Under a big silver screen

In the mid-seventies, four teenage boys in Dublin, Ireland, got together in a kitchen to form a band and began playing at local churches. Thirty-seven years later, U2 is hailed as one of the last great rock bands, having performed in nearly every major city around the globe.

Tickets for a U2 concert can cost over $150 at a minimum, and one may have to travel from afar to get there. But now they’re able to reach audiences from the silver screen – in purple and green bifocals, too. For $10.75, the cheapest U2 ticket you’ll ever buy, you can go to the IMAX theater in Sandy, put on some glasses as showy as the shades of Bono himself, and experience one of the greatest concert movies ever made in spectacular 3-D. And by "spectacular," I don’t mean "campy eye tricks."

U2 3D is the most ambitious 3-D film ever produced, but that’s why it’s the most impressive. Shot with eight separate cameras, requiring five crewmen on each – the most 3-D cameras ever used on one project – and compiled from more than 100 hours of concert footage, U2 3D is as innovative as it is immersive.

The groundbreaking technology enhances the experience but never feels flashy. There are times you want ask the people in the front row to please sit down, until you realize they aren’t really there. Other times someone gets in the way of seeing the stage, and you might (uselessly) try to peak around. These effects are purposefully environmental, and the audience may help get your blood pumping. But the film also gets you up close and personal with the band. If you believe that U2 is only all Bono, you’ll be surprised at how much full-screen attention is also given to guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton, and drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., all at the top of their game.

The set list is mostly made up of U2 singles (which may disappoint hardcore U2 fans), but such appeal to wider audiences is effective; if the radio made you dislike "Beautiful Day" and "Vertigo," the film might just resurrect them for you. Every song is an unforgettable performance. The entire film was produced to feel like any other U2 concert: It begins with some rockers and ballads, then dives into a harder sequence of "war songs," gives you a minute to breathe with something soft, then finishes hopefully with some patriotic anthems. There is a typical U2 encore to finish off the film, then a second encore as the credits roll. In short, don’t leave until the lights in the theater come back on.

Some may tune out the band’s small selection of lesser-known songs, their political sequence, or their playful on-stage theatricality. At one point, Bono kisses Adam Clayton, and there was a bit of snickering in my theater (from people who probably consider the phrase "Kiss me, I’m Irish" nothing more than a cute catch-phrase for T-shirts). These are all easy things to get over if you remember that it’s a rock concert, not a lecture or political rant, and U2 are known for their spiritual themes
A U2 concert can be an entertainment powerhouse and a religious experience at the same time, which is why their concert events are sorely missed. U2 3D is a virtual concert performance you can afford, and an unbeatable film experience you’d be sorry to go without.

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