U2 – U22 Live Double Album
U2 Mastering notes from Pete Maher:
The U2 – 360 World Tour – was an absolute monster of a tour. It was the highest grossing concert tour in history with an attendance of 7,272,046 and ticket sales exceeding $734 MILLION. It featured a 360-degree configuration, with the stage being placed closer to the centre of the stadium’s field than usual. The stage design featured a large four-legged steel structure that held the speaker system and cylindrical video screen and hovered above the performance area. The stage was surrounded by a circular ramp, which connected to the stage by rotating bridges. Fans with general admission tickets could be placed both outside the ramp as well as between the ramp and stage. The stage had no defined front or back and was surrounded by the audience.
The U22 album contains 22 tracks recorded live on U2’s 360 World Tour. I was up against the very best mastering engineers in the world to secure this job but thanks to my previous work with the band it came my way. All 22 songs were mixed and produced by Declan Gaffney and sent to me to enhance, optimize and blend. Initially they wanted me to fade each song in and out with a small gap in between. I suggested that we used crossfades between songs to give the impression of it being one long seamless concert. The Edge liked this idea a lot and gave his approval. Although in theory crossfades were simple, the reality was much more of a challenge. For example, fading out a London crowd while fading in a Perth crowd sounded unnatural (different crowd tones coupled with different mic placement on stage). In the end I found that placing a Chicago crowd sample under each transition/crossfade was the answer. I was aware that U2 hated heavy compression so I kept it tight, warm, dynamic and loud. It took me 10 days to complete and was instantly approved by the band and label.