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U2 - Vertigo 2005 - Live From Chicago
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229 of 244 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2005
The standard DVD version comes with a "super jewel box", which is similar to a CD jewel case but in DVD format. The "Deluxe Edition" will probably come with the usual digipack cover which we are familiar with from the Boston and Slane Castle DVD.

The booklet contains 14 pages and is provided with live pictures of the band. The first two pages cover all Vertigo tour logos like a wallpaper: From the red "V" up to the atomic bomb which we all know from the merchandising items of the tour, it's all there. Page by page you will find words which, when put together, contain the message: "Don't become a monster in order to defeat a monster". The style of the booklet (with hand-drawn circles) and the cover paintings are similar to the "Deluxe Edition" of 'How to dismantle an atomic bomb'. Unfortunately the booklet does not live up to expectations and is scanty, containing 5 pictures and 10 words as well as some credits. We are curious to see whether the "Deluxe Edition" booklet provides the same. If so, that would be very disappointing.

The Content

The DVD is a mix of the Chicago concerts (dating 9th and 10th of May) from the Vertigo tour. The footage used comes primarily from the 10th of May (Bono's birthday), though there are some exceptions. The setlists of those two nights are almost identical with only the final song being different ('40' on the 9th and 'Vertigo' on the 10th; '40' was used for the DVD). The recording is almost complete with only 'Party Girl' missing on the DVD, which was played on both nights. The concert starts off with a very short 'Wake up' from Arcade Fire and segues into 'Everyone', which was used as the 1st leg intro.

On the bright side the DVD doesn't contain any copyright statements so you are able to start right away with the concert when putting it in a DVD player. Needless to say the DVD menu contains options for sound settings as well as a track selection. The duration of the DVD is 2 hours 19 minutes, which is unusually long for U2 standards.

The Concert

U2 are playing in one of their favorite towns and you can tell. The four boys from Ireland seem very relaxed and are on fire performance wise. Especially Bono is full of energy, something one or the other might have missed during the EU concerts. There's no doubt that the B-Man pulls off a great show on his birthday, interacting and joking often with the crowd. Adam is full of smiles (no suprises there) but even Larry is caught with a smirk here and there. The crowd seems to be into this one as well: Driven by the birthday boy the fans pull off a far better performance than one might be used to from the American crowd.

The concert seems unedited: Bono's (long) speeches are included, as are most of the snippets ('Wake up', 'Bullet with butterfly wings', 'No regrets', and 'When Johnny comes marching home')! Only downer: There's no 'Blackbird' at the end of 'Beautiful day' and 'I can see for miles' during 'The Electric Co.'. Both weren't snippeted on the 10th, which is probably the reason they're missing on the DVD. No doubt that U2's own songs are on this one though: 'Stories for boys', 'Cry' and the small 'Please' snippet from 'Bullet the blue sky' are all included.

Something that is far more noticeable than on previous U2 live-recordings is that flaws from the band aren't edited out (Choosing to film both nights was not for nothing). Therefore you'll hear Edge making mistakes at times ('Miracle Drug' solo, start of '40', and 'Mysterious Ways' solo) and Bono mixing up some lyrics ('Love and Peace or Else' and 'Yahweh'), which makes the whole thing more likable and authentic. That's probably what the people in charge were thinking and, for instance, decided to go with an 'Elevation' version on the DVD where Bono is clearly struggling with a "frog in the throat". All in all the right decision not to make the convulsive attempt to make a perfect live recording (e.g. Popmart, where some flaws where edited). Mistakes are part of it - keep it that way.

The Picture

Short summary: It is a typical Hamish Hamilton production. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is naturally a matter of opinion. Once again there are many fast cuts mixed with lots of spontaneous zooming in. Hamilton also suprises with some new camera angles, e.g. one camera which provides a bird's eye view over the main stage. This produces some nice close-ups on Edge's equipment and foot pedals. Larry (more precisely: Larry's cymbals) also gets lots of attention from the camera while shots of the whole main stage remain a rarity. People who didn't like the Boston DVD because of its stage-direction aren't gonna be great fans of this one neither, there are plenty of (often blurry) close-ups of hands, guitars and the drums.

