I really wasn't expecting much from this latest concert video from U2. After all, I found their previous two albums Zooropa and Pop to be experimental blunders (to put it mildly) that signaled the beginning of the end of a once great band. Their subsequent world tours for each of these albums were even more disappointing--and I love huge, over-the-top stadium spectacles as much as the next fool, but come on guys! In 2000, U2 released All That You Can't Leave Behind, an album that would have made a perfect follow up to 1987's The Joshua Tree,and is definitely their best since 1991's Achtung Baby. This is a goodthing, because Elevation 2001 features seven songs from that album, and their is hardly a weak one in the bunch. The Elevation 2001 tour was basically the anti-Popmart tour. Gone are the enormous sets, giant props, and ridiculous costumes. Back is U2 the rock band, with an arsenal of great songs, and a desire to get very intimate with their fans again.
Elevation 2001 was filmed on 6 June 2001 at the Fleet Center, inBoston. This would be the 40th show of their tour, which included a dry run of the immense recording task during the previous night's Fleet Center concert. This was superbly documented in the special features section of the disk. Bythe time of the second night's show, most of the bugs had been ironed out and we are left with a remarkable document of a band that has recaptured their power and charm.
The show starts brilliantly with a hypnotic, black and white, slow-motionview of the band members making their way from the back of the stage to theirpositions onstage. Bono is last, of course, and his entrance is shown throughthe vantage point of a "spy-cam" that was fitted to his glasses. Thestadium is completely lit up at this point, the crowd is going bananas, andthousands of flash bulbs are going off. As Bono kicks off the opening song "Elevation", the picture changes to color, and the music changes from a subdued recording of the song, to the roaring live performance. About midway through the song, in perfect unison with a monster power chord from The Edge, the arena lights go dark, and the brilliant stage lighting takes over.