Popmart 98: Santiago

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It would be difficult to review Santiago, a two-CD set, without some discussion of politics. That's because this bootleg was recorded on February 11, 1998 at el Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile, a place that had seen more than its share of bloodshed under the Augusto Pinochet regime in the 1970s and 1980s. Pinochet's dictatorship was among the most violently repressive governments in the history of Latin America, and U2's "Mothers of the Disappeared" was written for the families of those who died at the hands of such Latin American regimes. Under Pinochet, anyone who dared to perform that song in public literally paid with his/her life. So it's quite heartening to hear U2 perform "Mothers of the Disappeared" in a more democratic, post-Pinochet Chile. Bono's feelings for Latin America obviously ran deep, which explains why U2 sounds especially inspired on Santiago. A soundboard recording, Santiago offers sound quality that is decent but not excellent. U2's two-hour performance, however, is superb. U2 puts a lot of heart into 1980s favorites like "New Year's Day," "Bullet the Blue Sky," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday," as well as songs it had recorded in the 1990s (including "Discotheque," "Last Night On Earth," "Staring at the Sun" and "If You Wear That Velvet Dress"). The show closes with a very moving "Mothers of the Disappeared," which finds U2 joined by actual relatives of Pinochet's victims. Though it doesn't have the audiophile-like sound quality that characterized other U2 bootlegs in the 1990s, Santiago is well worth obtaining if you come across a copy.

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