Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oh, you look so beautiful....

Several friends wondered why I wasn't at the IMAX Theater at the Mall of Asia for the first screening of U23D. Man, they sure remember me in high school for carrying a torch for this band when Boy first came out. But we saved the best for the last screening and the verdict is this film certainly is the best rock concert film ever (shot during their Latin American Tour in support of How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)and will change the way bands do their live productions from now on. It's as if you Bono's about to baptize in the name of Jesus and rock 'n roll. And Edge really is given prominence (as if he isn't already) with all these cameras trained on the band and the crowd. Oh yeah, great great crowd from Buenos Aires (if you're into band concerts you should check out the Cure's Paris concert/album. That frakkin makes my hair stand up especially on "Play for Today").

When Rattle & Hum first came out, the only way I or any other U2 fan not living outside this country could view the film was by going to Quiapo to buy the betamax copy for a then princely 100 bucks. The tape has since oxidized but I did pick up the DVD years later when it came out. Phil Joanou directed this film which was shot almost entirely in black and white. In case you all want to know Joanou's most recent film it was The Gridiron Gang starring the Rock about Sean Porter who successfully puts up a prison football team that helps rehabilitate juvenile offenders.

Rattle & Hum remains a fave and I have almost every U2 concert DVD including my now former all-time fave -- Live from Milan concert during the Vertigo World Tour. That DVD preps me for U23D since it finds the band superbly in form with Bono's voice strong and rich (unlike the Elevation 2001 Live from Boston film where the frontman's voice is scruffy and weak).

The band's music is the touchstone soundtrack for those weaned on 80's music and who are all grown up today. If you can't afford the expensive tickets to a regular U2 concert, U23D is your all access pass.

Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington do a great job of directing this film and bringing the U2 experience to those who haven't seen the band live. There are more than a dozen cameras trained on the band, the stage, and the audience and the 3D format literally bring you to the thick of things. Great use of effects and also with those messages that play a prominent role in their live shows. Unlike during the Pop Mart Tour which was a monument to excess, U2 makes use of a simpler stage design but with creative use of lights and visuals. Whoever dreamed this up ought to be paid fab.

If you're one to stay to read the credits (as I always am), then you will have seen the band perform a stripped down version of "Yahweh" (from the Vertigo album). A novel way of ending their series of concert films and every bit as comparable to the way U2 ended Under A Blood Red Sky with "40" and Live at Milan with "With or Without You." In their Vertigo Live from Chicago DVD, they also end "40" where the Edge towards the end trades his guitar for a bass duet with Adam Clayton. If you haven't seen these scenes then get a move on, dammit!

First the conquered the world through their music. Now they try to heal it. As I told Mai, there are only two artists who have attempted to do this with their music -- Bob Marley and the Wailers and U2. And these four lads from Dublin, Ireland are worthy caretakers and torchbearers of what Marley helped start.

And U23D is definitely a great viewing experience where they hope their message leaves a lasting impression on you aside from the visceral light and sound.


The U218 Deluxe Limited Edition contained a bonus DVD of Live from Milan.

U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky was top of mind for many a U2 afficionado when it came to concerts. U23D just eclipsed that.

My U2 Mix-tape (my all-time fave songs and not in order):
- Angel of Harlem
- New Year's Day
- In God's Country
- 11 O'clock Tick Tock
- An Cat Dubh/Out of Control
- Another Time Another Place
- I Will Follow
- Two Hearts Beat As One
- 40
- Pride (In the Name of Love)
- Three Sunrises
- Bad
- With or Without You
- The Sweetest Thing
- Stay (Faraway, So Close)
- All I Want Is You
- Beautiful Day
- Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
- Elevation
- Even Better Than the Real Thing
- Zoo Station
- One
- A Sort of Homecoming
- Drowning Man
- City of Blinding Lights
- Vertigo
- Silver and Gold
- Ms. Sarajevo
- Tomorrow
- Electric Co.
- Gloria

Regarding "Three Sunrises" which came from the EP Wideawake in America, I wonder why they hardly perform this song when it's every bit a high energy song. I liken it to Oasis' "Acquiese." A B-side song that should have been a single.

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