Experience of Innocence: Television Airing and Home Video News

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2019-11-29)

Original Story: November 14, 2019
Last Updated: November 29, 2019

We are happy to be able to share news that in late November, U2 will be airing their “Live in Berlin” concert, filmed in November 2018 on television. The video will be shown first on television with a planned home video release to follow. The release is being titled “Experience: Live in Berlin” and is being aired starting the last week in November, with an announcement of individual channels and showtimes to come. We are able to tell you that it will air on NHK BS Premium in Japan on November 30th and will be a 75 minute edit of the full video that will be aired on that channel. As more information becomes available we will update the times and show dates here in this article. Two edits are being made available to television, there will be a shorter version to fit an hour long time slot, and this 75 minute edit to fit longer time slots.

At this time a home video release date has not been announced but we are told that this will happen shortly, with an announcement expected possibly as early as tomorrow. This follows the pattern of release for videos such as the Boston and Slane videos from Elevation, and the Vertigo video from Chicago where limited airings on television were done ahead of the home video release. The film for television is being distributed by Eagle Vision and the Universal Music Group.

Known showings of this video at this time include the following:

  • Austria: 3sat, January 1, 2020 (00:15) [75 minutes]
  • Bulgaria: HBO 2, January 1, 2020 (01:10); HBO, January 6, 2020 (11:50) [72 minutes]
  • Canada: Rumoured to be aired Christmas week (Working to Confirm)
  • Czech Republic: 3sat, January 1, 2020 (00:20); HBO 2, January 1, 2020 (00:00) [75 minutes]
  • Germany: 3sat, January 1, 2020 (00:20) [75 minutes]
  • Hungary: HBO 2, January 1, 2020 (00:00) [72 minutes]
  • Japan: NHK Premium, November 30, 2019 [75 minutes]
  • Poland: HBO 2, January 1, 2020 (00:15, 11:55) [75 minutes]
  • Romania: HBO 2, January 1, 2020 (01:00) [75 minutes]
  • Serbia: HBO 2, January 1, 2020 (00:01); HBO, January 6, 2020 (10:50) [72 minutes]
  • Slovenia: HBO 2, January 1, 2020 (00:01); HBO, January 6, 2020 (10:50) [72 minutes]
  • Switzerland: 3sat, January 1, 2020 (00:15) [75 minutes]

The television special was filmed on the last night of the Experience and Innocence tour. This will be U2’s first full concert release since the 2016 release of the Innocence + Experience tour video,although a BBC special in 2017 featured U2 performing with an orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. As is usual for television broadcasts of this nature, an edited version of the video will be shown on television, and a full, longer version will be later released. The edited 75-minute television broadcast will feature songs “Elevation,” “Vertigo,” “Even Better than the Real Thing,” “You’re the Best Thing About Me,” “Summer of Love,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “New Year’s Day,” “City of Blinding Lights,” and “One” among others. [We can confirm hat the television broadcast is from the Intermission onwards and will not contain the opening segment of the show, that will be held for a home video release instead.] The television has now aired in Japan. The next known airings are listed above, and we will add additional listings as we are aware of them.

We’re taking a look at the filming of the concert below. But first, to answer questions we expect, many will remember that we did a similar article a while ago when The Joshua Tree 2017 video was expected this year. That Joshua Tree video was originally planned for a June 2019 release, but we are told now is being held for next year. This is likely due to the decision to continue with branding the 2019 tour of New Zealand, Australia and Asia as The Joshua Tree Tour 2019. We do not at this time expect to see the Joshua Tree video until the second half of 2020. Release dates on that release, and the accompanying plans for a theatre debut have shifted a number of times. The release date for the Experience + Innocence tour film has been communicated as being November 2019 to us all along, and it is now clear that this refers to the television special.

IMAGE: Filming Notice, Berlin, November 13, 2018

This Experience + Innocence release on television documents the November 13, 2018 show in Berlin. This show was not intended to happen when the tour was planned, but early struggles with Bono’s voice in August caused a second show in Berlin to be postponed, and when it was, the team decided they would film this last performance. Additional footage was gathered throughout the tour leg. A show in Manchester was used as a dress rehearsal for this final night of filming. A GoPro camera was seen on Larry Mullen’s shoulder filming him in Belfast. There were cameras attached to his glasses for the third night in Dublin as well capturing additional footage.

