U2360: At The Rose Bowl (DVD)


Universal, 2010


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


There is no shortage of U2 concert DVDs on the market, with seemingly one released from every tour since 1983. U2360° At The Rose Bowl is another strong entry into this canon, offering a complete show from the October 25, 2009 show in Pasadena that draws on old favorites, new songs from No Line On The Horizon and the usual theatrics and spectacle associated with the band.

In this case, it involves the stage in the center of the audience, allowing the musicians to move around and face all members of the audience at one point. A larger outer ring encircles the stage, connected by two bridges on either side. In the center is an enormous claw with a ton of lights rigged at various spots, but that's pretty much it for stage props.

There are no lemons, no costumes and not much of the posing of shows past; now hovering around a collective age of 50, the band has matured and prefers to let the music speak. The Edge, as ever, is the star of the show, busting out a dizzying array of guitar textures, riffs, solos and backup vocals to give each song its own mood. Bono, when introducing the band (something I still enjoy), calls him the "mad scientist" of the group before calling bassist Adam Clayton "Rhett Butler, because he just doesn't give a damn," drummer Larry Mullen Jr. James Dean and himself a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Devito and a little Dennis Hopper thrown in. Good times.nbtc__dv_250

The show kicks off with energetic, powerful renditions of "Get On Your Boots" and "Magnificent" from No Line, leaving off "Breathe," which opened most of the shows on this tour. It sounds like the version was cut from this show, probably for technical reasons, but "Boots" is a great opener regardless. The lads then blaze through a fairly predictable but still exciting set list, hitting oft-played hits like "Mysterious Ways," "Beautiful Day," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Elevation," "Vertigo," "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "One," which is introduced with a video clip from Desmond Tutu.

Also from No Line come "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," "Unknown Caller" and the title song, which is given new life in a live setting. A live version of the superb "The Unforgettable Fire" is a treat, as are "City Of Blinding Lights," the low-key "In A Little While" and, of course, "Where The Streets Have No Name." During this tour, the band had championed the cause of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese politician who was wrongly jailed for speaking out against the government, which is the only time Bono gets on a soapbox (before "Walk On"). She has since been released.

For the encore, the audience is treated to the underwhelming "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" and the standard "With Or Without You" (which Bono barely sings in a bored voice, in my opinion). To close, however, the lights are dimmed and the screen is lit with hundreds of stars, mirroring the sky in Pasadena that night and serving as a backdrop to the absolutely stunning "Moment Of Surrender." Bono gives the song everything he has and the Edge is able to make the song both stadium-sized and intimate; by the time Bono pleads "Don't leave us now" at the end, you are completely hooked.

U2360° At The Rose Bowl is an energetic, tightly-played and very enjoyable show for U2 fans, especially those who liked No Line. It falls just short of perfection because of the track repetition and the two or three dull songs, but it's easily one of the best concert DVDs of the band's career.

Rating: A-

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