As the biggest band in the world right now (sorry Coldplay, you're not there just yet), any new U2 material is something of an event, and this souvenir of the band's Vertigo tour is no exception. It's long (nearly 2 hours 20 minutes), 23 songs long and conveys the wonderful, celebratory atmosphere that's a pre-requisite of U2 live performances.
Shot in Chicago on 9 and 10 May 2005 (the latter being Bono's 45th birthday incidentally), the DVD is of very similar style to that of the Boston Elevation disc - it's shot by the same director, Hamish Hamilton, which means there's lots of spectacular camera shots (our first sight of The Edge is an aerial shot of him playing guitar), lots of dramatic zooms and fast edits and swooping camera angles. This brings the viewer directly into the audience and is almost (but not quite) as good as being there.
As for the concert itself, fans will be in seventh heaven. Opening with a snippet of Wake Up by Arcade Fire (the band's introductory music every night during the tour), there's a magnificently slow build up to City Of Blinding Light which is where the gig properly starts.
The light show is incredible, and the stage design is pretty much revolutionary. A large circular catwalk saw Bono and the rest of the band walking across the crowd during the concert, sending the faithful into raptures. Energetic renditions of Vertigo and Elevation follow, before a trip down memory lane to one of U2's earliest songs, The Electric Co.
Like all great showman, Bono walks that tightrope between incredible charisma and utter ludicrousness. During An Cat Dubh, he curls up on the elevated catwalk, reaching out to the crowd before dragging a small boy up to sing to him. It's toe-curlingly embarrassing, but later, when he removes the wraparound shades and sings a heartstopping version of Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, you know exactly why the band have reigned supreme for nearly 25 years.
Shot apparently unedited (Bono cocks up the lyric to Elevation thanks to a self-confessed "frog in the throat"), the DVD is rather too long, as several of Bono's more rambling speeches could have easily have been cut out without diminishing the quality. Yet it still flies by, despite it being longer than most feature films.
The setlist includes highlights from all phases of U2's career, with the Atomic Bomb material sitting very comfortably next to the classics of Achtung Baby and Joshua Tree. An acoustic version of Yahweh sounds particularly good, as does a soaring One (only spoilt by being preceded by a long speech from Bono beseeching the audience to text a number to tell President Bush to "make poverty history" - laudable sentiments for sure, but it also gives the impression that all you have to do is wear a white wristband and text a number to make you feel you've 'done your bit').
There's also a vast array of extra features, for those who wish to pay for such things, including a half-hour ‘behind the scenes' documentary, a 20 minute 'Surveillance Cuts' version of four songs (which is filmed by black and white infra-red cameras) and an alternative version of the video for Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.
Overall, if you've already got either the Boston Elevation DVD or the U2 Go Home Slane Castle DVD, then it's debatable whether you'll need this. Yet if you're one of the many hardcore fans who are willing to snap up every last live souvenir, then Live From Chicago will be the perfect Christmas present to yourself.