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Vertigo 2005: U2 Live from Chicago (2005)

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14 November 2005 (USA)  »

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Trivia

The show was recorded over U2's two night stand in Chicago on 9 May and 10 May 2005. The May 10th gigs can be easily spotted when fans are shown holding up signs wishing Bono a happy birthday, as his 45th birthday was May 10th, and other songs don't show fans in those vicinities holding any signs. See more »

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Written and Performed by U2
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Bono is a bit pretentious at times but otherwise it is a strong concert film for fans
20 June 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

You see, this is the problem with reviewing a title after the prolific Theo Robertson has already done it; you end up writing a review that either spends a couple of paragraphs agreeing with him or simply repeating what he has said. He tends to have good taste and put his opinion forward really well and it leaves the rest of us poor b*ggers with little to say! He is correct when he talks about how strong a concert this is for U2 fans. Having been born and bred in Northern Ireland I am contractually obliged to lack rhythm, be cynical, have an acerbic sense of humour and like U2, so naturally I enjoyed this concert film.

The range of tracks is one of the biggest selling points, everything from the recent Vertigo back to classics from Joshua Tree etc. It does make the concert feel slightly more special and honest, because it doesn't feel like they are there just as part of selling their latest wares. The variety also means there are very few weaker album tracks – it isn't quite a greatest hits tour but, like Theo says, it shows respect to the fan base by basically saying "we know you are here for the last 20 years, not just the last album" and I must admit I appreciated that aspect of the concert. The circular stage didn't come across that well on the screen mainly because the camera always ensured we had a good view. Personally I'm not sure if it does make for a better gig because I've only ever been to concerts in smaller venues with a set stage – never really been one for whom stadium gigs appeal.

The one downside is that Bono has become a bit full of himself and, even though the fans in the stadium on these two nights lapped it up, I wasn't that impressed. Another reviewer said he was almost a caricature of himself – I can't say it better than that so I'll steal their words. Particularly hard to swallow were the moments where he was pretty pretentious; his prayer and his "all religions" headband were just grating and the fact that a cheering crowd didn't cover it in my front room highlighted it as rather more embarrassing. Luckily the overall performance covers up for moments like this and the actual delivery from the group as a whole.

Overall then a fine concert film for fans of U2 with sufficient hits to make it accessible and of value to the casual viewer. Yes Bono is a bit of a prat at times but this doesn't take too much away from the total performance. The track selection is good, the stage presence is good and with a good sound system the audience reactions come over well. Well worth seeing for U2 fans.


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