I won't say it's the best U2 concert on film ever, but I personally think it's as good as any other. Just seeing the extravagance of Popmart again is a real joy. I don't think we will see it's like ever again. I mean, the amazing mirrorball lemon, the Mc D's influenced arch and that huge video wall with it's Roy Lichtenstein animations. Truly stunning. The 'Pop' album may be flawed, but the tour and this era of U2 wasn't the lemon that some say it was. History will be kind I think, and this DVD records a band at their most playful and musically inventive.
The band are clearly having a blast in the OTT world they have created on stage. It's almost as if in response to those po-faced fans/journo's that were trying to make U2 feel ashamed of the Pop album and the subsequent tour the band actually revel in it all, and make the most of what they had created - two fingers up to the critics and all that....
The main concert has been cleaned up visually and sonically to as good a standard as you can expect for a 1997 filmed show. It really looks/sounds great for those with nice A/V gear.
But it's the bonus DVD (and the packaging) that shine for me. Some U2 2-disc sets have disappointed (Vertigo, Chicaco anyone..). But not here. The band and the exec produced Tara Mullen (Larry's sis) have clearly put a lot of love and attention in to the whole package, in particular the bonus disc which has lots of great stuff on it. You can feast yourself on as much Popmart as you can handle quite frankly! The Popmart shopping game is cool.. it's like your own personal Generation Game conveyor belt.
The packaging is great too. I mean, in the spirit of Popmart you even get a pop-up The Edge to marvel at ;) Nice.
So all in all a great 2 disc set here. The best yet from Dublins finest. One curiosity though..... When you select in-store security camera content from the bonus disc you get this weird homemade video featuring this couple in Dublin. It's set to music with Karaoke words on screen! What the hell is that all about boys!
10 summers ago, inside a grey football stadium in North London, I was wowed and thrilled by U2's bleeding edge "PopMart" presentation. Unlike anything the world had seen before - or since - the worlds largest television screen, the worlds only 40 foot travelling disco mirrorball lemon, and the world's then biggest band were a nearly unstoppable combination. At the time, faced with the rise of Britpop and the uncertain musical climate - where U2 hadn't been famous quite long enough to be cemented as Dinosaurs of Longevity - and some poor opening shows on the tour, "PopMart" saw U2 on the commercial skids (playing to a third-full stadiums in the USA) and fighting for their lives. As a result, 2001's subsequent "Elevation Tour" saw the band stepping back from this musical limb, performing a less ambitious stage, playing and exploring with more traditional styles.
After ten years away from DVD (ideally this should have been U2's first released on the format in early 1998), "PopMart" is ripe for critical reappraisal. Set free of baffled criticism from dunderhead writers scared of intelligence and ambition, time has been kind to "PopMart". "PopMart" was a fantastic, gutsy tour. Musically the band were moving at the cutting edge of technology and a pioneering vision. The show neatly blends U2's earnest political hectoring - at that time Bono had yet to bore the entire world with his ambitions to be world leader - with a playful, and excellent deconstruction of the nature of fame, capitalism and consumerism to create an irreverent, intelligent, compelling experience.
Visually and sonically, "PopMart" has never been better. Images are sharp and concise, the sound is clear and spotless. Clearly, this is a vast improvement upon the 1988 VHS and VCD releases. The editing style is never confusing, and manages to accurately convey the sense of woah! that sharing a field with The PopMartHeadFkExtravaganza was. In concert, the sometimes under-realized material on the "Pop" record is extrapolated to its full potential - songs like "gone", "Mofo" and "Please" are approximately several thousand times more effective and engaging than the sometimes staid and flat studio versions.
Conisseurs will plump for 2 disc DVD deluxe edition : thankfully this manages to far outweigh the fluff-and-nonsense watch-once-and-file bonus materials on the "Elevation", "Vertigo" and "Zoo TV" discs with material designed to do something more than merely fleece the faithful. There are 8 bonus live cuts from Edmonton and Rotterdam (sadly all duplicating songs on the main feature, thereby ignoring shows such as Santiago and Johannesburg that were broadcast on TV and featured songs not on either of these discs), several rather interesting backstage features and interviews, and some other random bits and pieces. There is also a frankly useless video for "Last Night In Hell". Whilst trainspotters could rightly lament the lack of "Working In A PopMart (The Roadies)" and "A Year In Pop" that are both easily available - and that there is easily space on the disc for - there is no sense of being shortchanged on the extras.
Overall "PopMart" captures U2 at the apex of their 'weird' years, providing a convincing and excellent performance in a brave and bold setting that is both visually interesting and musically exciting, reflecting the spirit of the then defiant U2 as they explored new territories. One could argue that PopMart was the last time that U2 were edgy or truly adventurous - and this DVD captures them right at the edge of their journey on the deep edges of discotheque deep space.
