Sunday, November 06, 2005

A First Look at the Vertigo Tour DVD Live in Chicago... has a review up of the new U2 Chicago DVD... screenshots look pretty good!
Check out their site!
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The standard DVD version comes with a "super jewel box", which is similar to a CD jewel case but in DVD format. The "Deluxe Edition" will probably come with the usual digipack-cover which we are familiar with from the Boston and Slane Castle DVD.The booklet contains 14 pages and is provided with live pictures of the band. The first two pages cover all Vertigo tour logos like a wallpaper: From the red "V" up to the atomic bomb which we all know from the merchandising items of the tour, it's all there. Page by page you will find words which, when put together, contain the message: "Don't become a monster in order to defeat a monster". The style of the booklet (with hand-drawn circles) and the cover paintings are similar to the "Deluxe Edition" of 'How to dismantle an atomic bomb'. Unfortunately the booklet does not live up to expectations and is scanty, containing 5 pictures and 10 words as well as some credits. We are curious to see whether the "Deluxe Edition" booklet provides the same. If so, that would be very dissapointing.
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The DVD is a mix of the Chicago concerts (dating 9th and 10th of May) from the Vertigo tour. The footage used comes primary from the 10th of May (Bono's birthday), though there are some exceptions. The setlists of those two nights are almost identical with only the final song being different ('40' on the 9th and 'Vertigo' on the 10th; '40' was used for the DVD). The recording is almost complete with only 'Party Girl' missing on the DVD, which was played on both nights. The concert starts off with a very short 'Wake up' from Arcade Fire and segues into 'Everyone', which was used as the 1st leg intro. On the bright side the DVD doesn't contain any copyright statements so you are able to start right away with the concert when put it in a DVD player. Needless to say the DVD menu contains options for sound settings as well as a track selection. The duration of the DVD is 2 hours 19 minutes, which is an unusually long for U2 standards.
U2 is playing in one of their favorite towns and you can tell. The four boys from Ireland seem very relaxed and are on fire performance wise. Especially Bono is full of energy, something one or the other might have missed during the EU concerts. There's no doubt that the B-Man pulls off a great show on his birthday, interacting and joking often with the crowd. Adam is full of smiles (no suprises there) but even Larry is caught with a smirk here and there. The crowd seems to be into this one as well: Driven by the birthday boy the fans pull off a far better performance than one might be used to from the American crowd. The concert seems unedited: Bono's (long) speeches are included, as are most of the snippets ('Wake up', 'Bullet with butterfly wings', 'No regrets', and 'When Johnny comes marching home')! Only downer: There's no 'Blackbird' at the end of 'Beautiful day' and 'I can see for miles' during 'The Electric Co.'. Both weren't snippeted on the 10th, which is probably the reason they're missing on the DVD. No doubt that U2's own songs are on this one though: 'Stories for boys', 'Cry' and the small 'Please' snippet from 'Bullet the blue sky' are all included. Something that is far more noticeable than on previous U2 Live-recordings is that flaws from the band aren't edited out (Choosing to film both nights was not for nothing). Therefore you'll hear Edge making mistakes at times ('Miracle Drug' solo, start of '40', and 'Mysterious Ways' solo) and Bono mixing up some lyrics ('Love and Peace or Else' and 'Yahweh'), which makes the whole thing more likable and authentic. That's probably what the people in charge were thinking and, for instance, decided to go with an 'Elevation' version on the DVD where Bono is clearly struggling with a "frog in the throat". All in all the right decision not to make the convulsive attempt to make a perfect live recording (e.g. Popmart, where some flaws where edited). Mistakes are part of it - keep it that way.
Short summary: It is a typical Hamish Hamilton production. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is naturally a matter of opinion. Once again there are many fast cuts mixed with lots of spontaneous zooming in. Hamilton also suprises with some new camera angles, e.g. one camera which provides a bird's eye view over the main stage. This produces some nice close-ups on Edge's equipment and foot pedals. Larry (more precisely: Larry's cymbals) also gets lots of attention from the camera while shots of the whole main stage remain a rarity. People who didn't like the Boston DVD because of its stage-direction aren't gonna be great fans of this one neither, there are plenty of (often blurry) close-ups from hands, guitars and the drums. Some of the shots were made on same height as the GA fans, which leads to many waving hands (including countless mobile telephones) being shown in the foreground. Some (light)-effects, which should add a certain creativity to the shooting, are rather disturbing at some points. Besides all this it has to be said that the recording seems far more lively this time compared to Hamiltons Boston production. Some dodgy cuts are again subject to criticism:- There is almost no pause between 'Vertigo' and 'Elevation', with only 2 seconds elapsing between those tracks. You see Edge changing his guitar in one scene while the Intro-riff is already starting; next thing you know Edge is standing in front of the microphone. - During 'Elevation' you see (at least once clearly!) that picture and sound don't match! Min:sec 13:52 - 13:54 - You hear Bono singing the 'Elevation' intro, but not so in the cut.
The DVD is again released in 3 different sound formats: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. A detailled report to the sound quality will be available very soon.
Unfortunately the double DVD isn't available yet. We will report about the extras as soon as we get it. You can see some screenshots of the menus. They are all animated and there is some sound in the background.


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