Tuesday, 7 October 2008

1998 September - Dublin, The Sweetest Thing Video Shoot

It was the 20th September 1998 and my friends and I were on the second day of our weeks holiday in Dublin. I remember the date precisely because it was my birthday! We listening to the radio as we were having breakfast when something caught our attention. The DJ said that U2 were making a video with Boyzone somewhere in Dublin NOW! Well, breakfast was forgotten, and we were out of the house and in the car in in record time having no idea where we were going as the location of the video shoot had not been mentioned.

In the city we picked up our friend Declan and just cruised the street looking for any signs of action. We first went down to the Docklands area around U2's studio and office, nothing there. So we just decided to drive all around the city centre hoping to strike lucky. As it was a Sunday the traffic was lighter than usual so that made the driving a little easier than it usually is in Dublin! We drove around manically (not that you'd notice that amongst Dublin traffic that’s the norm!) and the wrong way through a few one way streets for about an hour then suddenly Declan shouted. "There's Shane from Boyzone getting into a van, follow it!" That was the bit of luck we needed, I'm a bit embarrassed to say we followed a van with Boyzone in it round Dublin, but we did, and by doing that we found U2 and the video shoot.

The shoot was in the Fitzwilliam Square area of Dublin. We parked close by on Leeson Street and walked to where the action was, not sure what to expect, or even if we would be able to get close or stay to watch. It turned out we could just hang around to watch, and so began a long day, but the weather was lovely, warm and sunny, and it was such a unique opportunity to be able to watch U2 make a video. The first thing that caught our eye were three banners strung across the road saying "I'm sorry", "I'm really sorry" and "I'm really, really sorry". At the time there was no sign of U2 but we knew we were in the right place. There were lots of young girls dressed in Irish dance costumes, and also an elephant that was very patiently hanging around with it's keeper. There were lots of people milling around that were involved with the video shoot but not that many members of the public.

We saw a carriage coming down the street with cameras and lights attached to it and as it got closer we realised that Bono was in it playing to the camera in front of him. Boyzone appeared out of nowhere and jumped onto the back of the carriage, then shortly after Boyzone got off the three other members of U2 (who had been in a hotel on the street) got on. They also sometimes drove in a car alongside the carriage. The Irish dancers, a chef, a boxer and the elephant also took their turn to do their bit near the carriage. Through all of this we were free to wander about and watch as long as we didn't get into shot.

At one point a TV crew arrived and wanted to interview some fans, Jane, Dianne and I shrunk back to avoid that, but Declan answered some questions - afterwards when we asked what he'd been asked he couldn't remember! And so it went on, hour after hour, on a now very warm day, repeating the scenes, the dancers were getting a bit frazzled and I felt sorry for the poor elephant who was very patient. Bono had it hardest because he was needed for all the scenes. But the other three band members regularly disappeared into a hotel on the street inbetween their takes. It must have been quite tedious for the band going over and over the same stuff, but we found it quite exciting, though it did make me realise that making a video is not very glamourous and takes a lot of work.

Then Bono gave an interview for the TV same crew, I was quite near, but due to the hustle and bustle of people around him I couldn't hear much of the questions being asked or what he answered, though I did manage to get a few close-up photos. Bono took it all in his stride and wasn't phased by the commotion around him, just another part of the job for him. The other band members didn't give interviews, they were very focussed on the job in hand, (especially Edge) and inbetween takes stayed in the hotel.

After the interview it was back to work. We saw Ali come out of the hotel (looking as lovely as ever with minimal make-up) and walk up the road, and when the carriage came down the road the next time she was in it with Bono.

The next time Larry came out of the hotel Declan plucked up courage and stopped him and asked for a photo, surprisingly, the often camera-shy Larry said yes. Declan had photos of himself with all the band members, but not with his favourite Larry, so this picture was very special to him. I was the closest to Declan and Larry so I got the job of taking this long awaited photo! I was so nervous as I knew this was important for Declan and didn’t want to mess up, I took ages, Declan was nervously saying "Come on Sue", then Larry said. "Take the photo Sue" with a smile. I took it and it turned out fine (phew!) and it made Declan a very happy man!

By around 7pm things were starting to wind up, Bono ended up surrounded by fans as he sat in the carriage, he looked really tired, but was patient and signed autographs and chatted. The other band members were milling about too. I didn't ask for anything to be signed I just stood back and watched.

We then realised how tired, hungry and thirsty we were ourselves. We hadn't finished our breakfast that morning, and had nothing else to eat or drink during the day as we didn't want to leave and maybe miss something! But it had been worth it, we had been so lucky to stumble on this video shoot, and lucky that we could just stay and watch it unfolding. It was so special to see it on TV afterwards and think "I was there! It certainly was one of the very best birthday treats I've ever had!

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