U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle Ireland (Island) Rating: NNN
If you've never seen U2 in concert and actually want to, or even if you have and need to see them again, this is probably the best you can do. Live from Ireland's groovy Slane Castle, U2 give one of those emotionally charged performances of a massive span of repertoire to a huge adoring crowd. Twenty years ago they played the very first festival at the castle in support of Thin Lizzy in 1981 (hence, I guess, the Go Home title). Listen to tunes like With Or Without You, New Year's Day or Bullet The Blue Sky played live and you realize how much they've become part of our cultural atmosphere. Like, you don't own one U2 record, but you know the words. The disc highlight is the 1984 documentary Unforgettable Fire featuring the band as spry young bucks, which has an eerily timeless quality despite the bad hair and shirts. Also featured is a pretty lame CD-ROM with a 360° view of the concert, screen savers, a tour diary and web links.
Holly McNarland Live At The Great Hall (Universal/Curve/Westbury/Electrosonic) Rating: NN
The excitement never stops in the world of Holly McNarland. Not only does this DVD feature a live performance of McNarland's emotionally self-indulgent songwriting, but you also get footage of her arriving to check out the venue. "There'll be four cameras and a crane," someone informs her. If you're not on the edge of your seat by now you must be made of stone. In interviews, such privileged information as the favourite animals of the band members is revealed. James Moore likes dogs, but the question completely stumps drummer Nick Pesut. Eighty-one hours of countdown to the live show. An interview with Holly reveals that her mother encouraged her to sing and Ani DiFranco is a big influence, and if you can't stand the suspense there's a time-lapse option so you can watch the set-up in fast-forward. Excuse me. It's too much. I think I need to lie down.
King Crimson Eyes Wide Open (Sanctuary/EMI) Rating: NNN If you're not already a major King Crimson fan (and I don't know why you'd want this DVD if you're not), you'd better leave this one alone. Eyes Wide Open showcases about five hours of live footage with the lineup of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn (who has since moved on) and Pat Mastelotto - one show in London (2000) and the other in Tokyo (2003). Fripp is brilliant, no doubt about that, but he's not everyone's kind of brilliant and isn't always that much fun to watch, except maybe for those who love Larks' Tongues In Aspic, The World's My Oyster Soup, Kitchen Floor Wax Museum and the rest of the stuff that makes up this extensive track list spanning King Crimson's long career. It's not exactly loaded with extras, but there's some crazy improvisational stuff.