Friday, May 8, 2009

Retrovideo Friday: "Where's the glory..."

Today's retrovideo post demonstrates that you don't need crazy lighting and nutty props to put on a memorable live performance — sometimes an impassioned speech is all one needs to do the trick.

This Week's Pick: "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2, as seen in 1988's Rattle and Hum (Year of performance: 1987)

I haven't been too big on some of U2's latest albums, and I know I'm not the only one. While the band still remains popular, there are plenty of people who just feel ambivalent about some of their newer releases. And there are also plenty of people who don't feel like listening to Bono talk anymore.

But despite all of this, one can't deny how memorable a lot of the band's music is — especially those famous singles from the 1980s and '90s.

There is one single that I can't ever get sick of, and that is "Sunday Bloody Sunday," the opening track from the band's 1983 album War. With its militaristic drum beats and simple, yet catchy guitar and vocal melodies, the song grabs your attention from the moment you hear it.

The song also tells an incredible story from the point of view of someone witnessing the problems in Northern Ireland. It specifically refers to "Bloody Sunday" (Jan. 30, 1972) in Derry (Londonderry), Northern Ireland. On that day, British troops opened fire on demonstrators during a march in the city. (You can research the incident more here). The song meant to protest the ongoing violence and troubles in the region.

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" has been performed live plenty of times, but one of the most popular versions came out of a Nov. 8, 1987 performance that took place in Colorado. This was the same day a Remembrance Day bombing took place in Northern Ireland. During the performance, Bono took a break from singing to deliver a frustrated speech that contained memorable lines like, "Fuck the revolution.... What's the glory in taking a man from his bed and gunning him down in front of his wife and his children? Where's the glory in that?" before leading the audience in a call-and-response chant of "No more!" and finishing the song. I personally think it was this live version that really made me love "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

The performance was immortalized in black-and-white for the 1988 rockumentary Rattle and Hum. Because of that, you can watch this particular clip of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" below:

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