Minutes before a midtown-Manhattan press screening of U2 3D — a digitally shot three-dimensional film of a March 2006 U2 concert in Buenos Aires — this afternoon, a couple of journalists were shooed out of their seats in a center row to clear room for Jay-Z and his posse. Hova clearly has time on his hands for 2:00 Monday movie screenings now that he’s stepping down as president of Def Jam. Jay seemed into it at first, but by “Sunday Bloody Sunday” he took the 3D glasses off and was rubbing his temples as if his brain was going through image overload. By the time The Edge was strapping his guitar on for “Bullet the Blue Sky,” he and his crew were long gone.
They missed out. I haven’t seen a 3D movie since Captain EO at Disneyworld sometime around 1990, but the technology has really come a long way. The filmmakers claim this movie is the “first live-action film to be shot, posted and exhibited entirely in 3-D.” The band jumps off the screen during the entire performance — as does the frenzied crowd in the sold-out soccer stadium. When Adam Clayton takes the spotlight during “New Year’s Day” it looks like he’s playing in your lap. The sound was also as clear and crisp as I’ve ever heard in a movie theater.
The show is just ninety minutes long, which means they had to cut out a bunch of songs from the set. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seem to have some sort of beef with Achtung Baby. Gone are “Zoo Station,” “Until the End of the World” and “Love Is Blindness”— along with “The First Time” and many How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb tracks. What remains is a greatest-hits parade mixed in with three Atomic Bomb tracks. Casual fans might disagree, but I would have preferred to see the first performance of “Love Is Blindness” in thirteen years rather than an incredibly uninspired “With or Without You.” Petty editing quibbles aside, the film was really remarkable and makes every other concert I’ve ever seen in a movie theater seem flat and lifeless.