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Achtung Baby (Nov. 19, 1991) - U2

Cover to U2 - Achtung Baby« U2

I don't know what was wrong with me in 1991 when this record came out. I had always been a U2 fan. I admit, however, I was getting a little confused by their image at this time. The Joshua Tree had been such a wonderful, unpretentious record, then Rattle and Hum came out. I did not see the whole movie at the time, but what I was getting from the media was not the U2 I had always known and loved. It was as if they were starting to take themselves too seriously.

Yet when I heard "The Fly" on WQFS, I really liked it and wanted to get Achtung Baby. I thought Bono was gorgeous in the "Mysterious Ways" video. The several versions of "One" that I saw were great as well. So why didn't I buy this record when it came out?

The real irony here is that during this time I was very much into the Berlin scene and U2 started their recording of the record in Berlin shortly after my last visit there. My first real look at Berlin was in 1987 when I arrived at Zoo Station at about 8:00 in the morning and I fell in love with the city right away. I went back a couple more times, the last being in October 1990 when the two Germanys were unified. Hubby and I stayed with our friend Dariush, who had a nice flat in the Charlottenburg area. The two of us spent the afternoon of October 2 in the Eastern side of the city - the last day it would be officially called East Berlin. The weather was perfect. It was a different East Berlin from the one I had first experienced years earlier.

On the evening of October 2, 1990, Hubby and I took the U-bahn straight to the Friedrichstraße station. No passport checks or anything to go through. We just emerged from the U-bahn station along with this huge crowd and started walking westward up the huge boulevard Unter van Linden toward the Brandenburg Gate.

Walking to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin October 1990
Heading west towards the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin October 1990

I had never been in a crowd of a million people before and the energy was electrifying. As we approached the Gate, I saw a crane with a Trabant (one of those cheapy little East German cars) hoisted way up in all the lights. We didn't know what the agenda was supposed to be so we just kept walking with the crowd through the Gate.

Entering the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin October 1990
Entering the Brandenburg Gate

Inside the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin October 1990 Once on the other side of the Gate, I saw a platform on the right side of the street with international media. The crowd was getting very rowdy, kicking beer cans, pushing, waiving huge banners. The bulk of the crowd took a right turn towards the Reichstag, but we decided to just keep walking straight down the Straße des 17 Juni towards that tall monument with the angel-type thing on top. I can't remember at this moment the name of that monument.

So you see I was really into this Berlin stuff. It seems I should have jumped all over Actung Baby. I really had intended on buying it then, but just didn't get around to it. My biggest distraction I think was that was the time Nirvana's Nevermind came out. I was completely absorbed with that record.

The closest I came to buying Achtung Baby back then was in February of 1992 when I was in a little mall in Geneva, Switzerland. I had heard that there was a picture of Adam naked on the cover that had been covered up in the U.S. version. I had the CD in my hand, but there was a bunch of stuff going on we were having to deal with at that time, so I didn't have a chance to buy the CD.

It wasn't until several years later I finally picked up a second-hand copy for $8.00. I could have kicked myself for missing it all these years. Especially thinking about Zoo Station, which was always my entry point into Berlin. I think I have listened to this enough now to make up for my lost years, but I still wish I hadn't waited so long.

-- May 8, 2005 (DD)

Achtung Baby Tracks

Download U2 - Achtung Baby on iTunes
  1. Zoo Station
  2. Even Better Than The Real Thing
  3. One
  4. Until The End Of The World
  5. Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
  6. So Cruel
  7. The Fly
  8. Mysterious Ways
  9. Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World
  10. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
  11. Acrobat
  12. Love Is Blindness

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