Discs Are Rated
U2: Rattle and Hum
review by James S.
Running Time: 98 minutes
Starring Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam
Directed by Phil Joanou
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Theatrical trailer
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital
English 5.1, Dolby Surround English, English Captions,
This movie had me waxing nostalgic. I remember well when
U2's Joshua Tree was released. It was my senior year of
high school (man I'm getting old) and this U2 fan picked up
his vinyl copy on day 1. The album was great. That Fall,
I picked up my bags and headed off to college, album in tow.
Coming back for Thanksgiving, my high school sweetheart (and future
wife), scored a couple of tickets to U2's show in Fort
Worth, Texas. The concert was great, and the Joshua Tree
tour was immortalized in U2 Rattle and Hum.
Plain and simple, Rattle and Hum is a concert movie. It
captures the band during their North American tour,
including footage from Arizona, Harlem, and even the Fort
Worth show. Shot in both black and white and color, Rattle
and Hum balances both stage performances and a series of
short interviews and off-stage tour footage. A guest
appearance by the incomparable B.B. King is included, and
it's priceless as one of the best guitarists this world has
known says he can't play chords. B.B. even picks up the axe
to play for a song, which span their career (though heavily
biased towards Joshua Tree cuts).
You could tell this DVD was a transfer straight from
film. Plenty of film artifacts appear if you pay attention.
In addition, the black and white shots accentuate the often grainy
quality of some of the film. About two-thirds through the
movie, the band rips into Where the Streets Have No Name.
The film changes to color and the brilliance of the
silhouetted band against a red background is captured on the
DVD. While black and white is used for style, the color
portions really look impressive. Unfortunately there just
isn't enough of it.
I'm quite familiar with the Rattle and Hum soundtrack.
I've listened to it many times over the last decade. It was
because of this that I was shocked by the audio on the DVD.
I heard things I never heard before on some songs. The audio
captures more than I ever imagined. Listening through a set
of Sennheiser 580 headphones, cymbals resonated and had long
decay times. Furthermore, tambourines had a clear and
pointed jingle to them, and the bass drum had a deep rich
feel. When I compared tracks to the CD, I found the DVD to
have a richer and deeper sound, yet the CD packed more punch
on the drum kit. The soundstage was unimpressive, however.
No matter how I set the sound up, I couldn't get a decent
soundstage. I even through my vinyl copy of Joshua Tree on
to compare similar songs. Whether I piped the DVD through
the television, headphones, solid state gear, or a tube amp,
the stage was flat. To get the best out of the DVD, I
Rattle and Hum is a basic DVD. The only feature is the
theatrical trailer. In this regard, the DVD was a
If you are a U2 fan Rattle and Hum is a must buy. The
audio quality seems better than the studio albums when
compared to compact disc. The movie captures the band on
the tail end of their rawness and represents the real
turning point of the band musically. As a DVD, even though
the film transfer is average, the sound is exceptional.
Just turn the television off and listen to some great tunes.
(3/5, NOT included in
NOT an average)