Jan. 28th, 2008

cosmicgarden: (Default)
I think I've seen U2 live in concert about five times - was trying to remember on Saturday night when [livejournal.com profile] snarkyman and I went to see U2 3D. Watching them on IMAX, in concert footage shot while they performed in South America and Mexico in 2005-2006, felt *almost* like seeing them live for a sixth time. Loved the music, loved being close enough to see The Edge's fretwork, loved the energy and the tricks of polarized filtering glasses that allowed you to watch what really felt like a three-dimensional experience.

What I didn't love was how weirdly un-intimate, un-personal, it felt. U2 is a rock and roll band, but one thing they're not is spontaneous. I'd forgotten that until I watched this film. Yes, Bono sings his heart out at every moment; yes, you get the feeling that each of the four "Irish rockers" is pretty much present at the show for the duration; that Edge is really not sick of hammering out "New Year's Day" on a keyboard at stage right before switching to his fuzzy, abrasive guitar chords; that Larry's got the beat in his veins. But... for all they're so busy loving the world and the stadium-sized crowds (who are joyously bouncing along and recording the show on glowing phones and digital cameras and basically loving the band right back), there's no inside peek, no glimpse behind the U2 Corporation to the four friends who started it up. You watch the programmed and complex video background in perfect synch with the set list, you zone out from the pounding drumbeat (which intentionally resonated in our theater seats, the better to mimic that "live" experience) to wonder how large an institution it is that now supports this four-man band. Who builds and breaks down the sets. How many 18-wheelers must travel with this traveling show. Was this a band that once played the Rat in Kenmore Square? You're up close - thanks to the 3D technology, closer than you probably ever got to the band in concert - but never are you personal.

By contrast, I'm going to love the Rolling Stones IMAX film if I ever get to see it. With Scorsese as director - we got to see a trailer of images shot both onstage and, excitingly, offstage. Scorsese's not going to make a mere concert film, no matter what effects are at his disposal. I'm not even a Stones fan, never owned a record, but this should be a grand, grand story to see.

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cosmicgarden

July 2010

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