What many U2 haters hate most often boils down to one word: Bono.
His preaching side displeases them. His explosion disturbs them. His strictness annoys them. David Letterman knows it and confronts the singer in it Bono & The Edge: Sort of Homecoming Are you embarrassing them? he asks, pointing to the other members of U2.
“Yes,” the singer answers without hovering.
His activism for the cancellation of the debts of African countries, in particular, led him to work alongside elected Republicans with whom the other members of the group did not want to be associated. He did it anyway. He even invited one of them to prom, even though The Edge himself had begged him not to.
“I tested their patience,” Bono admits, unrepentant but visibly grateful in a series of the documentary, which premieres Friday on Disney+.
Bono & The Edge: Sort of Homecoming, with David Letterman It offers several sketches of this kind, in which the singer and guitarist candidly interact with the star host. The former American king of the airwaves (whom Bono calls his “motivator”) was no puppet here. This film is initially believed to be his search on the streets of Dublin. Then, no, it’s a movie about U2 … The result is a documentary in bootleg form, peppered with poignant confidences, but not always knowing whether to narrate the aesthetic quest of a group or an animator on a journey who still wants to be a little funny .
A desire for transcendence
David Letterman makes the trip to Ireland for two reasons: to tell the group’s beginnings and to host a concert at Dublin’s Ambassador Theater where Bono and The Edge revisit some of their songs in vocal versions (sometimes with strings and chorus). Bono wanted to see if these songs had any value “if you took away the punch of a rock band like U2”.
and after? Answering the question is not the point of the film, which nonetheless shows some beautiful sequences of this scene. We’ll be able to judge better when the disc is released on Friday. Surrender Songs, which includes these new releases (but may not be the same as those of the documentary). What’s remarkable, however, is that while it’s possible to strip some of U2’s songs of their rock aura, Bono’s rock attitude is hard pressed…
Most of what David Letterman says has been heard or read elsewhere. But not directly. The animator in particular returns to one of U2’s staples: his desire to make music that has soulful resonance far removed from pop culture. It’s not a detail: the group wouldn’t have existed long without it.
The film recalls The Edge experiencing an existential crisis in the early 1980s, wondering how to combine his faith (he was part of a charismatic Christian group, like Son of Bono and Larry Mullen) and his cravings for rock music. A hair’s breadth came from dropping everything. However, he had a light: Sunday, Bloody Sundayan anti-militarist anthem that laid the foundations for it (lyrics and music) and made it feel at peace with its aspirations.
Bono & The Edge: Sort of Homecoming, with David Letterman Not everyone digs with the same skill.
If the desire to connect with the audience, the songwriting and the desire for transcendence are well addressed, his attempt to relate the development of the group to the development of mentalities in Ireland is less convincing. We don’t see at all the link the film suggests between U2 and progress on LGBTQ+ rights in Ireland…
The documentary’s strength lies in the ability to elicit poignant confidence from Bono and The Edge. without forcing anything. Yes, there were tensions within the group, the guitarist admits. Yes, Bono (and everyone else) has considered jumping ship at one point or another. But they keep. They actually hold each other.
“We are not in competition with each other,” sums up The Edge, explaining this indissoluble friendship, unique in the history of rock music, that has adapted over the decades. “I was going to put my life in his hands,” Bono says of The Edge. I’ve already done it. And it was the right choice. »
On Disney+ from Friday
Bono & The Edge: Sort of Homecoming, with David Letterman
Bono and The Edge host David Letterman in Dublin for interviews and a private party where they re-enact some of U2’s hit songs.
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