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U2: A Year in Pop

U2: A Year in Pop (Sat. (26); 10-11 p.m.; ABC) Filmed and taped in Dublin, Las Vegas and Miami by Dreamchaser Prods. in association with U2. Executive producer, Paul McGuinness; producer, Ned O'Hanlon; director, Maurice Linnane; writer, Barry Devlin; editor, Philip Cullen; cameras, Cian de Buitlear, Chuck Fishbein, Donal Gilligan, Joe Edwards, Morleigh Steinberg; post-production sound , B. Lucky Butler IV; PopMart live video director (Las Vegas), Monica Caston; live sound, Joe O'Herlihy; live sound supervision, Flood; PopMart show designer, Willie Williams. With: Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Paul McGuinness, Vincent Fremont, Roy Lichtenstein, Allen Ginsberg. Narrator: Dennis Hopper. ABC joins U2's project mesh with a low-key infomercial to launch "PopMart," the Irish band's world tour that kicks off Friday in Las Vegas. Bulk of the show is essentially a study of the premise that U2 rose to the top of the rock world and, in the '90s, has effectively reinvented itself through one elaborate tour, two edgy albums and a handful of side projects. Special will include footage from the opening gig at Sam Boyd Stadium to complement story of band's evolution and the making of the current Island disc "Pop," which debuted at No. 1 in 27 countries and has shipped more than 4 million copies since its March 4 release. PopMart, U2's first tour since 1992's monumental Zooropa outing , is expected to hit more than 100 cities in 14 months and could well be seen by more than 6 million people. How many members of that rock audience are at home watching TV on Saturday at 10 remains to be seen.Starting with a trip through the Vegas Strip, the contrived script attempts to draw parallels between betting on dice and cards and the gamble of a rock 'n' roll tour of these dimensions. Narrator Dennis Hopper has plenty of bus-bombing Howard Payne in his delivery, attempting to strike up a level of excitement that the principals don't project in their interview segs. U2's early history (1976-87) is glossed over quickly --- about the length of time it takes to show them performing the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" --- and the amount of screen time devoted to band manager-exec producer Paul McGuinness starts the evening with an air of excessive spin control. Hourlong extensively examines the post "Joshua Tree" era of assimilating electronic dance music into U2's heady broth with each band member offering thoughts on the creative process. None of it is much worth quoting. Director Maurice Linnane overuses split screens and picture-in-picture to pair a tightly shot talking head with grainy concert or travelogue footage. Discussions of the side projects --- Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton revitalizing the "Mission: Impossible" theme, the Passengers' imaginary soundtrack disc made with producer Brian Eno, etc. --- shed the most light on each band member's predilection, positing quite rightly how those undertakings have emerged as signposts of what the band has become. Zooropa, a model of intelligent staging, has found its only peer in the last two Rolling Stones tours, and the challenge of PopMart, as Hopper rightfully points out, is to cast an equally bold image --- one that might well be the band's last in this millennium. What "U2: A Year in Pop" presents, however, is four unassuming individuals intent on creating interesting and timely music, near polar opposites of the bombast that will define U2's current stage. To the credit of McGuinness and U2, they have taken advantage of a unique opportunity to present themselves with no hints of nostalgia; anyone else, whether it be the Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen, would be forced to relive the glory days savored by fans in a web's executive ranks. Sound quality was iffy on the tape supplied; one suspects a final mix supervised by esteemed producer Flood will add a considerable sonic boost.

With:
With: Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Paul McGuinness, Vincent Fremont, Roy Lichtenstein, Allen Ginsberg. Narrator: Dennis Hopper.

