Wednesday, 16 January 2008

U23D A Review

Well, after many emails and phone calls the hotel's booked, travel sorted and tickets bought and now it's just a case of waiting for the 22nd February - that's when my friends Debbi, Dawn and I go to Manchester to see U23D. So far all the reviews I've read have been very positive and they just go to whet the appetite even more! One review especially impressed me and you can read it here.

TheFeed Review:
"U2 3D"
G4-The Feed
January 15, 2008

This morning, The Feed had the opportunity to screen the new concert film U23D, a 3-D movie featuring Irish megastars U2, which comes out in a limited run in theaters on January 23rd. So, we strapped on the glasses and took a look, and here's what we saw. First off, the 3-D was amazing. The technology, developed by 3ality Digital, really took3-D in a whole new direction, giving live action with steadicam, robotic cameras, aerial footage, and visual effects all in three gorgeous dimensions, which is something that filmmakers have yet to be able to accomplish. Until now.

The footage was crisp and clear, well shot and edited, and, under the direction of Catherine Owens, who designed the groundbreaking "ZooTV"tour for U2, and Mark Pellington (Arlington Road, The Mothman Prophecies), was compelling and never dragged for the 85-minute running time of the film. Of the shows, seven of which were filmed to make the movie, all from the How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb Tour, the concept is amazing, with gigantic LCD screens behind the band, allowing for live-action stuff, as well as any number of text and video effects.

Now, about U2 and the music itself. It would be easy to dismiss Bono as a silly, larger-than-life, way-too-occupied-with-himself rock star, such as the recent portrayal of him on South Park. However, if Bono didn't exist, we would have to invent him. That is to say, what is music, or art in general for that matter, without a bleeding, messy heart at its center? Bono is the heart of rock and roll these days, and he knows his part as a showman, a shaman, and a spokesman as well as anyone in the business. That he is able to gather the cojones to be Bono at his most earnest each and every night is an accomplishment in itself.

But let's not discount the fact that the man can still sing, even at his age, almost as well as he did when he was a kid. Whether it's the howling anger of songs like "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," or "Bullet The Blue Sky," or the heartfelt balladry required to muster up "One" or "With Or Without You," it doesn't sound like he's lost a step, musically. In fact, he even pulled off a decent Pavarotti, singing the late tenor's part from the overlooked "Miss Sarajevo," from the critically overlooked Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1 album the band did as an escape from being U2 for a while, back in 1995.

Maybe the best thing about this entire experience is that it brings you close enough to the band for you to realize that being in perhaps the biggest band in the world is actually fun. You get so caught up in the fact that U2 are into heavy subjects that you forget that it's just four guys that enjoy rocking out together, and who really love toplay music. This is easily the best thing about the movie, and it makes you like the band all the more.

As always, The Edge is a searing guitarist, who works one groove, but works it really well, and Larry Mullen, Jr. can pound some skins, and is especially compelling with just a cymbal and a floor tom, out at the most remote outpost of the stage during "Love and Peace." But, also as always, it's Adam Clayton who's the secret weapon in this band, assuming a Clash-like stance and pounding out crushing basslines that make these songs run.

Would we have liked a bit of a different setlist? Yeah. The show was a little heavy on greatest hits and songs you felt like they had to play. However, the movie was only 85 minutes, and we're pretty sure there was at least another hour's worth of material the production team decided to leave out. Still, it's a small gripe.

In the end, you will be impressed with the 3-D, and, if you're inclined at all, with U2 in general. This is a fine, groundbreaking snapshot of a band that's been on top for a long, long time, and still know how to deliver the goods.

© G4 Media, Inc., 2008.

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