U2: Zoo TV: Live From Sydney – What a Live DVD Should Look Like

When did life start going by so fast? When I checked out this disk from U2, I was thinking to myself that the Zoo TV Tour was about ten years ago. Looking at the dates, it was almost 30!

1993 Concert in Sydney from the Zoo TV Tour. That tour was a fantastic production. At 157 shows were walls of televisions displaying clips from various shows and news stories. At times words flashed across the screens as well. The whole effect was reminiscent of Apple Computer’s famous commercial which was a homage to George Orwell’s 1984.

Bono took on several personas for this concert tour as well. The first was called “The Fly” as he wore bulbous wrap-around glasses giving his eyes an illusion of being like a fly’s. Couple that with shiny leather and you have a tongue-in-cheek play on the rock star image. For the encore, he shift to “MacPhisto” which is his incarnation of the devil, complete with horns.

What results from all of this is a fantastic production both visually and musically. Many of the great U2 songs are present in the DVD along with quite a bit from the Zooropa album it was supporting.

As a concert production, this is really somewhat ahead of its time. It’s produced very well and really captures the feel of the live concert better than a lot of other concert footage I’ve seen. The concert was quite flashy and a commentary on advertising, image, and celebrity in our society. Even before the Paris Hiltons and Britney Spears of the world, it was getting a little insane. Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. are pros at cultivating an image and feel. Their terrific performances translate as well through this medium as they do live, and I’ve seen them several times live.

Zoo TV is shot quite well. It uses a variety of interesting camera angles mainly on Bono but on the rest of the band as well throughout the show. There are some good images of the entire band as well. The way it was filmed captures the light play and effects they used in the production excellently.

I really liked the selection of songs. Sure, some of the classics I really wanted to hear were missing, but overall the selection was good for U2’s block of work up until this time. I liked hearing Angel of Harlem which I hadn’t heard before live. Other songs which stood out live were Bullet the Blue Sky and Where the Streets Have No Name, which is probably my favorite song of theirs. There were also cover versions of classics such as Unchained Melody and Can’t Help Falling in Love.

In many ways, Zoo TV is like a continuous music video. Images of the band playing are superimposed on the scenes which were shown on the giant televisions during the tour. Also, the words from those screens are on this screen as well. Overall, it’s one of the best productions I’ve ever seen.

There are some terrific Easter Eggs on the discs as well. The best way to find them is to play it on a Windows Media player. There are some specific directions out there on various websites for how to do this, but they are there. There’s a terrific documentary in these that I really enjoyed watching.

If you are a fan of U2, this is one of the best DVDs of a live performance I’ve come across. It’s well worth adding to your collection. The bonuses and Easter eggs on the second disc make it worth springing for the 2-disc edition.

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