This is great stuff. Much better than the 'big' DVD release from last year, Live in Boston. 'Boston' was just too gimmicky and too self-conscious with some bits falling flat, like Bono's 'Joey Ramone'intro to In A Little While, and simply wasting songs like With or Without You. 'Go Home' is much more direct, much more honest, with great, almost 'straight to camera' delivery, of a better range of songs including fabuluous renditions of classics such as Out of Control. Definitely a case of less equals more. Enjoy.
When I heard that this show was going to be released as a DVD, I was a little apprehensive. There was already a DVD issued from the Elevation tour and feared fans might find a home town event too parochial. So many events conspired to make this show truly unique. Slane Castle has been host to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Guns n' Roses, Thin Lizzy, Queen, Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers (this year, and whose slane DVD is due 1 week after this one) but was never headlined by U2 until 2001. The first Slane show on August 25th sold out in 10 minutes, 80000 tickets in 10 minutes. The result was that a second show had to be held. This meant that planning permission had to be pushed through very quickly by the Irish government. The setting for the concert is unique and magnificent. The hill outside the castle is a natural amphitheatre. The castle itself was lit up with various colours throughout the show. Behind the castle lies the river Boyne, the setting for the 1690 battle that has left so much emotional baggage between the 2 people who share the island of Ireland. The 2 other events that make this show equally jubilant and emotional is fact the Bono was in mourning over the death of his father. The funeral was the eve of the first Slane show. However, the truly magnificent event that had the crowd on a high all day was the World cup qualifier held that afternoon in Dublin. The 2nd half of the match was screened to the Slane audience. A chance of an Irish victory was slim and was further reduced when Ireland where reduced to 10 men. Imagine the ecstasy of the crowd when Jason Mc Ateer hammered home the only goal of the game to knock the mighty Dutch out of the world cup and keep Ireland on the path to the world cup. These 2 events are so apparent during a lot of the banter with the crowd. 'Kite' is dedicated to his father Bob Hewson, Bono changes the words of beautiful day to 'beautiful goal' in reference to Jason Mc Ateer's wonder goal. (He did dedicate 'One' to Jason Mc Ateer, but this was edited out for one reason or another, most obvious one being the scope of Mc Ateer's fame, the other may have been an attempt to ease the suffering of Dutch U2 fans). Other highlights include, Sunday Bloody Sunday, in which Bono recalls the names of the victims of the 1998 Omagh bombing. This is quite powerful as it helps to humanise the victims instead of making them statistics of a bloody outrage. The Boyne river in the background makes the message even more potent and relevant. Bullet the blue sky is brilliant. The introduction by Sinead O Connor is inspired. However they did leave out the Charlton Heston footage at the end of the song. The only cringe-worthy shot is Bono's Ireland flag waving moment, however considering the days events, he does go out of his way to explain its 'just once, just once for Jason Mc Ateer' and not some jingoistic retarded nationalistic jesture. 'Mysterious ways' was taken from the main track selection and placed on the DVD as a bonus track. No idea why, but its a great tune made all the better by Bono's daughter accompanying him on stage. Likewise he dedicates 'All I want is you' to his wife Ali. Bono also summons up their early days with a rendition of their first single 'Out of control'. During which he recounts the story of raising the 2000 pounds necessary to fund the band and how the band decided to stay and live in Dublin with 'the tribe'. This is a truly unique, excellent and uplifting DVD that all U2 fans will enjoy and which U2 themselves will find difficult to replicate again.
The Packaging 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 Content The 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 Concert The 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 Picture The 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 Sound This 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 Tracks The 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.
