Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Video: U2 - "Window in the Skies"

The household is divided like this: Pearl Jam is my favorite band that I will love to the death and U2 is the First Lady's favorite band that she will love to the death. I make cracks about Bono wearing sunglasses all the time. First Lady defends his eye condition. First Lady cracks on me being all of 26 years old and being a member of Ten Club and I crack on Bono running around on a heart-shaped stage. So when we left the Verizon Center this year, following her indoctrination into the Pearl Jam live experience, and walked to a cab, I had to ask her. She saw U2 several months prior, at the same venue (in the owner's box no less) and loved it. But I had to know. In her opinion, who is better live? Maybe it was the rush of the show. Maybe it was the afterglow of being in the presence of greatness and seeing your loved one explode with other members of the Ten Club when the opening bars of "Release" kicked off the experience. Maybe that is what made it great for her. I can buy that. But there's no changing her answer: "Pearl Jam. By far." In Eddie we trust.

Last night we were in a similar afterglow. We had just purchased a new car, something we had been holding out on for a long time. I was happy because it was a Passat (a 2002 Passat saved my life and my friend's life about 4 years ago, and I still own it), and well, because the First Lady was happy. We settled down for some TV. Now, I am not a big TV guy, I have my shows and I stick to them, so it is a rare moment where I am flipping around. But we settle on some "Rob & Big" on MTV and well, I have to admit, that shit is pretty funny ("do work"). I notice during the ads that a new U2 video is premiering. The idea of a video premiere is slightly humorous to me, mainly because, as you can see, this shit was on YouTube three days ago. Premiere my ass. But it was the first time I was seeing it. I get pretty psyched during the previews because it looks like an extended version of that scene in Vanilla Sky where Cruise's life flashes before his eyes (starts around 2:50) only it is all music clips, no stills.

I start talking it up a little bit and the First Lady is laughing. "Why are you so excited about U2?" She's ribbing me, talking a little shit and I like that.

The video is what videos should aspire to be: an experience. They aren't changing the world with it, but it is something new. It is enjoyable with repeat views (I have watched it five times today). It goes to show you why U2 is still around today. They simply continue to adapt and morph and make great music that people can relate to. There is a touch of Johnny Cash's "Hurt" but it isn't a personal retrospective. It is an homage to musicians and legends, young and old. It closes with Frank Sinatra closing a song and walking towards the camera. I get goosebumps at that point, because I know the impact Sinatra has left on Edge and Bono.

In a recent taping of David Stewart's "Off the Record" on HBO, Bono related a great story about Sinatra. They were hanging out in New York during a recording session where Sinatra joined Bono on vocals. In between sessions, they were at a restaurant late one night drinking (Bono made a point to say that Sinatra drank them under the table) and during a lull in a conversation Sinatra looked down at his napkin and under his breath said "my eyes used to be that blue." Bono's description of that moment is beautiful, and to a certain extent the interview that night gave me a glipse into the heart of a guy that is often the butt of my jokes, and allowed me to understand him a little bit more and appreciate his work and vision. U2, whether you like them or not, are a special band and Bono is a special individual. This video - this homage to music in all its forms - is a remarkable trip. The way the lyrics blend with other people singing their songs, the way Bono and Edge and Adam Clayton find themselves mingling in the crowd is a beautiful reminder that they aren't just rock stars. They are fans, too. Give it a look...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who is in "window in the skies"?