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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If I could give it 3.5 stars I would..., 6 Jun 2010
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This review is from: U2 360° At The Rose Bowl (2DVD Deluxe Edition) [2010] [NTSC] (DVD)
I am giving my opinions here as a U2 fan who went to the 1st Wembley 360 gig last year. And as the owner of 30+ concert DVD's (including 6 U2 concerts).

Starting with the good: The 2nd 'Extra's' disk is great, with some really good stuff on it especially the main 360 documentary. I would give this extra content disk 5 stars. But it's the inclusion of one thing on this extra content disk that is the start of my unhappiness with the main concert film on disk 1...

The 'bonus' track of Breathe on disk 2 is as all U2 fans know the opening song of the 360 shows. The song signals the entrance of the band 1 by 1 (Larry first starting up the drums, then Mr Clayton then Edge and finally Bono). And adding to it's importance is the music and video sequence just prior to this. David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' starts up and their is a little U2 backing piece called 'Soon' that follows it combined with a clock countdown that fires up on the big 360 video screen. This is a REALLY big and important opening to the show that sets the scene and excitement - but not only is it missing from this bonus track Breathe, but it is missing from the start of the main concert film which instead has been given the opening song as 'Get On Yer Boots' (boooo...... worst song on the NLOTH CD).

Why boys, why? Why have you taken a scalpel to this important bit of the concert? I think I speak for most U2 fans when I say I'd rather ditch the weak GOYB for Breath. And even if you did have to have GOYB instead of the much better Breath for disk running time purposes (can't see why but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt) then ok. But you've really ruined the opening of the concert by not having the aforementioned Bowie/Soon clock countdown.

Ok, so got that off my chest. But it gets worse. The editing of GOYB is a total abortion job. What was the editing team on for this first song? Acid? There are so many camera edits, changing rapidly from one cut to the next and so quickly that you only see a few seconds of one of the band before flying off to another shot. I'm not kidding when I say that it actually made me feel nauseous. And I've never had that sensation before. A Tears for Fears concert DVD was the worst i'd seen before - but this is in a different league. Truly awful editing in my opinion.

Now the good news. Strangely this lousy editing only lasts for that one song. By the time the 2nd song gets going the editing team have calmed down (or the effects of the acid tablet they had taken have worn off :) ). For the rest of the show the editing is better and the camera changes much slower. It's not in my opinion the best U2 concert representation I've seen though by any stretch. Even the Vertigo tour DVD from Chicago is superior, and the Vertigo Milan and Elevation Boston show are streets ahead. In fairness to the director I think the 360 show was probably a big challenge to shoot. There must have been a difficulty in getting such a huge stage with the distances involved recorded in a way to give some kind of show intimacy like the live audience had. So I'll give them the benefit of the doubt!

Some other criticisms:

The awesome majesty of the 360 stage spaceship is not really shown until way too far into the show. I would have liked to have seen more distant shots showing it's scale and things like the vertical lasers and the top of spire mirrorball. You don't really appreciate from the concert film the technical masterpiece that Willie Williams and Mark Fisher created for the boys. For example the Unforgettable Fire / City Of Blinding Lights / Vertigo segment when the video screen decends is not as spectacular as shown as it was in reality.

The film stock they have used is a bit too grainy. The performance was HD shot, but comparing the quality of the video here to the awesome quality of the recent Killers & Police concert DVD releases it falls far short of the best.

The U2 'baby' spaceman menu intervention between encores is silly and needless.

A minor one this, but the pictures in the booklet are also naff quality. Again they are grainy and lack clarity and focus. Not in a good way like if Anton Corbijn does them, but in an amature way like if I had taken the photos myself! Come on Tara Mullen - please pull your socks up with regards the quality of the packaging & presentation. It's not good enough for a band like U2 (the richest band in the world to boot) to have cheap packaging.

Ok, so that's me done moaning. Here are the good points:

The audio recording mix is really good. It has a rawness to it that I've never heard on a U2 concert DVD before. It's like they've decided to not over-process the sound in post-production and that's great IMO. You can hear Edge's guitar in a more intimate way than before - warts and all. That's appreciated.

