfying and if you missed on the initial release this disc should be a welcome addition to your U2 collection of CD/DVDs.
How Does the DVD Sound?
The only audio track provided here is a Dolby Stereo mix that gets the job perfectly. There aren't any audio drop outs or hissing that you should be concerned with. In fact, even some of the older clips used sound incredibly clean.
I have decided to give this release a RENT IT mark as I do believe that most of the die-hard U2 fans most likely already have it in their collections. I also believe that if you are looking for a much more elaborate film release that takes a look at U2 and their music then Rattle and Hum should be your first stop. The Joshua Tree is a simple hour-long behind the scenes piece which TV channels have run more than once.