Having seen the Elevation Tour in Montreal, I was curious to see how the DVD-on-laptop-in-bed experience would compare with the 18,000-people-in-a-stadium experience. Obviously it didn't touch the real thing, but it was a nice compliment to attending the actual concert in that there a few things that an entire film crew was able to pick up that I might have missed from our seats at the other end of the Molson Centre.
U2 - Elevation Tour 2001 (Live from Boston) DVD Review
The disc does a great job of showing how straightforward the tour was. It was a big tour with a huge crew, but on stage the four musicians were pretty much on their own. The camera catches a few great close-ups of the members of the band in which you can really see their facial expressions. The Edge seemed quite preoccupied with playing the music. Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. Bono played the rock star. There are a few great shots where you see The Edge looking to Larry Mullen for the rhythm. For a second they seem less like U2, and more like four guys in a band.
The set list included 7 new songs from All That You Can't Leave Behind, a few of the U2 classics, and a few refreshing unlikely choices (Gone, Bad, Stay (Faraway, so close), Until The End Of The World). The Edge used the set list as an opportunity to parade an amazing set of classic guitars including a full-bodied Gretsch, a pearl Telecaster, Edge's classic Gibson Explorer, a Godin, a beautiful clear woodgrain finish Stratocaster, and a 12-string Richenbacher that The Edge kicks off the stage.
What I found most striking about the DVD was how great U2 is at putting on a rock concert. You can really see the experience of 20 years of touring. Bono plays the 20,000 strong audience like it was a percussive instrument. The Edge's guitar and Bono's voice alone can fill a stadium design for NHL hockey.
The new album contrasts nicely with the older material in the context of the concert. If Stuck in a Moment were a little more immature and unrefined, if would fit in perfectly on Rattle and Hum.
The live performances shed new light on some of what I had though where the weaker songs from All That You Can't Leave Behind. New York, which always struck me as goofy (comparing the heat of New York to a "hair dryer in your face" just doesn't hold up next to the biblical alegory of The End of the World - which Bono introduces this night with "this is judas") and Walk On both shine make more sense in the live context.
Highlights include, the inclusion of Until The End Of The World and a great rendition of Stay (Faraway, so close). Introducing the band, Bono says "Even his mother calls him, The Edge". The introductions to The Fly and Where the Streets Have No Name are classic goosebump-inducing stadium rock moments.