Filming was also done during soundchecks in Berlin, allowing the camera crew to film songs without an audience present, to work on footage they would not be able to get when a crowd was in the venue This included filming “The Fly,” “Stay (Faraway, So Close)” and “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” during a rehearsal session,

IMAGE: Set List for Rehearsals, Berlin

Filming of the show was done by David Mallet’s Serpent Productions. Mallet has previously worked with U2, as a director on “Zoo TV: Live from Sydney” and “PopMart: Live from Mexico City.” Matt Askem is the director of this video of the Berlin show. Askem is known for his work with Muse, including Hullaballoo and Live in Rome’s Olympic Stadium and has more recently been working with Adele on her Hello World tour. Brett Turnbull was the Director of Photography for this concert in Berlin, and he has also worked with U2 previously, working at the camera supervisor for the “Innocence and Experience: Live in Paris” video release.

IMAGE: Camera Listing for shoot on November 13, 2018, Berlin

The cameras used to film the release are a mix of cameras including many capable of shooting in 4K resolution, including the ARRI Amira, and the Sony 4300 camera. If used, this would be the first concert video by U2 filmed and released at this higher resolution.

The show itself was a fairly typical show for the later part of the Experience + Innocence tour, including the Zoo TV section that had been introduced in previous shows with “Dirty Day”, “Zoo Station”, “The Fly”, “Stay (Faraway So Close)” and “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” getting featured in the first segment of the show. Bono didn’t shy away from snippets either, which is something the band has done at times when filming. “Gloria” includes snippets of both Van Morrison and Patti Smith’s “Gloria.” “The Jean Genie” gets added to the end of “Vertigo”, and “The Hall of Mirrors” makes an appearance before “Acrobat.”

IMAGE: Set List November 13, 2018, Berlin

Production notes for the camera operators shed some light on the possible direction of some of the songs on the film. The introductory piece with Charlie Chaplin on screen calls for “any on camera movement should be slow and considered – storytelling composition – shoot for long shot durations.” with specific instructions for “slow tracking screen wide with big house geography”. Notes for “The Blackout” call it “a full on start to the show” and suggests “finding the band within the screen is tough – production and lighting is very dynamic – throw in an occasional edgy camera move, don’t over do it!!”

“Lights of Home” calls for the cameras to capture “beautiful images” and shots of “reverse of Bono on walk way with crowd lights.” “I Will Follow” calls for shots of the band from behind the stage relating the band to the crowd, and asking the camera operator to get wide shots when there is a “hands up moment.” These instructions continue for “Gloria” which says “Bono will work the crowd – relate them.”

The Zoo TV segment starts with “Dirty Day”, which is called “more of a beat poem than a song, mostly slow tempo” and saying that the “crowd won’t be animated or well lit” and that “keeping screen in frame will be useful.” The instructions for “Zoo Station” are explicit, “he (Bono) hangs off chains and hand rails like a pole dancer, relate him and the crowd and include the screen graphics.” and “The Fly” calls for “screen content from wider cameras.” “Stay” highlights for the camera operators that Adam and Larry embrace Bono and Edge as they join in and calls it a “nice moment.” “Wild Horses” calls for the cameras to be creative and edgy with shots, and that pans, tilts and zooms are all ok. It also instructs cameras to shoot around the handrails whenever possible.

After the intermission is “Elevation” and “Vertigo” which camera notes call crowd favourites, and instructs camera operators to get the crowd in the background and to focus on shots from the band to the crowd and vice versa. Bono’s speech in the mirror suggests an aspect ratio switch for the film, using the camera in the mirror itself for the shots, and then switching back for “Acrobat.” The notes for “Acrobat” call for instrument close ups, and imaginative composition.

“You’re the Best Thing” and “Summer of Love” are called slow tempo songs, and call for slow camera movement if any at all. “Summer of Love” calls for the camera to focus on the relationship between Bono and the Edge, before moving out to the banner screen (the barricage screen) for the screen content late in the song. “Pride” asks the slow camera movements to continue and to ensure that all band members are focused on, to show the relationship between them in the arena. “Get Out of Your Own Way” incudes an interesting note, “Include crowd in your shots where you can if they’re animated, it’ll help as this isn’t their strongest song.” I’m not sure if that is a comment on U2’s song, or the audience in that note.

We don’t have much information about international airings of the concert but we expect that information to be available this week in many markets. Expect most countries to show the film in late November / early December. Likewise, when we have firm information on the release date for the home video we will pass that along.

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