Some of the shots were made on same height as the GA fans, which leads to many waving hands (including countless mobile telephones) being shown in the foreground. Some (light)-effects, which should add a certain creativity to the shooting, are rather disturbing at some points.

Besides all this it has to be said that the recording seems far more lively this time compared to Hamiltons Boston production.

Some dodgy cuts are again subject to criticism:

- There is almost no pause between 'Vertigo' and 'Elevation', with only 2 seconds elapsing between those tracks. You see Edge changing his guitar in one scene while the intro-riff is already starting; next thing you know Edge is standing in front of the microphone.

- During 'Elevation' you see (at least once clearly!) that picture and sound don't match! Min:sec 13:52 - 13:54 - You hear Bono singing the 'Elevation' intro, but not so in the cut.

The video format is 16:9.

The Sound

The DVD is again released in 3 different sound formats: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. A detailled report to the sound quality will be available very soon.

The Extras

Unfortunately the double DVD isn't available yet. We will report about the extras as soon as we get it. You can see some screenshots of the menus. They are all animated and there is some sound in the background.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2005
I was surprised when I first saw that the average rating for this DVD was at 3.5 stars. After reading some of the negative reviews I want to offer some alternative opinions before anyone decides not to get this DVD.

Some have described the show as a "comparatively stripped-down stage production". Vertigo was certainly not as elaborate as ZooTV or as over the top as Pop, but stripped-down it was not. The video curtains were amazing and especially effective during City of Blinding Lights and Streets. The lighting of the Vertigo ellipse was unique and the fact that U2 was able to tap into the video message boards around the United Center made the show even more visually interesting.

Some have complained about the quality of the sound. I must have gotten a different DVD than others. The sound is superb. Ironically, it is so good that you do lose a certain sense of "liveness". Thankfully, a few bad notes and scratchy vocals were left in to remind you that you are watching a live concert. One reviewer writes that Bono's voice was much better on the Boston Elevation DVD. His voice was horrible in Boston. Go back and watch the DVD again.

One reviewer commented that "Bono understandably looks heavier and wearier than in days past". I personally am glad to see that at least one rock star is willing to age. "Look honey, Bono has a gut just like me!"

I think the editing is well done. Very few jump cuts, interesting views from above, a few peeks at the Edge's gear and only a few songs marred by my least favorite shot - the view from the crowd. Sunday Bloody Sunday particularly suffers from the "snake pit" shot. I do agree with some that the audience seemed lifeless. I think that is an editing issue rather than a crowd problem. I also think the arena could have been miced better to record the many sing-alongs. Whoever wrote that the video looked like a grainy handicam needs to invest in a new DVD player.

The setlist? There are always some folks who don't get to see the songs they wanted or don't like the treatment of certain songs. Me too. I was at one of the Garden shows and wish that they had flown Mary J. Blige to Chicago to include her amazing rendition of One which we enjoyed in New York. Bono's ability to sing Pavarotti's portions of Miss Sarajevo is amazing. Not included in the Chicago shows. But I did enjoy seeing the songs from Achtung Baby that I didn't see live - Zoo Station and The Fly in particular. U2 has a huge collection of great songs. They could never fit them all into the two shows filmed for this DVD. My favorite of all - "They not only deny (the) Pop Mart Tour (their most fantastic and successful ever), but also U2 deny the whole Pop era." Um, Pop was a horrible album compared to all of the others. That tour almost bankrupted the band due to it's enormous expense and dwindling ticket sales as word got out how uniquely horrible the show was. I'm as big a U2 fan as anyone, but I almost walked out of the stadium during that one.

I won't even comment on the complaints about Bono's speeches. Anyone who has followed U2 and has seem them live before should know to expect (and I think embrace) that part of the evening.

