U2 grabbed their hometown by the short and dangly bits on Thursday, filming part of their video for their upcoming release ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own’ in the heart of the city, on Grafton Street.
Patrick Lynch reports for U2log.com:
It could have been just another ordinary December day in Dublin’s Grafton Street. Indeed as I rushed along the street that’s exactly what it seemed like. But beyond the hordes of shoppers, the Christmas tree lights and carol singers, any U2 fan would soon find what they were looking for.
U2 had already blitzed the city centre twice in the same week. Once on Monday with a very public entrance to The Gaiety theatre to commence shooting on the video for ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own’ and secondly on Wednesday, where on the inner city’s Sheriff Street Bono was filmed walking the streets solo (a la Springsteen in the ‘Philadelphia’ video) with Phil Joanou at the helm, overseen by Larry who reportedly ordered retake after retake.
For those of us who narrowly missed one event and read about the other, the tip off that U2 were up to their tricks again was definitely fate playing third time lucky and an opportunity not to be missed. Toward the top half of Grafton Street, the faithful and just downright curious had gathered. Located in an alcove between two buildings, a crane holding a very big looking camera was hoisted halfway up a wall. Its small podium hosted Phil Joanou and Larry among three or four other crew and cameramen. Above them, a group of workers looked from office windows, a banner draped from one that read “FROM UP HERE WE’RE RISKING VERTIGO FOR U2”.
Below, the assembled were gathered in diverse groups. Boys and girls in school uniforms, men, women, tourists, couriers on their way to jobs radioing back to base to say that they had got delayed. Nearly every second person seemed to be either waving a mobile phone in the air, cameras to the ready, the rest of us busy ringing and texting everyone we knew.
I was on the phone to one friend reporting that nobody seemed to know what was happening, other than the camera was clearly in position and facing down Grafton Street. Everyone was poised facing this camera but turning their heads to view the street that it was aimed at. The arrival of a security van sparked rumours that a member of U2 was about to appear. To do exactly what was not clear. How could U2 possibly do anything with such a crowd around?
This was balanced by the realisation that if they didn’t want a crowd they would not have chosen 4pm weekday on a busy downtown street. I was discussing all these possibilities when next a roar went up from about fifty metres away and then, there he was directly in my line of vision. Bono. It was the most amazing spectacle. Ireland’s most famous son walking among us. Head to toe in black, hooded, walking briskly and very much…in character! As the crowd rushed toward him (some of us more in his path than others), assisted by a subtle but effective body guard, his fast pace cut a line through them. The crowd parted like the red sea.
For his part, Bono looked like a man totally immersed in performance as he walked the short stretch toward the camera crane staring intently ahead of him. The filming of this short scene took him straight up the middle of the street where he then exited right into a laneway just at the base of the camera crane. Out of performance, he relaxed and shook a few hands at the front of the crowd. Throughout these mesmerizing few moments, the crowd’s reaction was ecstatic, everyone shouting his name and cheering him on, wanting to touch him but somehow not daring to.
Bono and the film crew then disappeared for awhile, and the crowd savoured their excitement between each other and to friends on phones. Within twenty cold minutes (where we endured a very sudden and heavy rain shower), the film crew reappeared on the crane’s podium, clear indications of another imminent take and we all settled in for a second performance.
After an even longer wait, with the crowd thinning out along the route he may take, and hyped to fever pitch, the short figure of Bono could be seen emerging through the throngs of people again. Once more he was intent, focused, and totally undeterred by the fuss of roars of approval and camera flashes erupting around him. When his walk was completed again he detoured left and disappeared into the laneway as before. This time the crew disappeared and, after another long wait, began to disassemble most of the camera equipment. One lone camera operator remained, creating an ache of torment for those of us forced by other pressing commitments to leave the scene. But with the crowds dispersing and the rush hour masses filling in the street, it was unlikely that any more takes would seem viable or safe.
For the two brief thirty second takes with Bono close enough to stand on your foot it was a spectacular moment of U2 history and a thrill to be part of. After recently treating New York fans it was widely appreciated by all the home followers. Yet another sort of homecoming!