The first surprise is that the DVD is available in two different kinds of packaging. One version comes in the usual digipack-cover as we know it from the Boston DVD. Inside you find the booklet in the usual DVD upsize format. The second version, in contrast, comes in a suprising format: its a standard cd jewel case with a booklet in the same format. A pretty unusual format for a DVD and day-to-day customers might easily mix up this version with a normal audio CD.
The ContentThe DVD contains the entire slane castle concert from September 1st. 'Mysterious Ways' is not part of the concert, but listed as a 'bonus track'. The reasons for this are still unknown. The concert without Mysterious Ways lasts 1:38h, the bonus track is 6:26 min long. Furthermore the DVD contains a remastered version of the 'Unforgettable Fire' Documentary, which has been available before on the 'The Unforgettable Fire Collection' VHS from 1985. Bonus-Features include the already mentioned Mysterious Ways track, a DVD-ROM section with screensavers, desktop wallpapers, an elevation tour calendar and weblinks, plus - for the the first time ever - the possibility to view 3 songs from the show in a 360° perspective.
The ConcertThe most noticeable fact about this concert is the perfect mood the band was in on this evening. What seemed somewhat artificial and nervous in the Boston show, you can see much better here - the band enjoyed playing a second time in front of such a crowd at Slane Castle. Maybe it's the fact that it was not planned to release this concert for sale. Some incidents before the shows made both Slane concerts very emotional. The huge crowd brings a terrific spirit to the homes of all U2 fans, and the interaction with fans is much better here than in Boston.
Between songs Bono tells stories, plays games with fans and makes other kinds of jokes, all this makes the recording and U2 on this evening so likable. We pass on a song by song review, as we think that each viewer has to make up his own mind about this concert. We just want to point out that U2's mood and musical performance is outstanding. In comparision with all the other live videos this is the one which transports the feeling of a live concert best. All other videos tend to be stiff in some way or too well prepared. U2 at Slane Castle 2001 is the band U2 we want to see, they act with their hearts and have fun.The PictureThe concert was recorded with many camera perspectives although Ned O'Hanlon said in an @U2.com interview that the expenses on that show were just a small fraction compared to the expenses for recording the Boston show. The spirit of the entire show is captured very well, shots from and of the audience are used very often and reflect its enthusiasm. The video format is 16:9, the pictures are sometimes very coarse, sometimes due to special effects, but this may have to do something with the light conditions during the shooting.The SoundThis is the first time a U2 DVD is released with DTS sound, in addition to the PCM stereo format and DolbyDigital 5.1. But we think that for a normal user there is no relevant notable difference. Bonos voice is transferred very clearly via the centre speaker. The instruments are mixed to the front speakers, from the rear speakers you can notice quiet echoes, which are sometimes irritating. The audience is well mixed into the rear-speakers. There is no crystal clear mixing as can be found on DVDs like 'Eagles - Hell Freezes Over', where each instrument can be heard on a different channel. But maybe it's not comparable, because the Eagles show was a club-gig especially prepared for this, U2 in Slane was an open-air show which was, at the time of recording, not scheduled for a release.The Extras
'The Unforgettable Fire' documentary
As mentioned before this is a remastered version of the 'Unforgettable Fire' documentary which follows the recordings of the album of the same name at Slane Castle in 1984. The video format is 4:3 and the documentary is 28 min long. The Documentary also includes the "Pride (In The Name of Love)" video. The picture quality is not the best, it's far away from DVD-quality.
Bonus-Track 'Mysterious Ways'
Once the track list of the DVD became public, many fans were shocked as the same song which was already missing on the Boston DVD was once again cut out. For still unknown reasons the song was taken out of the usual running order of the DVD and instead placed as a bonus track. It is not as was rumoured (and feared) a so called "easter egg", but a normal track which can easily be accessed via the main menu. (Remark: Producer Ned O'Hanlon said in a recent interview that the song just didn`t really fit into the show).DVD-Rom Bonus TracksThe most anticipated special, the 360° view of the concert, ends up being a Quicktime video of the three songs Elevation, Beautiful Day and Where The Streets Have No Name. Users have the possibility to spin around 360° degrees in real time at the touch of their mouse. A real high-end-special-feature feeling unfortunately doesn't come across due to the lack of quality which reminds one of a cheap webcam.The second special feature is the 'Elevation tour diary calendar and clock'.Furthermore two screensavers in red and blue are available - their style matching the artwork of the DVD. Nice, but not really exciting.Four desktop motives are available to polish up your Windows system. They are available in 1024x768 and 800x600 resolution. Finally the obligatory links to U2.com and NGOs that are supported by U2 are featured. Exclusive weblinks are unfortunately missing.
You can read the entire review with screenshots also in english at .....,.."
By far the best live U2 release!
Dipl Ing Reicht Dietmar | 11/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a loyal fan since 1988. I've seen them live 8 times live (which is not a lot compared to some, but still a good amount) and own pretty much everything you can get your hands on. This show is by far one of the most emotional and powerful shows I have seen them perform. It is also the first time that I was brought to slight tears by watching a rock and roll video (understand that Bono's father passed away the week prior. ("Communication. Talk to each other.")) Even my friend's wife, who hates all concert videos in general, was drawn into this one (My friend said that he had never seen her do this before with a concert video). I won't go into all the details, you can read some of the prior reviews for that. I'm just a 15 year fan throwing in my hearty approval.Oh, this DVD is obviously much better than the televised version a year ago. That broadcast only played a few of the songs and interrupted them with endless commericals.Also, for those wondering why "Mysterious Ways" is included as a bonus feature...it is because the director felt that it did not fit with emotion of the rest of the concert. I agree with his decision. You do get to see Bono's daughter come on the stage at the end (Eve) which is fun."
