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“I have a vision…Television!”
Incredibly, one of U2’s finest moments has yet to be released on DVD – until now. Tuesday saw the DVD premiere of ZooTV – Live in Sydney, the ultimate U2 experience from their famous ZooTV tour in Sydney, Australia, 1993 at a football stadium.
I’ve been lucky enough to be the proud owner of the Paleolithic laserdisc, which until now has proved to be the best audio/visual representation of what was a magical concert night indeed.
For the uninformed, the show was taped during the second leg of the ZooTV tour, after U2’s excellent CD Zooropa hit the shelves. From 1987 to 1992 I had stopped following U2, mostly due, ironically, to their most famous album “The Joshua Tree”, which I couldn’t stand! I wasn’t buying into the “Americanization” of the Irish band, and found songs Joshua Tree’s songs too blues-y for my taste, and couldn’t wait for another album as triumphant as “War”.
It took a while, but in the months following the release of “Achtung Baby” in 1991, I was hooked on U2 again, welcoming their re-emergence as an eclectic (yet palatable to the mainstream) band with the provocative hits “The Fly” and “Even Better than the Real Thing”. When they released their excellent follow-up, Zooropa, I was back on board, bigger and better than ever. I liked Zooropa more than Achtung Baby. My favorite tunes were the exhilarating title track; the dreamy, excellent “Stay (Faraway So Close!) – Bono and Nastassia Kinski in the same video – life doesn’t get any better than that; the apocalyptic “The Wanderer”, featuring great guest vocals by the other Man in Black; and of course – one of the best singles of the ‘90s: “Lemon”.
Now onto the DVD, which has both single and double DVD versions. Let me give you some advice: Do not walk, run to your favorite retailer (or log on) and get this one as soon as you can. I can’t begin to describe the emotions you’ll feel and the musical genius you’ll experience from beginning to end. I can honestly say you’ll never see a rock concert spectacle of this magnitude.
All begins with a jaw-dropping multimedia montage of sight and sound before the band is introduced, then Bono appears on a massive monitor silhouetted before TV interference, kicking to the strains of “Zoo Station”. The following performances have an Achtung Baby flavor, with Bono shrouded as “The Fly” with goggle sunglasses and black vinyl suit belting out “Even Better than the Real Thing” and “The Fly”. “Mysterious Ways”, like the video, features a live, enchanting belly dancer. Bono then ditches the glasses and jacket, delivering a gorgeous, show-stopping version of “One”, soon followed by a rousing rendition of the classic “New Years Day” with The Edge on keyboards.
The show’s midpoint is something to behold. All the massive monitors are switched off, and the band strides down a catwalk to the middle of the football field where a small, intimate stage is nestled in the middle of a sea of fans. The only light visible is the famous “ZooTV” neon sign perched high above the stage, eerily flickering in the night sky. It is at this time when U2 conveys the struggle between real human emotion and the infection of TV’s dumbshows and noise as they bring their music down to acoustic basics. No TV’s. No multicolored stage lights. No costumes. Just four musicians before their devoted fans.
We they hear the “Angel of Harlem” guitar riff, and the crowd goes into a frenzy. Even if you’re not a big fan of the single, AOH is an incredible song performed live. When you think it can’t get any better, the guys follow it up with “Stay (Faraway So Close!) from Zooropa.
U2 concludes the acoustic set with a brilliant, hi-tech duet with a musical legend that greatly influenced their career: Lou Reed.
Together, Bono and The Edge cover Reed’s “Satellite of Love” – and a ghostly TV signal of Reed is received through one single, giant monitor. Otherworldly yet heartfelt all at the same time, it’s the prime example of ZooTV’s genius conceptualizations and is one of the most memorable duets you’ll ever experience.
More hits are introduced in succession (“Bullet in the Blue Sky”, “Where the Streets Have No Name”, “Pride”), and then Satan shows up in the guise of Bono’s second alter ego – “Mr. Macphisto” - The Fly’s adversary - crooning one of U2’s best songs: “Lemon”. Bono proves he’s a showman like no other, simultaneously playing to the crowd and a jib-mounted camera following him down a catwalk.
The second-to-last song is the poignant “Love is Blindness”, played beneath a canopy of stars and constellations slowly rotating on the monolithic screens. Then, all darkens again, and Bono ends on an Elvis song: “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” with only The Edge on acoustic guitar. The crowd joins in the famous chorus, as Bono quietly steps down the catwalk, fading to black.
For the U2 fan who desires the 2-DVD set, it includes behind the scenes and documentary footage.
Mickey Hargitay is Gone Oh, yeah, he’s got a daughter who’s on some TV show. While I’m sure he was happy she won an Emmy award, I’m sure he would rather have had her follow in his footsteps and act in cult films instead of boob tube fodder for the couch potato crowd.
A fond farewell to cult movie icon Mickey Hargitay, who starred in several European horror films and Hercules features, including: “Lady Frankenstein” and “Bloody Pit of Horror”. He was married to another popular cult star: Jayne Mansfield, who died in an auto accident in 1967.
"Oddservations" is ©2006 by Andy Lalino. The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.
Oh, yeah, he’s got a daughter who’s on some TV show. While I’m sure he was happy she won an Emmy award, I’m sure he would rather have had her follow in his footsteps and act in cult films instead of boob tube fodder for the couch potato crowd.