From The Sky Down

I always want to see backstage, I’d love to see the bit from “okay, let’s go,” leaving the dressing room to getting on stage. Basically the part that is while People Have The Power plays. I saw one setlist this tour that showed a couple of times at the top, and I think they were meaning when each of the guys has to go. Which is why From The Sky Down grabbed me at both the start and end, showing them heading onstage at Glastonbury. At the end they show the stage manager, and he’s literally reading a stopwatch and telling each of them to go at certain points. How detailed do you have to be to get that detailed? Very.

From The Sky Down is a documentary about the making of Achtung Baby, although it ends up being much more than that. There’s a lot of material about the early days, through The Joshua Tree, in fact the Rattle And Hum segment doesn’t end until almost a third of the movie is over. I actually think that was a weakness of the show, a little too much concentration on the earlier stuff. Now sure, you want that part about tearing down the Joshua Tree, that’s what kicks off Achtung, but much of the rest of it was fairly superfluous. In terms of the movie, not the band’s history. I mean, I could watch it all day long. It just didn’t fit the point of the movie that much.

There’s a scene near the start of the four guys on a stage, with everything and everyone revolving around them. I looked at that as amazing, it reminded me of the scenes from It Might Get Loud, the amount of work that has to happen around the band to get them just to play.

There were several parts, especially early in the movie, where Bono was playing up to the camera a little. “More abstract, sonic abstraction” kind of bullshit that he was saying to Edge. I didn’t like that much. He says he doesn’t know how they put up with that, and I don’t either. Doesn’t put Bono in a good light.

Interesting to see them walking into a hotel without a horde of people watching. They couldn’t get that today. Or rather they might be able to, there would be times when they’re away from the tour where that could certainly happen. I mean, if they walked into a hotel here in Dallas tonight, how many people would be around to see them, how many people would recognize them? Not too many I don’t think.

Most interesting part was listening to the DAT tapes of the Achtung sessions. Hearing the DAT and realizing it’s Mysterious Ways (before Bono did BTW) was fun. And then hearing the actual birth of One, that was outstanding. And calling it “Young Blood” on the tape, the first name it ever had. A whole bunch of work, having it come out of a guitar strand in Mysterious Ways, taking that one sound and pushing it into an entire new song. That’s got to be a great feeling to have that happen.

They weren’t convincing Larry and Adam about what they were playing because there wasn’t anything to show them, but then they get to that point and as they said the magic happened. But a lesson to everyone is that they had to put in the work to get to that point. It’s something you’ve heard before, lines like “luck is the residue of design,” or “the harder I work, the luckier I get.” It’s something I’ve been thinking lately because of some stuff I’ve been reading about motivation. Work hard and the rewards will come.

Really great moment in Berlin, where Larry is driving the Trabant and the cops stop them. Camera crew filming and the cop says turn it off, someone says those times are over, and he says “No. These times are not over.” Larry just standing there trying not to laugh. That was so funny.

They mentioned the drum machine during the show, but didn’t give any reason for Larry not drumming, except a short bit that he couldn’t even move. Nothing said about his back injury at the time.

I absolutely loved the model of the set, that was brilliant. Really want one of those. Maybe I could build one. Yep, just as soon as I get time.

My rating for From The Sky Down: 8 / 10