If you are a U2 fan, or someone who is just interested in great rock shows, this DVD belongs in your collection. Enjoy.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2005
The standard DVD version comes with a "super jewel box", which is similar to a CD jewel case but in DVD format. The "Deluxe Edition" will probably come with the usual digipack cover which we are familiar with from the Boston and Slane Castle DVD.

The booklet contains 14 pages and is provided with live pictures of the band. The first two pages cover all Vertigo tour logos like a wallpaper: From the red "V" up to the atomic bomb which we all know from the merchandising items of the tour, it's all there. Page by page you will find words which, when put together, contain the message: "Don't become a monster in order to defeat a monster". The style of the booklet (with hand-drawn circles) and the cover paintings are similar to the "Deluxe Edition" of 'How to dismantle an atomic bomb'. Unfortunately the booklet does not live up to expectations and is scanty, containing 5 pictures and 10 words as well as some credits. We are curious to see whether the "Deluxe Edition" booklet provides the same. If so, that would be very disappointing.

The Content

The DVD is a mix of the Chicago concerts (dating 9th and 10th of May) from the Vertigo tour. The footage used comes primarily from the 10th of May (Bono's birthday), though there are some exceptions. The setlists of those two nights are almost identical with only the final song being different ('40' on the 9th and 'Vertigo' on the 10th; '40' was used for the DVD). The recording is almost complete with only 'Party Girl' missing on the DVD, which was played on both nights. The concert starts off with a very short 'Wake up' from Arcade Fire and segues into 'Everyone', which was used as the 1st leg intro.

On the bright side the DVD doesn't contain any copyright statements so you are able to start right away with the concert when putting it in a DVD player. Needless to say the DVD menu contains options for sound settings as well as a track selection. The duration of the DVD is 2 hours 19 minutes, which is unusually long for U2 standards.

The Concert

U2 are playing in one of their favorite towns and you can tell. The four boys from Ireland seem very relaxed and are on fire performance wise. Especially Bono is full of energy, something one or the other might have missed during the EU concerts. There's no doubt that the B-Man pulls off a great show on his birthday, interacting and joking often with the crowd. Adam is full of smiles (no suprises there) but even Larry is caught with a smirk here and there. The crowd seems to be into this one as well: Driven by the birthday boy the fans pull off a far better performance than one might be used to from the American crowd.

The concert seems unedited: Bono's (long) speeches are included, as are most of the snippets ('Wake up', 'Bullet with butterfly wings', 'No regrets', and 'When Johnny comes marching home')! Only downer: There's no 'Blackbird' at the end of 'Beautiful day' and 'I can see for miles' during 'The Electric Co.'. Both weren't snippeted on the 10th, which is probably the reason they're missing on the DVD. No doubt that U2's own songs are on this one though: 'Stories for boys', 'Cry' and the small 'Please' snippet from 'Bullet the blue sky' are all included.

Something that is far more noticeable than on previous U2 live-recordings is that flaws from the band aren't edited out (Choosing to film both nights was not for nothing). Therefore you'll hear Edge making mistakes at times ('Miracle Drug' solo, start of '40', and 'Mysterious Ways' solo) and Bono mixing up some lyrics ('Love and Peace or Else' and 'Yahweh'), which makes the whole thing more likable and authentic. That's probably what the people in charge were thinking and, for instance, decided to go with an 'Elevation' version on the DVD where Bono is clearly struggling with a "frog in the throat". All in all the right decision not to make the convulsive attempt to make a perfect live recording (e.g. Popmart, where some flaws where edited). Mistakes are part of it - keep it that way.

The Picture

Short summary: It is a typical Hamish Hamilton production. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is naturally a matter of opinion. Once again there are many fast cuts mixed with lots of spontaneous zooming in. Hamilton also suprises with some new camera angles, e.g. one camera which provides a bird's eye view over the main stage. This produces some nice close-ups on Edge's equipment and foot pedals. Larry (more precisely: Larry's cymbals) also gets lots of attention from the camera while shots of the whole main stage remain a rarity. People who didn't like the Boston DVD because of its stage-direction aren't gonna be great fans of this one neither, there are plenty of (often blurry) close-ups of hands, guitars and the drums. Some of the shots were made on same height as the GA fans, which leads to many waving hands (including countless mobile telephones) being shown in the foreground. Some (light)-effects, which should add a certain creativity to the shooting, are rather disturbing at some points.

