FLASHBACK – Bono Pisses Off the LAPD

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxl9EI9YBg[/youtube]


7th and Main, Downtown LA –– Then and Now

Where: The roof top of the Republic Liquor Store, corner of 7th and Main, Downtown
3pm Friday, March 27, 1987
A rumor spread throughout the city that the band U2 was about to shoot a live music video on a rooftop Downtown. Coincidentally, many 20-somethings suffered flu-like symptoms and left work early that day.

Details: U2’s Joshua Tree album was released on March 9th, 1987 to an immediate buzz. Irish director Meiert Avis was hired to rush a video for the third single and the chosen song, “Where The Streets Have No Name,” was to set be performed live to playback. For dramatic effect they chose to film on an unexpected and very public location – the roof of a Skid Row liquor store in the middle of a workday.

Radio DJs began announcing the event to the public just in time for an impromptu audience to make their way to the scene (I had to work, I was a little bitter).u2thennow As it was clearly a traffic hazard, the police were none too thrilled… but the resulting video was edited and overdubbed to make that conflict seem more dramatic. In reality, I’m told the band stopped playing as soon as the police issued an order, they’d already gotten enough footage to make the video.

Epilogue: Joshua Tree vaulted the band to fame and garnered their first two Grammys. This video won the 1989 Grammy for Best Music Performance Video (a category that only existed for two years). According to Yelp reviews, Margarita’s Place, the restaurant which now occupies the former Republic Liquor space, is not the best dining experience in town (note: the good Yelp reviews happened after I wrote this article. Hmmm.):

“I would be damn well surprised if this place wasn’t a front for some sort of drug operation… The only thing worse than being in this shithole is the walk to and from. The last time I walked there a young black fellow with a taser insisted I spare some change. And as for the food, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a restaurant that borders Skid Row. If I didn’t move away, I’d still be going there – just to see the Chef’s mean ass mullet.”

Okay! So no Michelin stars for Margarita’s Place.

And lastly, on a personal side note that nobody really needs to read… about five months after that video was filmed, Bono kissed me. On the mouth. Backstage at Springsteen. As I’m now somewhat middle-aged I suppose I just wanted to remind myself that once upon a time I used to be kinda cool. That said, he was wearing that stupid hat, so that kinda ruins the memory. Nobody can be cool in that hat. Not even Bono. :)

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6 Responses to “FLASHBACK – Bono Pisses Off the LAPD”

  1. frankie says:

    I always wondered where exactly this was filmed. I wish I was old enough to attend. An awesome time in Los Angeles history.

  2. Gelatocartman says:

    thanks for posting! I was also at Sunday’s show and had the same thought, prompting me to watch that video last night. I wondered about the exact location and now I know. Cool anecdote, too!

  3. bdanger says:

    hahaha cool article that last part cracks me up. the photo kills it.

  4. LJ says:

    Well not like it’s hard to piss the LAPD off… after 100Y these guys still don’t get “community”.

    I work in downtown and never knew this story… Joshua Tree’s a special album from my high school years… a dear friend had it played at her funeral…

    Great flashback

  5. Vidya says:

    I was working at Broadway and Ninth when word spread that U2 would be performing. My friends and I snagged a great place right across the street and we hung out for nearly 2 hours. It’s the only time I ever saw U2 live…

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