Saturday, July 16, 2011

U2 - “Vertigo”

We start with the guys theoretically out in the desert somewhere. They’re standing in the middle of a giant, white, ringed target, like the symbol for the retail chain, only somebody spilled some bleach or racism on it. Bono does his little international countdown, and the song kicks off. The guys start banging on their instruments, and this instantly causes a wicked sandstorm. Next thing you know, the guys have massive jet trails of inky black shooting out of their backs.

It’s a very cool, powerful image. And I have no idea what it means. I have a hazy flashback about Laurie Anderson and chemical trails from years ago, but that’s it. So we’ll just keep watching, okay?

The multiple cameras whip around at different angles so we can confirm the coolness of the imagery, with Bono doing his trademark “I’m sure as hell king of something” stances and arm gestures, while The Edge and Adam do their trademark “stand in one place and look really pissed about something” poses. Oh, and Larry drums. You can’t really have a trademark pose if you can’t keep your arms still.

They redirect the evil jet stream after a bit, so that it heads a little further out and starts cutting huge rings in the sand, encircling the guys. This would be far too much distraction, personally, for me to continue performing a pop song, but these guys have played tons of venues, seen it all, so they’re not going to be bothered by an apparent freak of nature or possible dismemberment.

Whoops, the black is back, with the guys again emitting streamers that obviously aren’t going to pass any emissions testing. (Well, maybe in Texas.) Then that mess stops, mainly so we can get a clearer view of those rings the inky devil mass cut into the sand. They are now rising from the ground in stepped levels, creating a nice gladiator coliseum around the guys. Only we don’t have important things like exit doors, concession stands or a sense of not-dying very soon if the earth doesn’t chill out.

Then all the rings start doing the wave, in a rolling manner that speaks of probable drug usage on somebody’s part at some point. As expected, the band doesn’t flinch, having performed in Detroit and Manchester and having seen far worse. This goes on until you find yourself digging for that Dramamine from your ill-advised trip to the Canary Islands.

Even the center of the rings, where the guys are stomping around, starts wobbling, creating a thrill ride that only Marilyn Manson would stand in line for while everybody else volunteers for beer-run duty.

And that, folks, is basically it. The producers and editors have pulled out all their fancy tricks, so now it’s just a matter of repackaging the goods in different sequences and viewpoints. We do get a little variation at one point when the rings rise so high that it cuts off the daylight, recreating the murky atmosphere of an Irish after-hours pub (Was that Colin Farrell grabbing another pint? Dude!). Bono is singing really low at this point so as not to wake up the groupies, who need their rest for later.

As we roll to the end, the rings finally collapse and we’re left with just the personally-designed jet streams and Bono reaching an auditory climax, bellowing that “yeah!, yeah!” bit and dropping to his knees. Then somebody turns off the wind fans and everybody goes home. Except for the programmer who actually has to create all those images that didn’t really happen while the guys were just standing around in front of a blue screen. In a place called Not Really So.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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