Besides all this it has to be said that the recording seems far more lively this time compared to Hamiltons Boston production.

Some dodgy cuts are again subject to criticism:

- There is almost no pause between 'Vertigo' and 'Elevation', with only 2 seconds elapsing between those tracks. You see Edge changing his guitar in one scene while the intro-riff is already starting; next thing you know Edge is standing in front of the microphone.

- During 'Elevation' you see (at least once clearly!) that picture and sound don't match! Min:sec 13:52 - 13:54 - You hear Bono singing the 'Elevation' intro, but not so in the cut.

The video format is 16:9.

The Sound

The DVD is again released in 3 different sound formats: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. A detailled report to the sound quality will be available very soon.

The Extras

Unfortunately the double DVD isn't available yet. We will report about the extras as soon as we get it. You can see some screenshots of the menus. They are all animated and there is some sound in the background.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2005
Disappointing sums up the review. Way too much camera changing. You get very few shots of the whole band just playing. Jumps constantly from one shot to the next. I had watched it and then the wife and I watched it together. After the second song she asked "why does the camera angle have to keep changing". Wow. If she can pick up the problem it must be troublesome.

The song selection is terrific. I saw the show in Chicago in Sept and really looked forward to the DVD. Unfortunately our seats were behind the stage. This view isnt much better. Sorry Paul.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Having not seen this dvd yet, but having seen a 3& 1/2 - 4 minuet promo for the dvd, it appears the sound quality will be amazing. If you're a fan of early U2 this is a must buy simply for the inclusion of The Electric Co. and An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart. The promo contained footage of Vertigo, Beautiful Day, The Electric Co., One & Where The Streets Have No Name. The filming looks great with great visuals and almost every U2 album is represented (with the exceptions of Rattle & Hum, Zooropa & Pop). There will be 2 discs, disc one the concert & disc two bonus features. The concert setlist is as follows:

City Of Blinding Lights

Vertigo

Elevation

The Cry / The Electric Co.

An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart

Beautiful Day

New Year's Day

Miracle Drug

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own

Love & Peace Or Else

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Bullet The Blue Sky

Running To Stand Still

Pride (In The Name Of Love)

Where The Streets Have No Name

One

Zoo Station

The Fly

Mysterious Ways

All Because Of You

Original Of The Species

Yahweh

"40"

Disc Two:

-Beyond The Tour - Documentary directed by Erica Forstadt

-Survalence Cuts - Love & Peace Or Else, An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart, The Cry / The Electric Co., Running To Stand Still - Concept direction & photography by Willie Williams

-Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own - Alternate Video directed by Phil Joanou
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2006
To all of you snobby reviewers who keep complaining that U2 has somehow "sold out" -- get a life. Like many snobby reviewers, I've been a U2 fan since the early days and I've seen them several times since the WAR tour. But who really cares? Who says you have to be a longtime U2 fan to buy this DVD and enjoy it?

The main complaints I keep reading about U2's "Vertigo 2005 Live From Chicago" DVD are (1) that Bono should keep his mouth shut about politics and just sing, (2) that U2 have "sold out" by ignoring songs from their 90s (Zooropa and Pop) period, and, (3) most ridiculously, that the Vertigo tour and the band itself (outfits, haircuts, etc.) look and sound too much like they did on Elevation tour.

In response to the first complaint, Bono has been getting up on his soapbox and preaching about causes for as long as U2 has been a band. (If anything, Bono may be LESS obnoxious about his causes--and more effective--than he was back in the '80s.) Get used to it, because without Bono, there would be no U2, and, after 25 years on the soapbox, I doubt if he'll be climbing down anytime soon.

