Between 1986 and 1998, Amnesty International organized 28 concerts worldwide as part of their Human Rights Concerts series, featuring performances from U2, Bruce Springsteen, The Police, Peter Gabriel, and many, many more. On November 5th, the organization will unveil ¡Released!, a special six-disc DVD and two-CD box set compiling footage from these historic concerts.
As Rolling Stone points out, the DVD portion includes 120 songs spanning 12 hours of performances. An additional 32 segments of material, including interviews and backstage footage, bumps the run time to just over 17 hours. The CD set collects 30 recordings and an in-depth 40-page booklet.
The 28 total concerts fell into four separate “categories”, and each such category has received its own film:
— The first film showcases the final all-day concert from A Conspiracy of Hope, Amnesty International’s 25th anniversary tour of the US in June 1986. Performers included U2, The Police, Bryan Adams, Miles Davis, Lou Reed, and Joni Mitchell.
— The second film focuses on Human Rights Now!, a massive international tour that ran from September through October 1988 and featured appearances from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Peter Gabriel, Sting, and Tracy Chapman.
— The third film features the October 1990 concert An Embrace of Hope, which saw Sting, Sinead O’Connor, Jackson Browne, and Wynton Marsalis perform in Chile to raise awareness of the local population’s mistreatment by the longstanding military dictatorship.
— The final film documents The Struggle Continues. . ., an October 1998 concert in Paris commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event mixed contemporary bands and legacy acts, including Radiohead, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Springsteen, Alanis Morrissette, and Gabriel as headliners.
Three of the films have never been officially released in any video or audio format; only The Struggle Continues. . . was made available on limited-edition VHS and DVD back in 1999. In December 1988, HBO aired a concert film of the Human Rights Now! tour’s stop in Buenos Aires, and you can replay the entire broadcast below.