Friday, 23 September 2011

2010 June - U2 360 at the Rose Bowl DVD Review

I had pre-ordered the Deluxe version of the 360 at the Rose Bowl DVD and was surprised to see it pop through my letter box yesterday!  So last night I sat down with a glass of red wine and watched disc one.  I was a bit worried what I would think about it as I had not been that impressed by the hour long highlights shown on Sky TV earlier in the week.  I haven't mentioned every song and my review is my initial impressions, I haven't sat and thought about it, it's just the impressions and feelings I got while watching.

Get On Your Boots starts the show,  I realise that I really don't like this song very much now, it seems kind of clumsy.  Magnificent was next - this is a song that definitely should start the show, it's perfect for that.  The audience was a bit subdued to say the least and Bono worked hard to motivate them and shouted, "Get off your fat asses."  LOL! 

Beautiful Day was well received and Bono added at bit of God's Country at the end which was a nice touch.  Again Bono worked hard to get the audience going in Mysterious Ways.  He introduced the band, Larry was U2's James Dean, Adam, Rhett Butler - "Suave, sophisticated, frequently gone with the wind", a reference to Adam's problem with wind .  Edge was a "Visitor from outer space" who boldly goes where no other guitar player goes, "Mr Spock to us, the Edge to you."  He described himself as a mixture between Arnie Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, which besides the lack of height I didn't really get.

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For was a special moment, as often happens the audience took over the singing, I think that was the point the crowd finally got into the concert.  I got that warm, fuzzy feeling I often get a U2 concerts when something special is happening that is beyond the music.  Why does this song affect people so?  I think it's because it touches a nerve deep within, across all borders, we are all searching for something, we are all striving, so can relate to this song. 

Bono called out "Buzz Aldrin's in the house, the second man to walk on the moon."  2009 was the 40th anniversary of the first men on the moon. 

Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of  was lovely, a quiet acoustic version - there was a funny interchange between Bono and Edge at the beginning.

Next was No Line on the Horizon  and seeing this confirmed it is definitely my favourite song from the last album.  energetic, a bit raw round the edges, I love when Bono just blasts out a song like that.  Love the bit where the band come crashing in again at "Traffic cop...." fab.

Elevation was another the audience liked, but it is not one of my favourite U2 songs.  Liked the bit Bono put on the end,  females fans will enjoy it LOL!

I really enjoyed In a Little While though it is not a favourite song of mine.  There were views of the earth from space and the International Space Station on the claw screens which worked really well with the song.  At the end Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne recited some lines of the song, which again was very appropriate with lyrics such as "A man takes a rocket ship into the skies."  Nice.

The Unforgettable Fire was wonderful. The claw lit up beautifully, complimenting the music well.  Once more I marvelled at the talent of such young men in the early 1980's writing such a fabulous, complicated and mature song,  Bono mentioned Stephen Gateley, who had recently died, as "A beautiful spirit, a bright shining spark."

There were some great aerial shots of the claw and stadium during City of Blinding Lights,  again it worked really well with the song. 

Vertigo rocked, the screen "spinning" manically at the end.  Crazy (I can't bothered to write out the full title of the song, it's too long!) came across well, the sound cranked up on my headphones was much better than on the TV programme the other day.  I still love this version of the song, in fact I like it better than the album version.  Bono gave some clapping lessons - and said they had a "Cuban beat going."

One was another of those moments, it's a song that brings people together, performed wonderfully, throughout the concert I thought Bono's voice was excellent.

Streets was dramatic, the stadium was lit up and all you could see was a mass of people having  ball.  One camera shot was from behind the band members who had gathered together- Bono standing astride two monitors - it gave the viewer an idea of what it was like for the band to look out over that sea of people, amazing.

Ultraviolet was slightly different to the European version, the screen intro differed, though it was still orange, no poem, just the Zoo baby speaking.  The "steering wheel" was illuminated with red lights with a white light at the centre that shone onto Bono's face.  I found that much better, as sometimes UV was too dark at shows I saw last year.  His laser suit sent of beams of red light for ages, he must have been plugged in for along time! 

With or Without You, what can I say?  Arguably the best song U2 have ever written, again at a very young age. The steering wheel was now lit up blue. I love how Bono works with this song, he always seems to bring something new to it.  At the end he took off his "suit of lights" (fame?) put it on a clothes hanger and hung it from the wheel and it was lifted up and disappeared into the claw.

The closing song was Moment of Surrender.  I still feel this song is not a good finale to a show.  I know U2 nearly always have a lowkey ending to their gigs, but they are also uplifting.  I find Moment of Surrender quite depressing, almost dirge-like and not the best way to end a show.

All in all I enjoyed the DVD, the band played and sang well and seemed to be enjoying themselves.  The sound was good via my headphones.  The whole show flowed well and there was some good use of the claw to compliment the songs.  It brought back great memories for me of the shows I saw last year, I found I often had that smile on my face that I get when watching U2.  I haven't watched the other disc yet, I hope to do that soon.

I must admit I was also very aware of Bono and what he does physically in a show, and I will be very surprised if he will be recovered enough to be able to do the European leg of this year's tour.  He has to heal, stregthen his muscles, then get fit for a tour, I doubt it can be done.  Though I suppose it might be possible to move the dates back a few weeks.  I might be wrong, I hope I am, but I wouldn't want Bono to injure himself further for the sake of a tour.

Over the past few months my relationship with U2 has been a bit strained at times for various reasons.  But I think the rocky patch is passing.  I was surprised by how concerned I was by Bono's health problems, it was almost like a friend was unwell. And watching the DVD made me realise how good U2 are at their job too.  All they have to do now is bring out a special album, and the present circumstances give them a good opportunity to do just that.

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