U2 Vidworks: Spanish Eyes

Every week, before I actually write my article, I listen to or watch the piece of art that I am writing about that week, even if it is something that I have seen hundreds of times. As I was watching the video for Spanish Eyes right before beginning this article, it occurred to me that the video feels more like an outtake reel from the early stages of the Joshua Tree tour and less like an actual promotional video.

There are some nice candid moments in this video that make it worthwhile but don’t go into it expecting too much of you might find yourself disappointed. Probably my favorite moment in this video occurs when Bono is standing on stage and the microphone slips backward out of its holder and falls to the floor. The look that Bono gives to the space that was occupied a moment earlier by the microphone is quite comical. There is also a nice shot of Larry riding a bicycle and some other silly moments, along with a few shots of some local residents, particularly in the last minute or so of the video.

The idea at the beginning of the video of having the approaching train mirroring the build-up of Edge’s guitar playing to the moment when the band breaks out and the song begins in earnest is a nice one, but ultimately, it feels a little anti-climactic. The build-up takes too long and there is no real pay-off. It is kind of a shame because it feels like something big is coming when the video first begins, but, as I said, the visual just doesn’t go anywhere.

As I have been writing this piece, I have been trying to think about what I might have done differently to make this video stand out more. The montage of clips that Barry Devlin shot during the early days of the tour is cool, and I really am glad that we have the chance to see the band in some less intense, more personal moments. As it is, it feels like it could have been set to any of U2’s songs, and like there’s nothing about the video footage that makes it germane to the song “Spanish Eyes.” Maybe some personal moments between Bono and Ali, since the song is ostensibly about her, would have been nice. I suppose that if the band wanted to have a series of looser moments set to music, “Spanish Eyes” is not a bad choice, per se, since it is a slightly more obscure song and an upbeat, fun piece of music. Maybe what I would have enjoyed more is more footage of the band and fewer shots of the locals.

The last little bit of this video might have been better served if it had been used for the “In God’s Country” video that came from the same documentary that this video is from. I would be interested to hear some of your thoughts on this video, so please do leave a comment below and start a conversation!

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Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.

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