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"Rock and roll started out as dance music, but somewhere along the way it lost its hips and became rhythmically simplistic." — Edge

'Rattle and Hum' Also Shot at Denver Concerts

Edge says band thought 'lightning might strike twice'
Rocky Mountain News
U2's Red Rocks film is its most famous, but it wasn't the only time the band filmed in Denver. Much of the 1988 movie Rattle and Hum was filmed at McNichols Arena -- virtually all the black-and-white concert footage (except for the song with B.B. King) is from Denver.

Rattle and Hum was originally called U2 in the Americas, with plans to film shows in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Denver. Guitarist The Edge told music writer G. Brown at the time, "We decided to shoot the Denver concerts because we thought lightning might strike twice."

The Denver shows on the Joshua Tree tour were scheduled for Nov. 7 and 8, 1987, with the highest tickets topping out at $17.

"The first night, there was a disconnect. They couldn't tell if they were doing a concert or a TV show," Brown recalls. "Cameramen were onstage following them around. Bono was getting irritated. They had a few equipment malfunctions.

"He finally said: '(Screw) the cameras. These people paid to see us. I gotta play to them and hope the cameras get it.' He had a great quote that night: 'I feel like a book that shouldn't be made into a movie.' The second night was much better, but the first was a disaster."

"I remember having an exorbitant amount of costs for filming," says booker Pam Moore. "A lot of stuff was going on under that stage -- a lot of video monitors there for editing. There was just a huge amount of people backstage."

After the McNichols shows, Bono summoned promoter Barry Fey to his hotel room.

"They'd run into production problems in Brazil," Fey said. "He wanted me to be in on the decision about where to do the color for Rattle and Hum."

Fey suggested going back to Tempe, Ariz., where the tour had started earlier in the year, for shows on Dec. 19 and 20. ("You started '87 in Tempe -- end it there," Fey told them.) Tickets cost $5, and the shows sold out instantly.

"It's one of the few places in December where you can still play outside. We had to fight to get it, because of the Fiesta Bowl."



© Rocky Mountain News, 2005.