A Celebration

30 Oct 2003
'It's really a celebration of U2 playing at home,' explains Ned O'Hanlon. 'A moment in time, a homecoming.'

O'Hanlon, producer of countless U2 videos, including the upcoming 'U2 Go Home - Live at Slane Castle', has talked in detail to Matt McGee of fansite @u2.com about the new concert DVD and working with U2 down the years.

Here we carry a couple of choice extracts ­ to read the interview in full click here

US fans can pre-order the new DVD here

What are your memories of those two Slane shows? It was such a difficult period for Bono with his dad passing -- how did that impact the work you guys were doing?

It was a very difficult time for him, and for the band. The home shows for U2 -- Irish shows -- are always kinda high-pressure, anyway. The level of expectation is always pretty high, as it is everywhere, but particularly at home. And they obviously want to be at their best, as they do everywhere, but with the home crowd...(pauses)...it's a very heartfelt time, and there's always an enormous amount of pressure brought to bear on them when they play at home. Suddenly they become the most popular guys on the block and everybody's a friend, and everybody knows somebody, and everybody wants to be backstage. And if that worked out, there'd be more people backstage than there'd be out front.

It's the kings returning to the castle. In this case, literally, right?

Yes, and that, from a management perspective, is a complete nightmare. But the show itself -- the last tour was primarily designed as an indoor show and it was a carefully considered point of view they took to stay indoors and not do the huge outdoor venues. And that was the charm and success of that show. It was stripped bare, there was nothing really to it. It was just the four guys on a stage crankin' it out. So, in order to supply a pretty voracious market, they decided to bite the bullet and do this one show, initially, at Slane Castle, which is an institution here. They ended up having two shows to stage, and they were reluctant to shoot the shows at all, having already shot this tour in Boston, and that was very successful. They're always very conscious of their audience, and they didn't want to be seen to be putting out another one that was from the same tour. It was quite a hard sell for me to convince them that it was a good thing to do -- to shoot this show at all. Really, I think the only thing that convinced them to do it was that we would do it just for archive. It never had to go anywhere, it never had to be released, but that it would be a shame to miss what would be a pretty unique event -- to play outdoors the only time on this tour. It was a sort of homecoming, really. My argument was, "How could you not shoot it?" So, on that basis, they went ahead. And we did it pretty much as a scratch production. It wasn't anything on the scale resource-wise or money-wise as the show we shot in Boston.

As a band, how much interest does U2 take in video in general -- both the shorter music videos and the longer concert videos and such?

They take huge interest and a great deal of care. It's like with any band, videos are kind of a necessary evil - regarded as major pains in the arse. But if you do have to do them, you may as well take them seriously, and I think that's the way they go at it. Certainly, Bono is all over it and Edge, too. And Larry and Adam take a very careful interest in it, as well, in coming up with the right idea for the videos. You might say U2 have kind of a hit-and-miss track record in terms of the videos they've made over the years -- and I think more hit than miss -- but once they go with an idea and a director, they go all the way. No matter how they feel about it on the site and the set -- they'll just do whatever they're asked to do and wait to see the end results.

Read the whole of this interview here


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