Go Home: Live from Slane Castle
First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2004, Volume 11, #2
Written by John Metzger
Concert videos, even more than concert albums, frequently fail to translate from stage to home environments. It could be because film crews are too distracting to a band. Or it could be because one scrutinizes a performance much more closely when not caught up in the excitement of attending a show. Or it could be that once a set list becomes familiar, itís no longer as intriguing. No matter the reason, these products tend to serve as nice, if forgettable, souvenirs that are best utilized to relive an enjoyable experience rather than to reach those with only a passing interest in a group.
That makes U2ís Go Home: Live from Slane Castle a rarity. Despite the fact that the concert concluded the bandís Elevation tour ó one which found the band delivering a nearly identical set night after night ó the show was extraordinarily charged with energy. Indeed, itís a spellbinding performance that bristles with the intensity of raw, unbridled emotion. Given that it was the groupís return to the venue that hosted its coming out party in 1981 as well as the place where it recorded its video for Pride (in the Name of Love), this undoubtedly would have been a fervent affair regardless of the circumstances. However, in the week preceding the event, lead singer Bonoís father passed away, and as a result, this performance took on an even greater meaning, becoming his emphatic eulogy.
The transformation is an intriguing one. U2 had constructed its show to mirror the overarching theme of its most recent studio outing All That You Canít Leave Behind. Consequently, thereís an emphasis on spiritual fulfillment and the importance of love, family, and community over the accumulation of material possessions. Some might find that to be a tad preachy ó though, to be fair, U2 typically delivered its songs with such immense passion as to make each concert a wildly entertaining endeavor ó but at the event featured on Go Home: Live from Slane Castle, the proceedings assumed a far more personal tone as Bono publicly grieved his dear, departed dad.
For much of the past decade, U2 had incorporated a myriad of bigger and better special effects into its stage show, relying on gimmicks for support as its members learned how to connect with audiences of increasingly massive numbers. For its 2001 Elevation tour, the band had scaled back considerably its eye candy to reveal a mature ensemble that ably captivated its fans solely through its music. In the history of rock ínĎ roll, few groups ever have been able to hold a crowd in such rapt attention from the first note of a concert to the last. The Rolling Stones was once capable; so was Bruce Springsteen. But the torch clearly has been passed along. Just before embarking on the Elevation tour, Bono boldly proclaimed that U2 was the greatest rock ínĎ roll band currently touring, and if there was any doubt, then, that his statement was true, Go Home: Live from Slane Castle should immediately dispel it.
Go Home: Live from Slane Castle is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box