2011 Reissue & From The Sky Down

Rumors began circulating in early 2010 that U2 would reissue Achtung Baby, and those rumors came true a year later. Achtung Baby turned 20 years old in 2011, and the celebration included an epic release on October 31/November 1 of five different versions of the album:

  1. Standard CD
  2. Deluxe Edition: a 2-CD set containing the reissue of the original album plus B-sides and rarities.
  3. Vinyl Box Set: limited release containing 4 LPs, two of which were pressed on translucent blue vinyl containing remixes and B-sides. Also included a 16-page booklet.
  4. Super Deluxe Edition: six CDs and four DVDs (as listed below), plus a 92-page hardback book and 16 art prints in a wallet.
  5. Uber Deluxe Edition: a magnetic puzzle-tiled box that contained all of the following:
    • six CDs
      1. the original Achtung Baby album
      2. Zooropa
      3. B-sides and Bonus Tracks
      4. Uber remixes
      5. Unter remixes
      6. Kindergarten – the Alternative Achtung Baby featuring early versions of each song on the album
    • four DVDs
      1. From The Sky Down (documentary)
      2. Zoo TV: Live From Sydney (concert)
      3. The Videos
      4. Bonus Material
    • Achtung Baby double vinyl album
    • five clear 7″ vinyl singles in their original sleeves
    • 16 art prints taken from the original album sleeve
    • 84-page hardback book
    • a copy of Propaganda magazine
    • four badges
    • a sticker sheet
    • a pair of Bono’s trademark “The Fly” sunglasses

The Uber Deluxe Edition included a suggested price tag of almost $500, by far the most expensive official album release of U2’s career. Many fans, however, were able to buy it for less; the price on Amazon.com, for example, was usually closer to $400. (Still the most expensive thing U2 has ever released.) AMP Visual created this video showing the insides of the Uber Deluxe Edition.

To coincide with the reissue, England’s Q magazine offered AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered, a CD of artists including Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Patti Smith, Jack White and others, each performing one of the songs from Achtung Baby.

Note: While originally advertised as a “remastered” version of Achtung Baby, that word was quickly changed on U2’s website to simply call it a “reissue.” Neil McCormick, journalist and friend of U2, confirmed on Twitter that the album had been “tweaked and boosted” but not, by definition, remastered.

From The Sky Down

From The Sky Down, a documentary on the making of Achtung Baby, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2011. Director Davis Guggenheim, who’d previously worked with The Edge on the guitar documentary It Might Get Loud, recorded new interviews and performances with the whole band and dug through the audio and video archives from U2’s recording sessions 20 years earlier. The band had no say in the final film, but did ask Guggenheim to shorten it after seeing an early cut; Guggenheim agreed. “We have never, ever had as little to do with a U2 project,” Bono told USA Today.

After its festival premiere, From The Sky Down aired on broadcast and cable TV outlets such as Showtime and BBC. It was included (as mentioned above) in the Super and Uber Deluxe Editions of the Achtung Baby reissue. And it was released on DVD and Blu-ray in December 2011.

Here are several videos, beginning with the three-minute From The Sky Down trailer, followed by other promotional clips that were initially published on U2.com.

The film was nominated for Best Long Form Music Video at the 2013 Grammy Awards, but didn’t win.