Review From u2tour.de
Patrick E. | Mason, OH USA | 11/08/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The standard DVD version comes with a "super jewel box", which is similar to a CD jewel case but in DVD format. The "Deluxe Edition" will probably come with the usual digipack cover which we are familiar with from the Boston and Slane Castle DVD.
The booklet contains 14 pages and is provided with live pictures of the band. The first two pages cover all Vertigo tour logos like a wallpaper: From the red "V" up to the atomic bomb which we all know from the merchandising items of the tour, it's all there. Page by page you will find words which, when put together, contain the message: "Don't become a monster in order to defeat a monster". The style of the booklet (with hand-drawn circles) and the cover paintings are similar to the "Deluxe Edition" of 'How to dismantle an atomic bomb'. Unfortunately the booklet does not live up to expectations and is scanty, containing 5 pictures and 10 words as well as some credits. We are curious to see whether the "Deluxe Edition" booklet provides the same. If so, that would be very disappointing.
The DVD is a mix of the Chicago concerts (dating 9th and 10th of May) from the Vertigo tour. The footage used comes primarily from the 10th of May (Bono's birthday), though there are some exceptions. The setlists of those two nights are almost identical with only the final song being different ('40' on the 9th and 'Vertigo' on the 10th; '40' was used for the DVD). The recording is almost complete with only 'Party Girl' missing on the DVD, which was played on both nights. The concert starts off with a very short 'Wake up' from Arcade Fire and segues into 'Everyone', which was used as the 1st leg intro.
On the bright side the DVD doesn't contain any copyright statements so you are able to start right away with the concert when putting it in a DVD player. Needless to say the DVD menu contains options for sound settings as well as a track selection. The duration of the DVD is 2 hours 19 minutes, which is unusually long for U2 standards.
U2 are playing in one of their favorite towns and you can tell. The four boys from Ireland seem very relaxed and are on fire performance wise. Especially Bono is full of energy, something one or the other might have missed during the EU concerts. There's no doubt that the B-Man pulls off a great show on his birthday, interacting and joking often with the crowd. Adam is full of smiles (no suprises there) but even Larry is caught with a smirk here and there. The crowd seems to be into this one as well: Driven by the birthday boy the fans pull off a far better performance than one might be used to from the American crowd.
The concert seems unedited: Bono's (long) speeches are included, as are most of the snippets ('Wake up', 'Bullet with butterfly wings', 'No regrets', and 'When Johnny comes marching home')! Only downer: There's no 'Blackbird' at the end of 'Beautiful day' and 'I can see for miles' during 'The Electric Co.'. Both weren't snippeted on the 10th, which is probably the reason they're missing on the DVD. No doubt that U2's own songs are on this one though: 'Stories for boys', 'Cry' and the small 'Please' snippet from 'Bullet the blue sky' are all included.
Something that is far more noticeable than on previous U2 live-recordings is that flaws from the band aren't edited out (Choosing to film both nights was not for nothing). Therefore you'll hear Edge making mistakes at times ('Miracle Drug' solo, start of '40', and 'Mysterious Ways' solo) and Bono mixing up some lyrics ('Love and Peace or Else' and 'Yahweh'), which makes the whole thing more likable and authentic. That's probably what the people in charge were thinking and, for instance, decided to go with an 'Elevation' version on the DVD where Bono is clearly struggling with a "frog in the throat". All in all the right decision not to make the convulsive attempt to make a perfect live recording (e.g. Popmart, where some flaws where edited). Mistakes are part of it - keep it that way.
Short summary: It is a typical Hamish Hamilton production. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is naturally a matter of opinion. Once again there are many fast cuts mixed with lots of spontaneous zooming in. Hamilton also suprises with some new camera angles, e.g. one camera which provides a bird's eye view over the main stage. This produces some nice close-ups on Edge's equipment and foot pedals. Larry (more precisely: Larry's cymbals) also gets lots of attention from the camera while shots of the whole main stage remain a rarity. People who didn't like the Boston DVD because of its stage-direction aren't gonna be great fans of this one neither, there are plenty of (often blurry) close-ups of hands, guitars and the drums.
Some of the shots were made on same height as the GA fans, which leads to many waving hands (including countless mobile telephones) being shown in the foreground. Some (light)-effects, which should add a certain creativity to the shooting, are rather disturbing at some points.
Besides all this it has to be said that the recording seems far more lively this time compared to Hamiltons Boston production.
Some dodgy cuts are again subject to criticism:
- There is almost no pause between 'Vertigo' and 'Elevation', with only 2 seconds elapsing between those tracks. You see Edge changing his guitar in one scene while the intro-riff is already starting; next thing you know Edge is standing in front of the microphone.
- During 'Elevation' you see (at least once clearly!) that picture and sound don't match! Min:sec 13:52 - 13:54 - You hear Bono singing the 'Elevation' intro, but not so in the cut.
