Ever wanted to feel like Bono was singing directly into your face and that The Edge was strumming his guitar so close that you could pluck his g-string? No? Us either. However, unperturbed by the thought of personal assault in the digital form, DiS attended the invite-only screening of the new U2 ‘movie’ U2:3D on Tuesday night - the first-ever all-live, all-digital concert.
The scene was one of journalists splattered across the benches of London’s IMAX theatre like shit in a field. Whilst this meant the ecstasy and adulation of the band’s adoring thousands in South America, where it was filmed, stayed well and truly on screen, the technology proved a winner. Whilst U2 may no longer be as musically ambitious as they once were, they have always existed as purveyors of pushing the conceptual and visual envelope on a larger-than-life scale. The result of the band’s longstanding embrace of cutting-edge technology provides a viable option for other modern acts to follow. The 3D technology, shown on a screen the height of five double-decker buses, proves itself perfectly suited to this variety of a live music extravaganza.
The film comes at a time where bands are increasingly unable to gain income from recorded music, so are forced to look towards alternative revenue streams. Whilst the traditional ‘concert DVD’ performs well, the live spectacle is lost in the living room. However, with the cinema industry performing well at present, in the sense that consumers are willing to pay the £10 – 17 admission price currently being charged, as well as the live music arena being at its most prosperous state in history, why not marry the two together? Whilst it won’t replace the live experience, the technology effectively recreates the atmosphere without the restricted views and hours of queuing to obtain a front row position.
Alright it isn’t cheap to make and isn’t going to work with the indie-scuzz of Let’s Wrestle at the Buffalo Bar, but just imagine Metallica, Muse and Iron Maiden in a stadium environment, presented in this fashion. Or even pop stalwarts with bursting fan bases - think Kylie, Prince, and Girls Aloud. Now I’d pay £12 for a bit of that.
Whilst U2’s stadium rock unity bullshit will put all non-fans and many a discerning music follower off of seeing the film, its importance for music could, and hopefully will, prove as big as Bono’s ego.
U2:3D is released in the UK on February 22. Check out the official website here.