U23D is a revolutionary step in the art of the concert video. The concept alone is nothing short of genius – the viewer takes a seat in the cinema, puts on some 3D glasses and is suddenly transported to the front row of an arena concert of the biggest band in the world.
As the film begins and the volume of the crowd gradually increases, the excitement slowly builds. Suddenly the band takes the stage and bursts into Vertigo, the atmosphere is electric – the camera first pans the crowd jumping and singing along religiously, before suddenly zooming to within a foot of The Edge’s guitar – its hard to restrain from reaching out and “touching him” as he strums the chords.
And so the film continues – the camera follows Bono as he struts the stage with his usual swagger, sometimes filming him from the point of view of a fan crushed up against the barrier, other times from the eyes of his fellow band members. There are also cameras lodged above Larry Mullen’s drum kit, at the feet of Adam Clayton, at the back of the stadium or buried deep in the centre of the mosh pit, allowing the audience to view the show from every possible perspective.
The word that keeps springing to mind throughout is immersion; many times during the film I literally forgot I was watching a recorded program and had to control myself from applauding and singing along!
Although U23D was shot in Argentina on the bands ‘Vertigo’ tour, (promoting their 2005 album ‘How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb’), there are no barriers between the audience of the film and the audience of the actual show – it doesn’t feel like it’s in Argentina, it could be anywhere in the world. The set list spans the band’s entire career meaning the film cannot date. Early hits such as ‘New Years Day’ and ‘Pride’ sound as fresh as ever, while moving renditions of ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own’ and ‘Miss Sarajevo’ have the viewer nothing short of enthralled.
Perhaps the reason the film was titled U23D as opposed to ‘Live In Argentina’ highlights the band wanting this to be more than just a live concert film, but a total live experience – a true representation of what a U2 gig is really like.
The band close with ‘With Or Without You’, the credits roll (in 3D of course), before the band re-appears once more for an acoustic version of ‘Yahweh’. And with that, U23D comes to a finish.
I leave the cinema and walk back on to the street, still buzzing from the show – the same feeling one gets at the conclusion of a real concert, the only difference is the walk home is a lot less crowded.
thanks to Adam Brown
News Source: Planet Rock (follow the link to find The Making of the film video)