U2 VidWorks – Window in the Skies (Version 1)

This has got to be one of the most creative and innovative music videos that I have ever seen. I am talking about the first video for U2’s “Window in the Skies,” which was released in 2006. The concept of the video is kind of an all-star concert involving many of the greatest musicians of all time performing “Window in the Skies.” Half the fun of this video is picking out one’s favorite artists as they sing, dance, and play U2’s song, and, believe me, the number of musicians in this video and the genres and time periods that are covered is astounding. Seriously, the video views like a who’s who of important artists over the years, ranging from Frank Sinatra right up to Radiohead, The White Stripes, and Kanye West. There are also lots of subtle lighting effects which highlight the song’s peaks and valleys, and several gorgeous shots of lovers coming together in the song’s climax. Toward the end of the song, there is also some footage of African children marching in time with the song, and I feel that this is perhaps the video’s lone misstep. I know that Bono and the rest of the band members care deeply about the African continent. To be sure, their involvement there has brought a much-needed spotlight to these troubled people. I am just not sure that it is a good fit in this video. It’s Bono’s pet project, though, and who am I to deny the man getting his two cents worth into an otherwise amazing piece of art.
I should tell you that there are actually two different variations of this version of the video. I am not talking about the second version of the video, which we will be talking about next week, but two variations of the video with all of the different artists performing this song. Apparently, the artists who put this video together had reached out to all of these musicians (or their estates) for permission to use their likenesses in the film, and some musicians just did not get back to the video artists in time to be included. I’m talking specifically about The Beatles, who some might consider to be the greatest rock band of all time. When those in charge of The Beatles footage finally got back to those who were making the video, giving their go-ahead, it was decided to create an alternate cut of the video which contains several shots of each of the members of The Beatles. As far as I can tell, the places where The Beatles footage has been inserted are the only differences between these two variants of this video.
Finally, you might be wondering, “Where is U2 in all of this?” The four members of U2 appear, individually, as spectators in the audience. It actually took me a few viewings to catch them back when this video first came out, but they are definitely there. Next week I will be reviewing the second video for “Window in the Skies,” which is completely different from this video but, some might say, equally entertaining. In the meantime, drop us a note and let us know what you think of this video for U2’s “Window in the Skies.”

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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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