In response to the second complaint--that they haven't included enough Zoo and Pop Mart material on this disc--U2 simply has too many classic songs to fit into a single concert. In other words, they'd have to ignore great songs no matter what. I miss certain songs from the '90s, too, but I'm certainly not complaining about the songs they HAVE chosen for this DVD.

Finally, a word about the band "recycling" its old look and sound from the Elevation tour. Back when All That You Can't Leave Behind came out, I remember reading an article about U2 in which one band member talked about recording during the '90s. He said they had become so experimental in those days that they'd often scrap or re-work a song simply because it "sounded too much like U2." Finally, someone asked, "What's so bad about sounding like U2?" It was a reasonable question, given the fact that U2 had originally resonated with so many fans BECAUSE they sounded like U2--and unlike any other band in history. The last two U2 tours, Elevation and Vertigo, were no experiment; they were U2 being U2 and not apologizing for it.

What's so bad about that?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2005
I expected this to look a lot like the Elevation DVD, but the darker and more colorful lighting make this feel quite different. The setlist alterations from the Elevation DVD inevitably change the atmosphere. A few "Boy" album songs make a welcome return after an absense since the early eighties and the four-song "Achtung Baby" set is great to see. Also, many songs performed on Elevation are executed quite differently here.

This DVD carries Elevation's same stylistic approach further, and, in doing so, has exacerbated its cinematic faults, too. In some cases, the even more hurried camera editing to please hipsters with low attention spans is troubling, if not downright annoying. In 1988, director Phil Joanou's work on "Rattle and Hum" showed how camera moves and editing could be dynamic and graceful without losing a sense of the band's stage presence. However, on this DVD, director Hamish Hamilton loses such naturalness by switching camera perspectives every few seconds with dizzying effect. For example, instead of simply letting the band's delivery and physicality suffice for entertainment, an otherwise nice performance of the fast-paced "The Fly" is ruined by a quick juggling of images. Still, Mr. Hamilton has chosen a welcome use of footage from above the performers' heads, so you can see Larry playing on his drum kit and The Edge switching pedals in all their skilled musical glory.

Yet, what really hurts this DVD -- in addtion to the, at best, decent film directing -- are the performances. While some are quite nicely carried out musically, Bono's vocals stop short from reaching their full potential. Fans have already had to accept the singer's tragic loss of his falsetto range due to smoking and the effect that has had on his performing vocally-challenging songs from the '90s. Yet even the newly released "City of Blinding Lights" and especially "Miracle Drug" aren't given the power and emotional urgency they have on the studio album and at least deserve for a DVD-worthy concert performance. Although a few performances are fairly good, given Bono's new limitations, the overall concert is not quite representative of how great U2 can be live. Therefore, if this is not how great the band can be, then why would anyone want to watch it multiple times.

Many fans on [...] forums have commented that, in the first leg of the tour from which this DVD is taken, U2 did not fulfill the potential it showed when it returned on the third leg with much more practice under its belt; some who even went to the concerts filmed here were much more captivated (which is not to say they were dissatisfied in the first place) when the band returned months later. Similar comments were made about the first leg of U2's Elevation Tour in 2001 being quite lacklustre compared to later shows when the band returned to North America and helped cheer up post-9/11 audiences. Yet, even for that tour, U2 chose to record evidence of Bono's less than elastic vocal range, and the band was said to exhibit a restraint in the face of self-consciousness from being recorded. In this 2005 release, the same problem seems to repeat itself. It's not that the band isn't doing all it can to give a good show -- and it's quite good -- it's just that there's no reason for such an early release when a later one might have been, by many fan accounts, better. Unfortunately, this won't happen since no third leg shows are being filmed for commerical release.

However, U2 did film its outdoors concert in Milan this summer, and it was supposed to have been quite good. I expect the associated DVD release next year to be superior, since the Slane DVD from the 2001 second leg in Europe was so much better than Elevation; in it, Bono's voice just seems more alive and more powerful, and the band's chemistry with the crowd is considerably more fun.

