Waiting for U2 to play in Singapore is like waiting for snow to fall on this island. Enough red herrings have been passed around from time to time, so why wait when you can choose the next best alternative, and that's to soak up a U2 concert atmosphere minus the sweaty bodies without worry of rain to come spoil the parade. If you're not aware, the Science Center - yes of all places, it's a National Geographic film you see - is currently screening U2 3D at The Annexe block during the Fri-Sun weekends until the end of Feb.
With the Omnimax theatre under renovations, one may have reservations on what The Annexe has in its projection arsenal. After all, the picture you see above looks more like a school hall type with a large projection screen put on stage. I share similar concerns, but thankfully once the film started, you'll realize that the capabilities are adequate. The picture is crystal clear, and the sound system powerful enough to provide that surround sound desperately needed to put you right in the centre of the action. Meaning no warbled audio, and no echoes, at least that's what would have spoiled my experience. Sit up close to allow the screen to envelope your peripheral vision, and you're in for quite the ride with the quartet of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.
With a total of 14 songs in the set list which included 2 during the encore (With or Without You, woohoo!) and Yahweh during the closing credits, U2 3D was one of the select films that played to an invite only audience during Singapore's 3DX Film Festival back in November 2008. It took that long for this to be finally released here to the non-invited folks, but it's better late than never. 3D concert movies are nothing new these days, with the likes of Miley Cyrus, the Jonah Brothers and Justin Bieber's coming up real soon, but U2 3D was the grand-daddy of them all, with no punches pulled in a mission to evangelize 3D as a medium for concert films. Chocked full of many firsts in the shooting department right down to editing the film, it had aimed to deliver and make a concept point that it just works, and delivered on that promise this film did.
The film depicts a concert from U2's Vertigo Tour in Buenos Aires and the sheer amount of preparation and work put into making this film a reality is simply astounding, and deserves a read at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U2 . Fans of the group will find delight in the set list, and while I had enjoyed myself it really is too short as time always fly by when you're having fun. Before you know it the lights will come on, and it's all over. Some shots were deliberately shot to exploit the typical 3D gimmick, such as Bono stretching his arms and fingers out toward the camera, or Adam Clayton swinging his guitar up close to the screen, but these purposed scenes were few and far between. What you'll get instead are the typical concert shots of audiences going wild and bobbing up and down like jack rabbits, and plenty of wide shots to see how wildly popular the group is with the South Americans.
But of course nothing beats being able to see the quartet up close, which in a concert even if you're standing in the mosh pit you're still quite a distance away to see if Bono blinked. With the wide shots you'll also get to see the production brilliance of the concert (though sometimes you may feel the multiple cameras boosted the concert's look good factor), especially with that mega LED wall behind the group. I must admit I was more of a fan of the group's earlier works, and not so much of the more recent discography. With plenty of activism hours put in, inevitably some would creep into their songs and concerts, and this one was no different, especially with songs like Miss Sarajevo that provided Bono ample opportunity to be really preachy that it stuck out like a sore thumb.
In any case, this film was used to evangelize 3D as a viable medium to allow for a more immersive film experience, so that's the irony in preachiness in itself. I still think it's but a dream to be able to see U2 in an actual concert here, so fans shouldn't hold their breaths, and should just head toward the Science Centre to watch this alternative offering instead. And realize just what the concert calendar here has been missing for so many years.