The songs are great of course (notwithstanding the slightly naff GOYB). It' great to hear The Unforgettable Fire. In fact that trio segment of Unforgettable Fire / City Of Blinding Lights / Vertigo is an awesome one and real highlight. THe epic Moment of Surrender is a spine tingler too (why was it not the 1st single boys... Should have been brave and released as Brian Eno said).

Also uber cool is Bono and THAT JACKET in Ultraviolet! Fricken' Lazers man, in a coat! Only he could pull that off.

Another great shot is when the helicopter filming the show flies right across another highup camera. An amazing image that.

So to my star ratings:
Packaging - 3
Concert film - 3.5 (would have been a 4 but for the unforgivable butchering of the opening of the show)
Extra content disk - 5

So that averages out at around 3.5 / 4 - and as three stars is too harsh I will give it 4. But if there was any way I could do 3.5 I would.

The bottom line for me is that this concert has not been edited/filmed in a way that is either sympathetic or representative of what was an awesome live experience - and as such it is in no way U2's finest concert on film.

I'll happily go and put on my flame-proof jacket now - can I have some lazers in it please to cushion the blows that doubtless are about to come my way ;)
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Jun 2010 16:35:51 BDT
Nick Brett says:
A very fair review, I saw the Wembley gig and "Breath"made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, what on Earth made them decide not to put this on the DVD...........
Nick

Posted on 14 Jun 2010 13:10:43 BDT
A very fair review, especially in comparison with previous U2 live releases. To clarify, or perhaps to suggest a reason for the butchering of 'Breathe', I can only assume its due to some form of red tape licensing/copyright/royalties issue because I recall on the 'Elevation' tour the introduction was the Beatles' Sgt Pepper and that was also omitted from the official release. Nonetheless, for anyone who was privileged enough to witness 360 live, it is a diabolical omission and takes away from the majestic opening of the show.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2010 14:47:36 BDT
Dm Blackwell says:
You may well be right there EotF. But I find it hard to believe that U2 with all their clout could not have made it happen if they really wanted it too. After all, isn't Bowie a friend of theirs? The Vertigo tour kicked off with an opening song by Arcade Fire I remember. And that song made it on to the Chicago DVD.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2010 20:52:40 BDT
M.T. says:
Trust me as a mega David Bowie fan of 38 years I can confirm there is much red tape to go through before anyone is allowed to use David Bowie's work in any shape or form and only then is it subjected to db's say so. Bowie jealously guards his work / material to such and extent that his fans of many years are literally tearing their hair out waiting for things to be released from the supposed David Bowie vaults. Bowie has probably put the block on Space Oddity being used in this U2 DVD for reasons best known only to db and his team regardless of whether he is a friend of U2 or not.

As for this DVD of U2, I'm only a casual fan of the band who bought this DVD after seeing the concert on TV, my casual fans verdict is whilst it might not be the best U2 DVD out there according to die hard U2 fans I personally think it's magnificent.

Posted on 27 Sep 2010 09:15:14 BDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2010 20:59:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Oct 2010 11:53:44 BDT
Dm Blackwell says:
Thanks Ramsey - I see what you do with the rubbishing reviews mate. So many of them written to tempt people in to bite. Don't worry chum.... I don't care about your opinion so I won't ;)

Enjoy your fishing though.
Cheers.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2010 22:23:52 BDT
They are facts not opinions. Bono is evil.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Oct 2010 13:23:46 BDT
Norcs says:
If you don't care, then why react?? Just ignore??

And for the record, they only had 2 good songs.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2010 22:36:25 BDT
Dm Blackwell says:
I said I would not react to his opinions of U2. And I didn't or won't as I don't give a monkeys what anyone else thinks about them.
By the way, as I'm having fun with you two now - You and Ramsey seem to be linked through multiple threads on Amazon. So are you:

a): One and the same person (maybe different sides of a schzoid...)?
b): A (gay) couple
c): Just good friends

What's the deal there Norcs?

Posted on 6 Aug 2011 23:42:14 BDT
M.B. says:
"Breathe" ended up on the bonus disc because Bono cocked up the lyrics on the night, so they had to use a different perforamnce.
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