U2 in the mid to late 90’s were a rock n’ roll spectacle pure and simple. The excess of the ZooTV gave way to the pared down style (by comparison) of the Popmart tour which has been captured here in the form of the U2: Popmart Live from Mexico City DVD. Filmed at the Foro Sol Autodromo in Mexico City on December 3, 1997 and originally released on VHS in 1998, I suspect that seeing the show in this manner may even surpass the experience of having been at this show.
Beautifully shot, this show captures a beautiful moment in time. From the opening march from the back of the stadium (complete with military escort) to the final note there is more than enough material here to please every generation of U2 fan. Opening with “Mofo” into “I Will Follow” sets the tone of the show. “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” gave me the same sense of satisfaction as the Rattle & Hum performance. Especially poignant are The Edge’s solo performance of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and Bono’s dedication of the somber “One” to Michael Hutchence who had taken his life just 11 days earlier. Both stand as reminders that despite the spectacle swirling around, U2’s songwriting is the real star of the show here.
My only criticism is the fact that the show retains its 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Perhaps I’ve become spoiled with the beautiful HD/Widescreen releases of recent times (Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds “Live from Radio City” comes to mind). The sound however has been upgraded to a 5.1 surround mix in DTS which more than makes up for the lack of a widescreen picture. Also to be noted is the excellent packaging this set comes in. Overall I’d say the set is well worth the price of admission.