'Nowhere to hide, no big lemon, no big screens, no toys to play with.' says Ned O'Hanlon, producer of U2 Live From Boston
Elevation: U2 Live From Boston is quite simply the best live concert footage I have ever witnessed, writes John Walshe at Hotpress.com. 'It is absolutely stunning and, more than that, it actually gives you more than a sense of what it must have been like to be at the gig, which is an amazing achievement.
"It turned out better than we could have expected," admits Ned O'Hanlon, the producer of the DVD, proudly. Ned and his partner Maurice Linnane make up Dreamchaser, the Irish company who were also responsible for Zoo TV Live from Sydney and Popmart Live from Mexico City.
"This was more of a challenge than either of the other concerts," Ned confesses. "There was nowhere to hide: no big lemon, no big screens, no toys to play with. But we got a great performance and I think it is the best thing we have done. I couldn't be more pleased with it."
The night before they shot the Boston gig, Dreamchaser embarked on a dry run, which, as the DVD's Making Of... documentary reveals, wasn't at the races at all. Surely that must be worrying, the day before the shoot is to take place.
"You don't often get two bites at the cherry when you shoot these things because it is very expensive," Ned admits. "But this is the third concert film we have shot with U2 and we knew right from the very start that we would need two nights to shoot it to make any sense out of it. You anticipate what you need to do and plan, but at some point you have to turn on the cameras and do it, and with the best laid plans, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Fortunately, we had always planned that the second night was going to be our night and we were much more ready for it.
"U2 are unusual in that they are so involved in every aspect of their own shows, designing them conceptually through to the finer details and they have a very good sense for how film works," Ned says. The producer points out, however, that Dreamchaser had to do a hard sell to convince the band that the various extras on the DVD were worth the additional work involved.
These are no more afterthoughts, tacked on at the end to cadge a few more quid out of the fans. No sirree Bob. There is the 25-minute Tom Dunne-narrated Making Of.., as well as bonus tracks, hidden tracks featuring the unique Bono-cam, which was fixed onto the frontman's glasses (along with a huge transmitter and battery pack strapped to his back with velcro), various other camera angles, trailers and screensavers.
Being a big U2 fan, Ned admits that he has been "very fortunate to have done so much work with them", but what I and half the world want to know is what are they like to work with?
"As a band, their standards are very high: they work very hard and expect everybody around them to work just as hard," he stresses. "That is not to say that they are unreasonable but they are very exacting. They would never accept anything that they are not happy with: they are very apologetic about the extra work or grief that it might cause, but it has to be done. They have never let their standards drop and I admire that."
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