3ality Digital
U2 frontman Bono in "U2 3D," feature-length concert film.
U2 3D — *** 1/2 — U2 concert film; shown in the large-screen, 3-D format; rated G (nude artwork); Cricket IMAX Theatre (Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons)

Tickets to one of Irish rock band U2's sold-out stadium concerts would probably set you back at least $100. And that would be for a seat in the "nosebleed" section, which doesn't really offer much in the way of audio or visual splendor.

"U2 3D" is the next best thing to being at one of the group's shows, and a ticket will cost you about a tenth as much.

The feature-length concert film takes full advantage of new 3-D technology and puts viewers in the middle of shows from the South American leg of U2's 2006 "Vertigo" tour. For fans of the group, it's a must-see experience.

The film is opening exclusively at the Jordan Commons Megaplex, nearly a month earlier than its national theatrical release, and will be shown on its Cricket IMAX Theatre screen.

Co-directors Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington and their camera crews captured a 14-song set on film — the last of these numbers, "Yahweh," is shown and heard during the closing credits.

A couple of U2's newer songs are mixed with lasting older hits (among the songs featured are "Pride," "One," "With or Without You" and "Bullet the Blue Sky"). The arguable highlight is a show-stopping version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

And cameras get viewers close enough to see just how bad Bono's dye job really is and so close to the sweaty South American crowds that you might feel the need to shower afterward.

For the most part, both the concerts and the film are free from the overly glitzy, theatrical presentations that nearly ruined some of U2's concerts in the late-'90s and later. Only the performance of "The Fly" is a visual nightmare, the one clunker of the bunch.

"U2 3D" is rated G, though it features brief glimpses of nude artwork (during the closing-credits number). Running time: 85 minutes.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com