Friday, January 05, 2007


I'm a comedian because there already is a Bono.

We rented U218: The Videos the other night and it's bringing back a flood of memories. I've been into them since I stole my sister's copy of The Joshua Tree in high school.

The only problem with the dvd is it's not complete. The track listing sticks pretty closely to the new greatest hits cd, which itself skips a few important singles. Sure, "One" is there three times (buffalos and sunflowers included) but not this video for "The Fly". I remember Walker and I driving through Brooklyn when this premiered on the radio. We were dumbfounded. "This is U2?" No delayed guitars, no lyrics about Jesus and a disco beat. We didn't know it then but it was a seminal moment for the band.

Walker and I were more used to the wanting-to-be-cowboys phase of the band which ended with "Rattle and Hum". Today this album is overlooked but at the time it was enormous. The dvd only gives us "Desire" and skips the great "Angel of Harlem". You couldn't escape this video in the winter of 1988 but now you can barely find it on youtube.

If you want to see U2 at their most earnest, you need to go to "The Unforgettable Fire". Their only hit at the time "Pride (In the Name of Love) but I forgot they even did a video for the title track. According to the dvd, so did the band.

The less said about "Zooropa" and "Pop" the better. But they could have included the only decent song from that era "Stay (Faraway So Close)".

"Staring at the Sun" by the band's own admission, is almost a great song. At the very least it inspired me to write one of my own best songs.

The rest of those records proved the four of them had lost their minds. But I wouldn't mind seeing "Discoteque" again for pure camp value.

And then there's "Numb".

Maybe some videos are better left unseen.

1 comment:

TCB Walsh said...

Nice but I happen to think Zooropa is actually a fine album with some great lesser known tracks like "Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car" - very reminiscent of the Bowie/Eno work of Low, Heroes, etc. And I think "Lemon" is one of their all-time classics. Give it another listen JC. I put it on for the first time in years a few months back and enjoyed it from the beginning to the great Johnny Cash cameo at the end.