The Best Rockumentraries: #10 U2 double feature
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
August 23, 2017 8:45am CST
Four years separate “Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky” (1984) and “U2: Rattle and Hum” (1988) and there is a difference. The former is considered a brilliant concert performance while the latter disappointed U2 fans. Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado is a premiere concert venue and U2 helped enhance that status. There is no other stage as unique as Red Rocks. Rain was predicted for the evening of June 5, 1983 but the band insisted on going on and director Gavin Taylor’s cameras caught the action. The Red Rocks setting plus rainy weather created an ethereal atmosphere ideal for the Irish rockers. They performed early hits “I Will Follow,” “New Year’s Day” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and their energized performance (especially Bono’s) took U2 to superstardom. Director Phil Joanou (who later did “Gridiron Gang”) pitched the idea to the band who initially financed the project until Paramount bought it. “Rattle and Hum” is a mix of live and studio material. Joanou shot two nights at McNichols Area in Denver during the Joshua Tree tour. U2 performs 22 songs including “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “With or Without You,” “Pride (in the name of Love)” and “Where the Streets have No Name.” “Rattle and Hum” misses. A bit flat or perhaps pretentious.
Video and sound were remastered for my favorite songs from the legendary red rocks concert of U2.
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