Thursday, September 17, 2009
Man, do these cameras ever fly. For 1988 what makes Philip Joanou's rockumentary of U2's Rattle and Hum tour is the way these cameras move and move fast to really capture the action. As opposed to D A Pennebaker's cameras were really crammed into the pit with their lenses trained on a spot on the performer and focusing in and out - and even in Monterey there was some crude form of steadicam with a 16mm camera attached at the end of a long harness - the cameras of Rattle and Hum really move and maintain a rocksteady focus during concert but can swirl during a performance of Desire. Desire showed U2's integraton of the roots of American rock and roll into its sound - Rattle and Hum captures another period of the band's history, distinct from Live at Red Rocks. U2 were becoming even bigger anthemic rock stars and showmen - stopping traffic in San Francisco for a rock concert - protesting the internecine rivalries in his native Ireland that culminated in the explosion in Inniskillin that claimed eleven lives - the whole film is a helter skelter of experiences from the top end of Harlem for I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For to the heart of Memphis to record in Sun Studios with the real producers and musicians of the time and a visit to Graceland itself where Larry Mullen Jr. evocatively rides aboard Elvis's bike. The segment with BB King is classic meets today blues.
Finally landing into the colour spectrum U2 Rattle and Hum again shows the obvious connection between band and audience - the Tempe Sun Devil Stadium bursting into life for the anthemic Where The Streets Have No Name - and songs such as Unforgettable Fire's Pride (in the Name of Love) and Joshua Tree's With Or Without You are hallmarks of an era that U2 don't try to follow up anymore constantly on their current 360 tour shedding a lot of the past to their current infatuation with studio experiments. U2 RATTLE AND HUM is a nice way of remembering U2 when they were at the absolute top.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Three days of sun and rain way back in June 1967 at The Monterey International Pop Festival - D.A. Pennebaker's band of cameramen rolling miles of film in am indulgent manner yet getting locked into camera shots without external coverage - a vintage slice of history - audiences then and now coming to life and gasping at the powerhouse performances of Otis Redding and Janis Joplin come burst into life on the screen, the flower children The Mamas and the Papas, the psychedelic Jefferson Airplane and the blackest blues voice of Eric Burdon and The Animals - the whimsy and the mayhem of The Who performing My Generation and the utter look of shock on the young girl's faces at the destruction of Pete Townsend's guitar - only to be topped by The Wild Thing himself - Jimi Hendrix - who performs last rites for his white Fender before setting it ablaze then throwing the smashed pieces to the crowd. Just as interesting as the stars on stage are the visages of a young nation and innocent generation who came to Monterey - flowers painted on their faces, bell bottoms and floral dresses and long tresses of hair - Mickey Dolenz in the crowd giving Ravi Shankar a standing ovation along with everyone else. Then again there were the Hell's Angels of California in attendance too which worried the police chief. And would worry other people later on.