U2: A Year in Pop (Sat. (26); 10-11 p.m.; ABC) Filmed and taped in Dublin, Las Vegas and Miami by Dreamchaser Prods. in association with U2. Executive producer, Paul McGuinness; producer, Ned O’Hanlon; director, Maurice Linnane; writer, Barry Devlin; editor, Philip Cullen; cameras, Cian de Buitlear, Chuck Fishbein, Donal Gilligan, Joe Edwards, Morleigh Steinberg; post-production sound , B. Lucky Butler IV; PopMart live video director (Las Vegas), Monica Caston; live sound, Joe O’Herlihy; live sound supervision, Flood; PopMart show designer, Willie Williams. With: Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Paul McGuinness, Vincent Fremont, Roy Lichtenstein, Allen Ginsberg. Narrator: Dennis Hopper. ABC joins U2’s project mesh with a low-key infomercial to launch “PopMart,” the Irish band’s world tour that kicks off Friday in Las Vegas. Bulk of the show is essentially a study of the premise that U2 rose to the top of the rock world and, in the ’90s, has effectively reinvented itself through one elaborate tour, two edgy albums and a handful of side projects. Special will include footage from the opening gig at Sam Boyd Stadium to complement story of band’s evolution and the making of the current Island disc “Pop,” which debuted at No. 1 in 27 countries and has shipped more than 4 million copies since its March 4 release. PopMart, U2’s first tour since 1992’s monumental Zooropa outing , is expected to hit more than 100 cities in 14 months and could well be seen by more than 6 million people. How many members of that rock audience are at home watching TV on Saturday at 10 remains to be seen.Starting with a trip through the Vegas Strip, the contrived script attempts to draw parallels between betting on dice and cards and the gamble of a rock ‘n’ roll tour of these dimensions. Narrator Dennis Hopper has plenty of bus-bombing Howard Payne in his delivery, attempting to strike up a level of excitement that the principals don’t project in their interview segs. U2’s early history (1976-87) is glossed over quickly — about the length of time it takes to show them performing the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” — and the amount of screen time devoted to band manager-exec producer Paul McGuinness starts the evening with an air of excessive spin control. Hourlong extensively examines the post “Joshua Tree” era of assimilating electronic dance music into U2’s heady broth with each band member offering thoughts on the creative process. None of it is much worth quoting. Director Maurice Linnane overuses split screens and picture-in-picture to pair a tightly shot talking head with grainy concert or travelogue footage. Discussions of the side projects — Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton revitalizing the “Mission: Impossible” theme, the Passengers’ imaginary soundtrack disc made with producer Brian Eno, etc. — shed the most light on each band member’s predilection, positing quite rightly how those undertakings have emerged as signposts of what the band has become. Zooropa, a model of intelligent staging, has found its only peer in the last two Rolling Stones tours, and the challenge of PopMart, as Hopper rightfully points out, is to cast an equally bold image — one that might well be the band’s last in this millennium. What “U2: A Year in Pop” presents, however, is four unassuming individuals intent on creating interesting and timely music, near polar opposites of the bombast that will define U2’s current stage. To the credit of McGuinness and U2, they have taken advantage of a unique opportunity to present themselves with no hints of nostalgia; anyone else, whether it be the Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen, would be forced to relive the glory days savored by fans in a web’s executive ranks. Sound quality was iffy on the tape supplied; one suspects a final mix supervised by esteemed producer Flood will add a considerable sonic boost.

U2: A Year in Pop

Sat. (26); 10-11 p.m.; ABC

Production: Filmed and taped in Dublin, Las Vegas and Miami by Dreamchaser Prods. in association with U2. Executive producer, Paul McGuinness; producer, Ned O'Hanlon; director, Maurice Linnane; writer, Barry Devlin; editor, Philip Cullen

Cast: With: Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Paul McGuinness, Vincent Fremont, Roy Lichtenstein, Allen Ginsberg. Narrator: Dennis Hopper.Cameras, Cian de Buitlear, Chuck Fishbein, Donal Gilligan, Joe Edwards, Morleigh Steinberg; post-production sound, B. Lucky Butler IV; PopMart live video director (Las Vegas), Monica Caston; live sound, Joe O'Herlihy; live sound supervision, Flood; PopMart show designer, Willie Williams.

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