The first thing that strikes you watching Under A Blood Red Sky is the pre-show video. I don’t remember too many concert films setting the stage like that, showing the rain and preparations for it. The second thing that strikes you is Bono’s hair, which is either an electrified mullet or a lost skunk that is snuggling up to him. On the other hand Larry looks like a twelve year old, and has a really goofy smile when New Year’s Day starts playing.
Even though it looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere, I had no idea that Red Rocks is so close to Denver, it’s maybe ten miles away from downtown. It’s a small and steep amphitheater, when you’re in that crowd it must feel like you’re almost on top of the band. And then there’s the closeness of the crowd to the stage, that doesn’t happen any more. At one point some dude reaches out and grabs Bono’s leg while he’s on stage, and yells something at him while Bono tries to pull away. That certainly wouldn’t happen, let alone the barriers nowadays there’d be security grabbing the guy and throwing him out. And then Bono falls back and crowd-surfs, I don’t think he’d make it out of the audience alive today, he’d be mobbed (let alone he’d probably break another shoulder).
In the early part of the show it’s daylight, and it darkens a lot as the sun goes down. I noticed at one point the flames on top of the set had gotten much bigger, and thought it was for Sunday Bloody Sunday, but then I realized that no, they were probably like that all the way through, they were just much more obvious when it was dark outside. Gave it much more ambience in the later part of the show.
People talk about the flare of the lights on the cameras during this show, and some comments about how it should be cleaned up for release. I think it adds to it, certainly defines the period and once again adds a little atmosphere. It did not detract in any way for me, at least.
I love Out Of Control, although I must admit to preferring the version from 360 that is on U22. That’s just a personal preference though, I could easily like this version better on another day.
Sunday Bloody Sunday is one of the classic versions of the song, with the marching, and the cover image of Bono holding the white flag up. The moment in the middle of Sunday, when Edge steps up to the front of the stage to play, that to me is the quintessential Edge, the perfect moment for a rock guitarist. I dream of being that guy when I play my guitar.
It amuses me to see Bono walking round with a microphone with a cord on it, certainly dates the show. There are several occasions where he almost gets tangled up or trips over it, and I keep wondering why he doesn’t have a cable wrangler. And when he goes up top to fly the flag during Electric Co., how does he get the microphone up there without it getting tangled on everything? It’s also fun to watch the band just play on while he is up there, filling in time until he can get back and continue the song.
Also fun to see Party Girl, there’s a moment in there where Bono and Edge start to sing together, and Edge sings “I know a boy” while Bono sings “I know a girl,” and Edge gives a little grin at whichever one of them messed up (probably Bono), then switches to the words that Bono is singing.
So, a bunch of notes about the concert, as I watched it last night. First time in years that I had seen it, it was very enjoyable. They all looked like kids, of course. It is, as Bono said during the show, a great moment of the band captured for posterity. I hope I don’t wait so long to watch it again. And I haven’t even mentioned the album, which I would rate the same, even though it’s not the same music and is much shorter.
My rating for Under A Blood Red Sky: 9 / 10