Some things haven’t changed that much for U2 over the last ten years. A decade ago they were still an absolutely huge live prospect. They were at a stage in their career where they had a significant amount of hits under their belt. Of course Bono hadn’t declared himself God yet but that was only a matter of time in coming.
Ten years ago they were in the “Pop” stage of their career, one of their most experimental (and critically panned) releases of an otherwise stellar career. “Popmart Live From Mexico City” captures them in the midst of this era marking the first time this concert has been released in a digital format. Transferred from its original analogue version and remastered into 5:1 Surround Sound.
As a snapshot of the band as a live prospect it’s not a bad effort. For those that were disenchanted with the material from the album it promotes, they can take heart in the fact that all the live favourites are there such as New Year’s Day, Pride, Sunday Bloody Sunday and their ilk. The rest of the material comes from the “Pop” album and to be honest I don’t really have as much of a problem with it as many people seem to. I mean “Discotheque” and “Mysterious Ways” and “Lemon” might not stand as their greatest moments but they aren’t that bad.
In terms of the performances the band by this stage were nothing less than polished journeymen and while The Edge does look uncomfortable in places the musicianship whether you love or hate the band can’t really be faulted. Mullen’s drumming is flawless, The Edge…well he jangles. Bono hits all the right notes. While Adam Clayton…well in fairness it’s worth seeing just to see what a twat he looks like in the opening outfit with the bicycle helmet and smog mask. The poor sod really did draw the short straw.
In terms of quality the sound is crisp and reproduces well, although the visuals are a little grainy which is a shame because this was a tour that was if anything all about being colourful (the giant lemon and the cocktail sticks etc). However it’s a passable enough effort, obviously U2 fans will lap this up but I suspect there is enough here to appease even the more casual observer.
Popmart Live From Mexico City will be available on 10th September and will be available in two formats a standard 1 disc pack containing the concert and a limited edition bonus disc package which will contain previously unreleased live audio and video material including documentaries, a visual montage and DVD ROM extras.