U2 has been making much better use of their YouTube channel as of late, posting remastered videos from days past at a pretty good clip. Now available on the band’s YouTube channel are the updated videos for their two Christmas songs, “I Believe in Father Christmas,” and “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home).” Since ’tis the season, I thought that I’d take a gander at “Baby, Please Come Home” today, and “I Believe in Father Christmas” next week. Of the two, “Baby, Please Come Home” is much more rockin’ and upbeat, and ostensibly more fun, although I guess that that depends on what one’s idea of a good time is. I always get a charge out of Bono howling the titular lyric, and the instrumentation is equally thrilling. In addition to the vocal, which is truly one for the ages — passionate and soulful, as is Bono’s wont — I particularly enjoy the drums. Another highlight for me, although I understand that it isn’t one for everyone, is the moment at the beginning of the video when Bono says the title of the song then winks directly into the camera. No matter how many times I watch this video, that moment never fails to make me smile. Other high points include the great camera-work, as directed by Phil Joanou, Edge’s backing vocals, Bono and Edge interacting on-stage, and the general air of frivolity and high holiday spirits that pervade the entire video. I think that one of the reasons that this video works so well is that it is fairly simple, which goes along with the simplicity of the song that it is promoting. The video basically consists of the band performing the song from a stage. There aren’t any tricks or gimmicks, not even an attempt to tell a story, aside from the story of the greatest band of all time, certainly the greatest live band, plying their trade. I realize that the audio that accompanies the video is not actually live, but, unlike the video for “Mofo” that we looked at recently, the entirety of the video is of the band performing this one song. Thinking about it now, it makes sense that the video would be as it is because U2 was already at the height of their popularity, and needed neither introduction nor promotion to most of the people who watched MTV at this time. I suppose that there was probably a feeling that those involved wanted the Christmas compilation that this song was taken from to be a success, but the main point of this video was to celebrate, not only the incredible year that U2 had just enjoyed, but also the band itself. As I said earlier, without a doubt the greatest live band ever, at the height of their powers. If, like me, you enjoy live performances, make sure to also check out the performance of this song from Friday night’s “Late Late Show” in Ireland, where Bono and Edge played with a whole host of Irish luminaries, some of whom clearly weren’t invited because of their skill at singing. It isn’t a perfect performance, but it is still a lot of fun and can be found here for your viewing pleasure.
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