The Extras:

There is little reason to buy this 2-disc version if it's going to cost you more, unless you're a completist. The 30-minute tour documentary is essentially about the embarrassing praise of fans, which no one needs to see -- not even fellow fans like myself.

The alternative video of "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" by Phil Joanou just seems like the original but with one take of Bono singing and walking. You can hear Bono singing over the recorded version, which just makes this irritating.

The major selling point of this second disc is the real disappointment, however. The surveillance edits of four songs are like something Radiohead would put out to self-conscoiusly not seem commercial. There's no art here. It's just a lot of black and white, grainy, fuzzy images of The Edge's legs or Bono's face as footage of awkward camera angles is assembled from performances of songs found on the first disc anyway; the sound is fine, but the video leaves much to be desired.

I only bought this edition because of the comparatively nicer packaging, and because it was actually the same price as the single-disc version at "Sam the Record Man" in Toronto at the bargain price of $19.99.

This brings me to one last complaint: the packaging.

There seems to be a new trend this year with DVDs being packaged so they overlap one another. I can't stand this, since, in order to listen to Disc 2, you have to take Disc 1 out first. It just seems a cheap way to save on plastic. The Elevation DVD had much nicer packaging.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2005
Okay credentials first. I saw U2 at the Brixton Academy in 1984, Sydney in 1989, Sydney 1993 (at the Zoo TV recording), Edinburgh 1997, Sydney 1998 and will be fighting for Vertigo tickets for Sydney next March - in short I know this band in concert. This concert is classic U2 with all the things you would expect - stunning staging, haunting moments (eg the opening chord of City of Blinding Lights with Adam in sillhouette as the lights curtains descend and the crowd amps up) political speeches, crowd singalongs and great great music. I can not fault a single track although the more staccato phrasing on Zoo Station didnt add anything to the song. The highlight was hearing the opening riffs from Electric Co and seeing the band morph back into the hyper energetic post punk outfit I fell in love with when Boy was released in 1982. The sound quality is outstanding - I listened to the DTS setup and it was crisp and punchy. The editing is a matter of taste and more long shots of the stage and band in full flight would have been good because when U2 get rolling its a breathtaking sight to behold. Overall a fautless recording of what looked like a great show.

I am knocking a star off for the lousy extras DVD which has a mildly interesting documentary with some fleeting backstage moments, and worst of all the pointless surveillance footage.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2005
I loved U2's last concert disc from the Elevation tour, and I had high hopes for this one.

At first I was blown away by the crank up of visual effects and the light show, but after I've watched bits and pieces of this concert several times, I realized the most imporant thing: U2 is one of, if not the, greatest bands in the world. And they prove it in their live shows.

Bono's in typical fashion, prancing and belting out that voice, backed by Edge, Larry, and Adam. They seem in their element, not missing a note (except for Bono's frog in his throat). I love "Original of the Species" and "Miracle Drug" and "Yahweh." But the whole concert is incredible. How they build "Elevation" up is just masterful.(And how can you beat Bono playing the drum in "Love and Peace or Else"?)

Every performance is marvelous, and the filming and editing are great. I HIGHLY recommend this DVD.

I didn't get to catch this tour in person. So I didn't spend over $100 per ticket to see it. Instead I got this bargain and feel like I was in the front row.

U2 just gets better with age. I can't wait to see what's coming next.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2006
The mediocre score I give here is related to the production of this DVD, not the concert itself. I like that the video is widescreen enhanced, and the audio options sound great. However, I agree with other reviewers below: the directing, camerawork, and editing ruined a good concert video. The MTV-style fast cuts, blurry shots, and extreeeme close-ups prevent the viewer from settling into the concert experience. The director tries too hard to add extra energy to the performance. I would prefer to let the performers do that on their own. This is not a concert video for musicians, who would like to see how the Edge plays his riffs and solos. Rather, this video was made for folks with short attention spans. There are virtually no shots longer than a few seconds. I had hoped for something different from the Live in Boston and the Slane Castle DVDs. However, no luck with this DVD.
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