Having been a huge U2 fan for many years, I jumped at the chance to own this DVD when it came out, and to this day I still don't regret it. In fact I still watch the concert from start to finish at least once a month - it never gets boring, it never loses it's impact, and always leaves me wanting more. Recorded only days after the burial of Bono's father, in the band's home town of Dublin, in front of their "tribe" (as Bono describes the crowd), just after Ireland's international football team had qualified for the 2002 World Cup finals, this is, as you would imagine, a rollercoaster of emotion from start to finish. From the rousing opening song 'Elevation', to the quiet, reflective 'Wake Up Dead Man', the deeply heartfelt and emotional 'Kite' (dedicated to Bono's father), the steamroller performance of the anthem 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' ending with Bono's tribute to all those who lost their lives in the Omagh bombing (this brings a tear to my eye every time I watch it), and the final, triumphant 'Walk On', this concert serves as a reminder of just how amazing U2 are, how much they love their country, and how much they love their fans. Every performance is nigh on perfect - Bono's raw but beautifully melodic vocals are, as always, brilliant, and his on-stage antics are a joy to watch, the Edge's catchy riffs and soulful solos are expertly timed, perfectly executed and always have the perfect tone to compliment each song (this might have something to do with the fact that he gets through about fifteen guitars throughout the concert!), Adam Clayton's bass provides solid textural and tonal support throughout, and Larry Mullens Jr's drumming is nothing short of inspirational, always keeping the group perfectly together and incorporating his own unique rhythms, techniques, fills and solos into each song. 'U2 Go Home' is live music at it's very best, and not only should every U2 fan own it - every music fan should own it. I guarantee, the hairs on the back of your neck will never be the same again.
Absolutely magnificent DVD, my favourite U2 release. The setlist is a perfect as you will ever get, powerful and emotional all in 2 hours. Bono dedicating Kite to his 'old man' days after his passing is as emotional as you will see. Brilliant.
To make it clear: I'm a huge U2 fan, own most of their CD's, also their other live performances.
This live DVD contains the live performance of the Elevation Tour in front of the irish people from U2's home nation.
To put it short: It is great! Nothing less. As usual the tracklist is very long, 19 tracks, mixing both older and newer stuff. If you compare it to the Vertigo DVD, it is a much more humble and hearttaking performance. Bono's voice is great and clear. Comparing it to the corresponding Live from Boston DVD, the audience is larger and create a great atmosphere.
You could argue, that it misses some of U2's great tracks, like 'bad' a.o., however the concert is long enough to be worth the money. And you will find the greatest performance of 'one'. The bridge between 'all i want is you' and 'where the streets...' is genious, and in general they make no errors.
So, are you thinking of buying it, do so. No disappointment. I prefer it among all U2's live DVD's.
I watched this the minute it came in the door. I took a directors eye to it and started to tut at the amount of cuts and jumping from camera to camera that went on in the first song. I bitched a bit about how the steady-cam switch wasn't on but the thing is, whoever did the editing is a real U2 fan and didn't want us to miss a thing, maybe he got a bit too excited at the start but he/she didn't want us to miss a smirk on Bono's face or a glance from the Edge to check what's goin' on. It's an Irish gig (and about "effin" time too gawd damnit). I've seen U2 in a few places around the world and nowhere compares to the Irish shows and I promise you I'm not being sentimental. I booed them in NYC 2001, don't tell on me but just 10 days after the Elevation Boston DVD was taped they were awful and I booed because I'm primative like that, when it's good I cheer and when it sucks I boo! In this show they don't depend on camera angles to make it look exciting, there was actually 80,000 mad bastar... err... I mean lunatics... err I mean fans there. I know, I was there! The band makes a lot of mistakes. I like this because it's U2 doing a live performance and not the well choreographed and reviewed shows like in Boston, they're just little things that let you know there's real people up there which helps it all add up to a truly live show. Bonus... Die hard fans know you can buy a video called "The unforgetable fire". it's a sucky little documentary about the stuff they were doing back then but the point is that it's here free, so that's a little sumtin extra. The other extras include a PC desktop calendar that's wrong; the same gig dates appear year after year after year, so whoever programmed that deserves the bullet. There's other PC BS, screensavers etc, good that they put in the effort but does nothing for me. I want to give it 5/5 so badly but to be honest the camera work and the editing is a bit shady so it has to get a wee slap. Don't worry about the picture or sound quality, the important stuff is 100%. The last word... Buy it, fan or no, you'll enjoy this concert!