Wednesday, 13th December 2017. 3:50:11pm ET
Movie: U2 - Go Home
Company: Universal
Format: DVD
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 9/16/04

Returning home to Ireland's Slane Castle, where part of The Unforgettable Fire was recorded in 1984, Go Home finds U2 in good form, giving something of a blown up Elevation Tour performance with a helping of sentimentality and a small dose of political/social commentary. Almost exactly twenty years after their 1981 festival appearance at that same venue, the veteran band returned to play a career spanning set consisting of about half of All That You Can't Leave Behind along with a slew of hits culled from their lengthy and extremely prolific back catalog. There's something of an emphasis on more serious rock/pop material. The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum era is well-represented, while tracks from the band's more stylistically adventurous releases from the 90s are few and far between.

Highlights of the show include a trip down memory lane with a stomping rendition of "Out of Control", a nice acoustic rendition of "Staring at the Sun", and an exceptionally intense performance of "Bullet the Blue Sky" with an impressive guitar solo that, perhaps, crossed over into Pink Floyd territory. "With or Without You", set against a beautiful starry backdrop, provided another standout moment, as did the always excellent "Where the Streets Have No Name" and a powerful version of "Walk On" that easily out-shined its album counterpart. In true U2 style, there are a few sentimental moments or messages aimed at the Irish crowd here and there, too. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is notably dragged out to include Bono reading off a list of the names of 29 bombing victims. "Out of Control" reaches almost outlandish proportions of sentimentality with Bono introducing the song as their first single, introducing the band as if they were unknown, and spending quite a bit of time in the middle of the song thanking family members for lending them money to get started. "Kite", on the other hand, is a heartfelt dedication to Bono's father, whose funeral was a little over a week before the September 1st concert. It's a strong (albeit fairly standard) set overall, and even when the sentimentality borders on cheesy, it still works…proving once again that few bands can pull of the spine-tingling theatricality that U2 is able to muster time and time again.

Bonuses include a killer rendition of "Mysterious Ways" that was mysteriously (pun intended) left off of the main set, perhaps because it was too light, upbeat, and pop-oriented to fit the mood of the concert film. You'll also find a handful of PC DVD-ROM features and, present for the first time on DVD, 1984's "Unforgettable Fire" documentary, an interesting "making of the album" featurette. Sound is available in PCM stereo, Dolby 5.1, and DTS, and picture quality and editing are usually quite good. It's definitely a solid package with a strong feature and a few nice bonus materials.

While not anywhere near the dynamic multimedia spectacles that Zoo TV and Popmart were, this slightly toned down and more intimate arena show proves that U2 is still a force to be reckoned with. Even with Bono's voice sounding a bit rougher and the band aging, they're still arguably one of the best live acts out there, and Go Home is a fine sort of homecoming indeed.

Feature setlist:
1. Elevation
2. Beautiful Day
3. Until the End of the World
4. New Year's Day
5. Out of Control
6. Sunday Bloody Sunday
7. Wake Up Dead Man
8. Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of
9. Kite
10. Angel of Harlem
11. Desire
12. Staring at the Sun
13. All I Want Is You
14. Where the Streets Have No Name
15. Pride (In the Name of Love)
16. Bullet the Blue Sky
17. With or Without You
18. One
19. Walk On

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