This concert is interesting in some ways. The amazing set and colours must be seen to be believed. The crowd is great as well, as are the band. The only problem is Bono's voice. Frankly, it's awful. From the sixth song you can hear it starting to give out, ruining Pride (In the Name of Love), With or Without You, and some others. Desire is a mess as well. If you want to see a great spectacle, get this DVD. If you want to hear great renditions of songs, get Rattle and Hum, Slane Castle, or Live in Sydney. This is the U2 that considered splitting the band up if their next album wasn't a success (luckily it was). The songs from Pop aren't the best either, although Mofo is a classic. In short, it's good for the hardcore fan like me, but not for the type who wants to buy just the one U2 concert.
Packaging The promo release is only a double jewelcase with disc 1(wich contains the show) and disc 2(bonus material). Disc 1 The show start as all the other U2 dvd's, immediately after putting the disc in the player.
Picture There is a real improvement on the picture compare to the vhs release. The picture are much sharper and has much better colours. Seeing the dvd on a normal tv works very good. But if you have a very good Plasma/Lcd it is easy to find pixles in the picture.
Sound Well, here you will find a big difference from the vhs release. The options is PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and ofcourse DTS 5.1 sourround. The sound is very warm and and much clearer then the vhs. You can realy hear Bono's voice much better and clearer, wich was a problem on the vhs. The volume mix between music and crowd are excellent. I think the vhs release didnt have the capacity to show how good the show was with the big screen on stage and the sound techniques. It was an unfair release, but the dvd finally gives the show a fair presentation. The show This show is togheter with Rotterdam, Sarajevo and Santiago the best show on the tour. The band is on a very playfull mode. The songs are very good played. A lot of fans has been worried about Bono's voice on this show. For people who don't know Bono had serious problem with his voice durning this tour. His voice is a bit weak on this one, but that makes the show even better. He puts so much emotion to his singing durning the show. The show starts with an amazing version of "Mofo", wich immediately drives the crowd mad. The crowd are very good and loud on this show. The versions on the songs from Pop on this show compare to the album version is huge, a real improvement. You can hear it on "Gone", "Last Night On Earth", "Please"... The version on New Years Day on this show is one of the best ever, Desire gets a very funny feel, Edge does an acustic version on Sunday Bloody Sunday and also sings the whole song. On Bullet The Blue Sky Bono comes on stages with a military outfit and an umbrella with a Usa flag on it in his hand. After that song one of the biggest highlights of the show starts, In the end of "Please" Bono starts to sing in a beautiful falsetto and slowly the song shift into "Where The Streets Has No Name". After that the band goes of stage and a dance mix of "Lemon" is playing in the speakers. The Lemon starts to move out over the crowd and then stops. Then the Lemon opens and U2 goes down from the stage and starting play Discotheque. The version of "With Or Without You" is a very emotional one, mainly by Bono's voice. Wich is weak on the song . Another emotional moment are the version of "One", the song is dedicated to Michael Hutchence from INXS. Michael died just two weaks before this show. The songs ends with "Wake Up Dead Man"
Bonus disc The menus on the Bonus disc got a very nice MART feel The bonus material are very interesting. Live shows 1997-07-18 - Rotterdam On this show Bono's voice is very strong. Amazing versions of "Please", Where The Streets Has No Name" and "If You Wear That Velvet Dress". But why didnt the dvd also contain the fantastic version of Staring At The Sun from the same show? 1997-06-14 - Edmonton Only filmed with one camera? Good versions on Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, Mysterious Ways and a excellent version of One. You can hear that this is more earlier in the tour on Bono. His voice is much more stable and clearer on this show. Documentaries: Lemon For Sale Commerical for the lemon The Road To Sarajevo This one is different from the the Documentary on the Best Of 90-00. It contains more footage from the Sarajevo concert. The songs that are showed are Where The Streets Has No Name and Even Better The The Real Thing. A Tour Of The Tour Lead by Paul Paul mcguinness Last Night On Earth A Documentary about the making of the video to the song.
PopMart Tour Visuals Montage A mix of fooatge and music from the tour.
I had the pleasure of witnesing Popmart at Leeds in 1997 and the very next day i was phoning Island records to see if it would be released on video as it was a amazing concert.It took a few years to come out,and when it did i added it to my collection.I have been longing for Popmart to be re-mastered on to DVD for ages and now it has,and it is better than ever.This DVD really does the sound justice,at the live concert on the night it was fantastic,and now on this DVD it lives up to that night!If you have a surround system get it on to the DTS setting or 5.1 and crank it up!!The bonus disc is also a credit,with Lemon for sale and a tour of the tour well worth watching. At the time (1997) Popmart was slated as U2 going overboard and believing in there own hype to much,but watching it now in 2008,they were ahead of there time with this and credit to them for giving it to us. Popmart is open for buisness! Well worth a visit!
in my opinion, this gig is on par with ZOO TV from sydney. visually stunning, a great atmosphere & a wicked set list. the opening few tracks still get me pumped! the extras on the bonus disc are enjoyable as well. about time it came out on DVD.
This is the best ever U2 concert video, taken from their Popmart tour. It contains excellent versions of some old classics and is the only official U2 concert release to feature Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me. The new DTS 5.1 surround sound mix should make this concert sound even better than the real thing!