Film Journal 2023: Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming With David Letterman
Directed by Morgan Neville
Where to watch: Disney+
“There is no them. There’s only us.”
For as long as I can remember U2 has existed as a sort of larger than life and largely undefinable enigma. As someone who grew up in those fervently gaurded impassioned evangelical, conservative christian circles, they were those rebellious figures lurking in the shadows who might or might not be safe for impressionable young minds being formed in the “faith”. Emerging into young adulthood and jts post modern reflections, they had become a voice for my generation, a generation dissatisfied with much of what we were seeing in “religion” and institutions and who were seeking a fresh perspective and fresh expression of that faith in ways that made sense to us. This was the band you lined up and camped out for to buy tickets, packed up those vans and traveled miles for, and whom seemingly remained immune to the ebb and flow of an ever changing “cool” and hip pop culture then and now. They were, and remain, a band that could do things on their terms and on their time, disappearing from the fabric of our culture and emerging years later as though they had never left without without blinking and without explanation.
They were, and remain, a band that gave permission to a bunch of struggling people of faith to gather together and worship without feeling ashamed or without need for apology. They didn’t need to articulate the divine precisely or dogmatically, you simply knew it was present.
It seems equally hard to locate and define this present U2 renaasaiance so to speak. Whatever this is- the book Surrender, the reimaging record which functions as a kind of legacy tour through their entire career, this doc (which also functions as an affecifonate love letter to Ireland and David Letterman). Whatever this is- a final magnum opus, a fresh revolution and a sign of more to come- it feels timely, and it feels like a gift. It seems right that these open door projects would be telling more of their story now than I was ever aware of living it in the moments of my own impressionable life. If these songs form the soundtrack of these bandmates stories (and collective story), I know for a fact that it also does for many of us.