U2 live and at their best.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 05/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen U2, and this DVD not only captures all the excitement of U2 playing at their best, it also ranks among the best live performance DVDs ever. Recorded in Ireland in 2001 (before the release of HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB), this concert proves that U2 is still the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world. Recorded in superb 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound and DTS Sound, this DVD rattles and hums, and is full of U2's unforgettable fire. Tracks include:
1. "Elevation" 2. "Beautiful Day" 3. "Until The End Of The World" 4. "New Year's Day" 5. "Out Of Control" 6. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" 7. "Wake Up Dead Man" 8. "Stuck In A Moment" 9. "Kite" 10. "Angel of Harlem" 11. "Desire" 12. "Staring at the Sun" 13. "All I Want Is You" 14. "Where The Streets Have No Name" 15. "Pride" 16. "Bullet The Blue Sky" 17. "With or Without You" 18. "One" 19. "Walk On" 20. "Mysterious Ways."
This DVD will not only appeal to any U2 fan, it sets the highest standard possible for what a live performance DVD should be.
WOW!! U2 HAS NEVER LOOKED OR SOUNDED BETTER!!!
Jedadiah Smith | 03/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a huge U2 fan, and have seen plenty of the dvds they have out. This by far is the best one out there. If you have boston, this is better. Heres a song by song review: 1.Elevation-Genius! The best oppening of a concert ever! 2.Beautiful Day-Awesome second song. Bono sounds awesome and Edge is the best backing vocalist of all time!! 3.Until The End Of The World- This is funny because on the second audio option before Edge's solo begins you hear some women scream Bono's name. 4.New Years Day-Another classic played very well. I love Edge's woooaah on this one, and the piano part too. 5.Out Of Control-This is where the concert goes from Good too great. This is an awesome rendition when Bono tells the story of the band. 6.Sunday Bloody Sunday-This song is all about drums for me!!(im a drummer). The drums sound so awesome on this song. Excellent!!! 7.Wake Up Dead Man-This song sounds awesome in standard tuning compared to half step down tuning, best performance of this one. 8.Stuck In A Moment-All I can say for this is Listen to Edge!! I cant help but laugh! I wonder if he realizes he sounds like a girl? 9.Kite-And after this, the concert explodes. Bono sounds great in this song!! It was written for his dad, which makes it even better. 10.Angel of Harlem-Another classic performed flawlessly and better than any other time. 11.Desire-WOW!! They really pulled this one out of the box. I love how Larry and Adam join Edge and Bono on the heart. 12.Staring at the sun-My only complaint, Stay would have been better, but this is good to. 13.All I Want Is You-I really like that Bono deicates the song to his wife. I thought that was cute and followed by an awesome performance of AIWIY. 14.Where The Streets Have No Name-Not many people know this but Bono's dad died a week before this, and this song explodes because of it. Bono really lets loose right from the start when he wails during Edge's intro. Drummer's note-This was Larry's best Bridge to the outro. 15.Pride-Well done. The Most key changed song. The key has been changed 3 times since The unforgettable fire tour. Very good performance. 16.Bullet The Blue Sky-I thought the performance of this song was awesome! U2 at their talented best. 17.With or Without You-This song is awesome, and sounds even better live! Excellentlly Performed!! 18.One-The only time I have almost cried because of a song. Truly a tearjerker. 19.Walk On-Excellent last song choice. They really do this one better live!
So lets review, awesome concert, awesome features, what more could you want. A must have for all U2 fans!"
More passion, less techno, rare tunes = best show yet
Matt Wagner | Lawton, Ok United States | 12/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a U2 fan and after reading all these reviews you haven't gotten the DVD, stop right now and get it! Seriously, watching a U2 show in front of their hometown fans forces them to raise the bar, and they deliver! This one reminded me of why I got into U2 in the first place - watching "Under a Blood Red Sky". Same intensity, but obviously captures them much farther along in their now historical career.True, it is mostly the Elevation Tour, but each song is delivered with noticeably more emotion - throw in the sad death of Bono's father and, to steal the phrase its easy to get, 'stuck in a moment'. Unlike the other concerts, rather than showcase new songs, this one only has 5 tunes (all of which made it to radio) from the latest project and brings back "New Years Day", "All I Want Is You", and even better "Out of Control" (Bono even alludes to their parents funding them $500 lbs to get a record deal). We're talking high energy from start to finish. Plus, the special feature of "Making the Unforgettable Fire" gives a very cool insight into the making and editing of "Pride". True mainstay live tunes "The Fly", "I Will Follow", and "Bad" would have made this complete, but hey, 20 (including Mysterious Ways) out of 23 aint bad. Beside, include those and why do you need the Elevation DVD? Heck, if nothing else, you get to see someone dump a beer on Bono. That's worth the $$$ isn't it?If you only buy one live performance from U2, this one is a no-brainer."