Bono, The Edge, Letterman a power trio in new doc | World news

LOS ANGELES — During the forthcoming documentary Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, With Dave Letterman, the talk show icon sits across from Bono and gazes in amazement at the rock star.

Letterman wonders what it’s like to write a song.

“Writing a song is like heart surgery,” says Bono with a slight grin.

The camera pans to Letterman, who nods and smiles a little too. The moment lingers for a few seconds. Fans of both men understand the weight of the statement. Both survived open heart surgery.

Their celebration of life is one of many shared qualities in this documentary, a heartfelt and whimsical account of superstars who cherished mutual reverence.

The Disney+ documentary comes out on Friday, St. Patrick’s Day, fitting only because Bono and The Edge have invited Letterman for a tour of their hometown of Dublin. The movie’s world premiere was last week at LA’s The Orpheum Theater, a palatial venue built in 1926 and filled for the night’s celebration.

In this warm, funny exploration of the underpinnings of U2, Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville dives straight into the faces of his subjects. You can almost taste the froth of beer served at a lively pub pub, and smell the sea salt wafting from the sea at Forty Foot Promontory in Dublin Bay, prominent during Letterman’s visit.

The doc is timed with the St. Patrick’s Day release of “Songs of Surrender,” U2’s reinvention of 40 classic songs in virtually unvarnished arrangements. The studio work was not filmed, but the songs are captured in the documentary, from 2021 performances at Dublin’s Ambassador Theater with local folk musicians.

These projects are ahead of the band’s launch of “U2: UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere” at the MSG Sphere, which is expected at the end of September. But there is no mention of Las Vegas or the round fortress in the documentary. Fans are still awaiting ticket sales announcements and performance dates (still running Sept. 29-30) for the Vegas series.

For “Songs of Surrender,” Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. (replaced in Vegas by Bram van den Berg of the alt-rock, pop band Krezip) a light musical support for these recordings. They add a tender bassline and a stand-up drum kit respectively.

The story shows Letterman as a fish out of water, and (eventually) in booze, in a city he hasn’t visited until this project. The Edge chronicles the anger sparked by the tension between Catholics and Protestants in his country that led to the seminal anthem “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” sung and strummed on an acoustic guitar.

Letterman is led to the Forty Foot shore, where the locals formed a swimming club in the icy waters. Nearly 50 years ago, women broke through the male barrier. Letterman’s visit inspired the new song “Forty Foot Man,” which Bono and The Edge played overnight.

Bono sang part of that song during a stage performance after the first screening.

Letterman was clearly moved by being invited to the band’s hometown, as well as their creative process. The film is very much a tribute to him, at the age of 75, who mastered the medium of television and simply enjoyed his place in U2’s new music and documentary.

Clearly comfortable in his own skin and in the company of U2, Letterman joked often. “I felt this at the airport, but it was confirmed the longer I stayed in Dublin,” he said on stage at the premiere of The Orpheum. “In Dublin I am so much more popular than U2. I think that’s my biggest takeaway.

The band and Letterman became publicly entwined when Letterman invited them to perform on “The Late Show” for a week.

The Edge quickly jabbed Letterman, who was sitting next to him onstage: “To be fair, the first idea was Jay Leno,” the guitarist said with a laugh. “He likes cars and I drive an Audi… Bono, believe it or not, drives a Tesla.”

Letterman would also seriously say, “Morgan did a remarkable job, and as I watched it, I love that the star of this movie is the music.”

Bono told the crowd, “It was great to see our city and country through his eyes,” and then to Letterman, “Through your eyes.”

Bono would later offer his sample of “Forty Foot Man,” singing, “He was wiped out, as part of the plan. He’s not that scary, he’s lightning fast.”

The audience laughed and cheered. It was an impromptu, intimate moment, a test drive, if you will. The spectacle in Las Vegas comes later.


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