Even great rock bands sometimes find it hard to marry the raw energy of their big music with the top line in staging and presentation. When Paul McCartney opened the Citi arena, he had a huge screen of visuals, too, but didn't really draw much of the show's impact from it.
U2 have never had any trouble on that front. They've never shied away from taking the next step in huge presentation, so much so that nearly 20 years on, even ZooTV is breathtaking to behold. U2 seems to actually take it a notch further on 360, despite keeping the music itself very four-piece, very crunchy and even playful at the expense of so much seriousness.
When U2 commits a concert to DVD, it's probably something worth watching. Both ZooTV and the POP tours were spectacular concept set pieces, and it's no surprise that 360 is even more ludicrously extravagant .
360 draws out the concept of a "space ship" that sits in the middle of an arena, its various parts rotating the 360 degrees in question, while Bono makes full energetic use of the ramps and runways. At one point he goes on a run around the complete set. Calm down, old man!
In a way, this is more his show than the previous concepts have allowed. Edge, Mullen and Clayton are doing more musical work, the visuals above the stage are more complimentary than key, and the design of the stage demands a far more energetic addressing of the crowd. And so our Bono is in fine prancing form, proving himself the master of mugging, the king of playing to the crowd.
At times, he seems miles removed from the band on some remote walkway, while the other three (especially "sullen Mullen") look on with trademark meditation.
Of course, it wouldn't make an iota of any difference if it weren't for the fact that U2 has one of the most impressive pop catalogues of all time. They play a fair amount of timeless tunes here, the most memorable and irresistible of which is "Ultra Violet (Light My Way)" and an era-defying "Vertigo". An excellent performance captured excellently.
Watch "Vertigo" live at the Rosebowl video clip