Around once a year I get nostalgic for 80’s era U2 and pull out Rattle and Hum. The fairly bizarre account of U2′s Joshua Tree Tour is always a fascinating watch. Among the more intriguing parts is BB King’s assertion that “I’m awful at chords.” That one of the most legendary blues guitarists of all time would be so open about this is surprising. I know that King is best known for his powerful vocals and lead guitar work, but don’t we expect a little more out of our professional musicians? Perhaps not. I don’t mean to belittle King’s body of work, which is astonishing. It is odd, however, that he wasn’t concerned about appearing on film in this light. Certainly it didn’t affect his career or his status as a Hall of Fame musician, but it did lead to a lot of jokes around my circle of friends (and likely others).
As for the film, which I have now seen about 30 times. If you like older U2 music, it is highly enjoyable. Some critics took issue with U2’s apparent desire to place themselves among the legends of American music. Considering what they have become in the last 30 years, they weren’t far off the mark. There is just somethign about watching a 27 year old Bono (incidentally the age I’m at) strutting around as a rock star on top of the world. No one could reach a higher point of bravado and self confidence.