Julie was telling me about this movie last week, and it finally opened at the IMAX theater near where I work. My co-worker and I were talking about it on the air the morning and decided that the entire morning show would go and see the film (Um, that would be a total of three people). The set list alone hooked me, and the fact that the film was in 3D with 5.1 surround sound was just an added bonus.
I saw U2 on this last tour, and I gotta say that the film, in some ways, was better than seeing them live. Mostly because when I saw them live the seats I had were in the back of the venue — which meant we ended up watching the concert mostly on the giant video screens.
The wonderful thing about this film is the way in which this film is shot. You’re right there with each member of the band, and the 3D effects are subtle and don’t really distract from the performance. I appreciated the fact the director gave a lot of time to the other band members. Bono is such an attention magnet that it’s easy to overlook the skill of the other band members. Case in point: the angle used to show Larry drumming on certain songs was great because, for example, I could finally see how he was able to hit the floor tom while playing the main rhythm in “Pride (In the Name of Love).” I know that’s a geeky (“And one time at band camp…”) thing to write, but for years I’ve been listening to this song and wondering 1. What the sticking is on the snare roll before the chorus, and 2. How he can hit the floor tom while still keeping time on the hi-hat, kick and snare. I got my answer to the second question. He plays one handed on the hi-hat and snare and has a floor tom to his left that he uses to accent the main beat. As to the first, it’s just one of those things that easier to play than to write out.
Anyway, if this film is in your area, you should check it out. I think the band hasn’t sounded this good live since Under a Blood Red Sky. When that album came out, they were raw, but tight. Now, their level of playing is so good that even classic U2 songs sound better than the recording. For example, I was never really a fan of “With or Without You,” but the version that’s in U2 3D, is just superb. My favorite song in the film was “Love and Peace Or Else,” which was just balls-to-the-wall great.
The official website for the film is pretty good, and it has clips from the concert. You can see it HERE. Not to be too much of a shill for this film, but I think if you’re a fan (or even casual fan) of this group, you’ll be really impressed by the amazing performance the band gives in this concert film. I’ve pasted in a widget that has the trailer if you want to take a look. And since I’ve talked about “Pride” and “Love and Peace Or Else,” I’ll include mp3 as well!
“Love and Peace or Else” (download)
“Pride (In the Name of Love)” (download)