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The Edge sings lead vocals on this song, and he also stars in the video. The video opens with a dripping faucet to the beat of the song, before we pan down to see that it is dripping onto the Edge. Throughout the video the Edge sits facing the camera, wearing a black hat while people bombard him with distractions, anything to try to break his concentration.
- Adam blows smoke into his face from the side
- Someone massages his neck from behind
- Hands prod his face from the front
- Two women lick and kiss his face from the side
- A hand feeds him from one side
- A young girl comes in from the side and slaps him repeatedly
- Someone cuts his shirt off
- Someone wraps string around his face
- Larry and Bono come in from the sides to sing the chorus
- The Edge is pushed out of the frame and the screen is empty until Larry takes the chair, while Adam looks over his shoulder
When the Edge returns he is now wearing a jacket.
- A foot rubs against his face from either side
- Roses are thrown at him
- A male hand caresses his face
- Morleigh reprises her belly dancing role and dances in front of him.
- Various people come up and take selfies with The Edge
- Paul McGuinness whispers in his ear
The video was filmed in Berlin on June 14, 1993, the day before a concert was held in Berlin. The location of the shoot is unknown. Naomi Campbell was one of the hands / feet in the video, and was on the set during the production. Ned O’Hanlon spoke about the final video, “The final video is in 2 takes. There were 8 takes in total. Edge never laughs!”
The idea for the video was explained by Ned O’Hanlon, “That came from a think tank in Cologne. We knew we had to make a video for Numb and as we sat with the band brainstorming, the idea finally came out. Maurice caught it and put the shape on it. Then they idea got fleshed out and Kevin Godley was asked to direct. It all happened very fast, as most things did. but Maurice’s finger plays a vital role!”
The single for “Numb” wasn’t released on a commercial audio single. Instead U2 lead off the album with “Numb” as a single, but only available as a video single. It featured this video, as well as a remix of the song with a video by EBN, and a video of “Love is Blindness” that had not been used elsewhere.
Additional Screen Captures
- Directed by Kevin Godley
- Producer: Iain Brown.
- Editor: Jerry Chater
- Director of Photography: Steven Chivers (Medialab Limited)