So what have we been up to? Well, one thing that won't surprise you in the least: My family went to see U23D earlier this week when it premiered here in Portland. I wholeheartedly agree with the NYT review that says it's "a work of art". As soon as I saw that Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington were directing it, I knew there would be some fantastic moments and images, and there are. (They've both worked with the band for years, Catherine Owen designing a lot of the set pieces/artwork for their tours and Mark Pellington you might know from directing the version of the One video with the buffaloes running off the cliff.) Our only complaint - which I've seen around blogland we're not alone in - is that the sound was not nearly loud enough. Now, I'm a person who uses earplugs at concerts and other events with loud sounds and am considered a touch on the sensitive side when it comes to hearing, so if I'm saying it wasn't loud enough, you must know it really wasn't loud enough!
It is the closest thing to being at a concert that I've ever seen. If the camera were about 6 inches lower I would've swore I was looking at the view I had for the concert here in Portland. They use the 3D technology in a way I haven't seen before: there's a real layering of imagery so there are things in the foreground, middle ground, background and at other points in between - and yet it's not confusing to follow or too much to take in. They also take advantage of the capabilities of digital shooting in a couple of places in a creative way, though I don't want to say just how because I think it would take away from the experience to go into it looking for those moments.
As respects the concert performance: It's fantastic. I kept thinking as it went along what a great flow they had with the song selection (though I sorely miss not seeing Until the End of the World). Plus there were those moments that were just like being at an actual show. For example, the operatic section in Miss Sarajevo where Bono hits those pure tenor notes - sent a shiver down my spine just like it did when I saw it live. My husband was saying when we saw it live he had a feeling we'd seen a one-of-a-kind moment that no one else would ever see that hadn't been there, but it's just as wonderful (maybe better?) than when we saw it live. It's an amazing moment of performance in a rock-n-roll show. There's also that pure joy that goes through the audience that you can't help but get caught up in. I mean, how many moments in life are that truly joyous? You can count on getting at least one moment at a U2 show where you feel part of something far bigger and far more profound and ineffable than you can ever be and it's recreated quite well with this film.
Because the technology is so new, they don't know when/if this can be released on DVD. Consequently, we're supremely tempted to go see it again. Hopefully they'll have the sound turned up if we do. If so, I couldn't ask for more in a concert film.