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U2 3D GR8 February 4, 2008

Posted by KG in Etc., Music.
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It must be incredibly difficult to not think of oneself in messianic terms when day after day, night after night, thousands of screaming fans who may or may not speak the same language as you sing along to your songs.

That’s probably one of the more clichéd ledes for anything written about Bono  (a Google search of “Bono messianic” comes up with 22,000+ hits — and how’s using Google search stats for cliché!), but the thing about it is that it’s true.  Take U2 3D.  Even better, take how I felt before, during, and after watching U2 3D.  It’s been about 14 years since I first bought Zooropa, but songs like “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and “Bullet in the Blue Sky” (!!) still make my inner adolescent pop out, ready to spout bumper sticker epithets about becoming the change and so on.  That welling up of idealistic emotion probably hits a select segment of the population; what is startling is how large, heterogenous, and fervent that swathe of people can be.  Even more surprising is the fact that I’m only slightly embarassed to admit that my dormant fanboyishness is alive and well.  (After seeing U2 3D on Saturday, I loaded most of The Joshua Tree and War onto my shuffle.)

The best part of seeing U2 on an IMAX screen is that you get most of the fun of the concert experience at near-perfect sound quality and without the $100 price tag.  Of course, the IMAX experience also magnified the drawbacks of the concert film medium: you get to *see* an amazing concert, but the 3D photography amplifies your separation from the chanting Argentinians who watched Bono do his best Pavarotti impression during “Miss Sarajevo” (!!).   “Amplify your separation” is just my artsy-fartsy way of saying “I felt jealous.”  It takes quite a lot for me to desire standing in an enormous stadium, sweaty and sore, singing at the top of my lungs.  In fact, I doubt I’d want to do that for any band currently active — with the exception of U2.  Not that I’m a superfan, but the IMAX film shows you that unlike many stadium bands, U2 makes the unpleasantness of the experience worth it.   

The Natural History Museum isn’t the best place in the world to see U2 3D, but it is the only place in town.  I would advise buying tickets in advance online and showing up early for a good seat.  The chattering museum-goers, expecially those of the younger than Zoo TV variety, may get on your nerves, but this weekend they were quick to quiet down by the first bars of “New Years Day.”  That leaves you about 73 minutes of U2 wowing what looked like 80,000 Argentinians.  And you wishing you were there with them.

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