Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve written anything here. I hope that you all missed me as much as I missed you. Today, I am starting a new series, wherein I will focus each week on an official video by our favorite rockers, and I thought that I would start at the beginning this week with a piece on the video for “I Will Follow.”
The set for this video is relatively simple, with the band performing from an all-white stage, with a backdrop that displayed the face of Peter Rowen, from the cover of the album Boy. This is actually pretty similar to the live set-up which the band employed around the time this video was shot. I find the band members’ choices in clothing from this period to be interesting, and I wonder who, if anyone, gave them sartorial advice and suggestions. They seem to have had very limited wardrobes in the early 80s, as all of the clothes worn in this video can also be seen in various live performances from the same period. I guess that, just like the rest of us, the members of U2 have favorite outfits to wear.
The video was directed by Meiert Avis, who would go on to direct many of the band’s early videos. Much like the band’s clothing and who was in charge of that, I wonder how much direction Mr. Avis gave to U2 for their behavior in this video. As much as I love U2, and you should all know that that’s a lot, this is not a very good music video, mostly because of Bono’s “dancing” and other antics. If you have seen this video, as well as some other filmed performances of U2 from the early 1980s, you may be like me in thinking that the boys had yet to develop their screen-presences. I think that Bono of today, 2020, recognizes that he still isn’t a great dancer. I’ve heard him make comments to that effect in recent years, and so I wonder who told him that he needed to dance in this video. I understand that a lot of pop artists rely on dancing and that kind of thing as much as, if not more than, singing and instrumentation, but I think we can all agree that U2 has always been about more than that. I guess that in the early days, they didn’t have the reputation to rely on that they do now, so they had to resort to dancing. Too bad.
Another small thing that cracks me up in this video is that during the middle 8 when Bono sings “your eyes make a circle,” he makes his eyes go big and round. He looks silly when he does this, and it always makes me giggle, every tie I see it. Back when VH1 was still around, they would occasionally play a live performance of “I Will Follow” instead of this studio performance, and that live gig did a much better job of relaying the energy and excitement of U2’s shows, so if you are unfamiliar with either of these videos for “I Will Follow,” seek out the live version instead of the studio version. Next week, we will pay a visit to the docks of Dublin, as we discuss U2’s video for “Gloria.”