The video format is 16:9.
The DVD is again released in 3 different sound formats: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. A detailled report to the sound quality will be available very soon.
Unfortunately the double DVD isn't available yet. We will report about the extras as soon as we get it. You can see some screenshots of the menus. They are all animated and there is some sound in the background.
A real treat for fans of old U2
William A. Schooling | Alta Loma, Ca United States | 10/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having not seen this dvd yet, but having seen a 3& 1/2 - 4 minuet promo for the dvd, it appears the sound quality will be amazing. If you're a fan of early U2 this is a must buy simply for the inclusion of The Electric Co. and An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart. The promo contained footage of Vertigo, Beautiful Day, The Electric Co., One & Where The Streets Have No Name. The filming looks great with great visuals and almost every U2 album is represented (with the exceptions of Rattle & Hum, Zooropa & Pop). There will be 2 discs, disc one the concert & disc two bonus features. The concert setlist is as follows:
City Of Blinding Lights
The Cry / The Electric Co.
An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart
New Year's Day
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
Love & Peace Or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running To Stand Still
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Where The Streets Have No Name
All Because Of You
Original Of The Species
-Beyond The Tour - Documentary directed by Erica Forstadt
-Survalence Cuts - Love & Peace Or Else, An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart, The Cry / The Electric Co., Running To Stand Still - Concept direction & photography by Willie Williams
-Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own - Alternate Video directed by Phil Joanou
Despite what you might read here - a great DVD!
R. Long | Florida | 11/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was surprised when I first saw that the average rating for this DVD was at 3.5 stars. After reading some of the negative reviews I want to offer some alternative opinions before anyone decides not to get this DVD.
Some have described the show as a "comparatively stripped-down stage production". Vertigo was certainly not as elaborate as ZooTV or as over the top as Pop, but stripped-down it was not. The video curtains were amazing and especially effective during City of Blinding Lights and Streets. The lighting of the Vertigo ellipse was unique and the fact that U2 was able to tap into the video message boards around the United Center made the show even more visually interesting.
Some have complained about the quality of the sound. I must have gotten a different DVD than others. The sound is superb. Ironically, it is so good that you do lose a certain sense of "liveness". Thankfully, a few bad notes and scratchy vocals were left in to remind you that you are watching a live concert. One reviewer writes that Bono's voice was much better on the Boston Elevation DVD. His voice was horrible in Boston. Go back and watch the DVD again.
One reviewer commented that "Bono understandably looks heavier and wearier than in days past". I personally am glad to see that at least one rock star is willing to age. "Look honey, Bono has a gut just like me!"
I think the editing is well done. Very few jump cuts, interesting views from above, a few peeks at the Edge's gear and only a few songs marred by my least favorite shot - the view from the crowd. Sunday Bloody Sunday particularly suffers from the "snake pit" shot. I do agree with some that the audience seemed lifeless. I think that is an editing issue rather than a crowd problem. I also think the arena could have been miced better to record the many sing-alongs. Whoever wrote that the video looked like a grainy handicam needs to invest in a new DVD player.
The setlist? There are always some folks who don't get to see the songs they wanted or don't like the treatment of certain songs. Me too. I was at one of the Garden shows and wish that they had flown Mary J. Blige to Chicago to include her amazing rendition of One which we enjoyed in New York. Bono's ability to sing Pavarotti's portions of Miss Sarajevo is amazing. Not included in the Chicago shows. But I did enjoy seeing the songs from Achtung Baby that I didn't see live - Zoo Station and The Fly in particular. U2 has a huge collection of great songs. They could never fit them all into the two shows filmed for this DVD. My favorite of all - "They not only deny (the) Pop Mart Tour (their most fantastic and successful ever), but also U2 deny the whole Pop era." Um, Pop was a horrible album compared to all of the others. That tour almost bankrupted the band due to it's enormous expense and dwindling ticket sales as word got out how uniquely horrible the show was. I'm as big a U2 fan as anyone, but I almost walked out of the stadium during that one.
I won't even comment on the complaints about Bono's speeches. Anyone who has followed U2 and has seem them live before should know to expect (and I think embrace) that part of the evening.
If you are a U2 fan, or someone who is just interested in great rock shows, this DVD belongs in your collection. Enjoy.
Rob Rindler | 11/17/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Disappointing sums up the review. Way too much camera changing. You get very few shots of the whole band just playing. Jumps constantly from one shot to the next. I had watched it and then the wife and I watched it together. After the second song she asked "why does the camera angle have to keep changing". Wow. If she can pick up the problem it must be troublesome.
The song selection is terrific. I saw the show in Chicago in Sept and really looked forward to the DVD. Unfortunately our seats were behind the stage. This view isnt much better. Sorry Paul."