Coinciding with anticipated new release from U2, ‘Songs Of Surrender’
√ From Academy- and Emmy Award-winning Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville & Dave Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, Disney Branded Television docuspecial delves into one of the most remarkable friendships and songwriting partnerships in rock ‘n’ roll history as they travel home to Dublin
On Friday, Disney+ announced it greenlit a feature-length music docuspecial, “Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman,” in which Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville captures Dave Letterman on his first visit to Dublin to hang out with Bono and The Edge in their hometown, experience Dublin, and join the two U2 musicians for a concert performance unlike any they’ve done before.
Disney Branded Television President Ayo Davis made the announcement, unveiling a first-look teaser of the docuspecial during her TCA remarks.
“Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman,” from Disney Branded Television, is set to premiere globally on Disney+ on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, coinciding with U2’s highly anticipated album “Songs Of Surrender” – a collection of 40 seminal U2 songs from across the band’s catalog, rerecorded and reimagined. The docuspecial is the latest in Disney+ music specials from Disney Branded Television, including last year’s highly successful “Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium” and the critically acclaimed “Encanto at the Hollywood Bowl,” both currently streaming on Disney+.
From Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries, Neville’s Tremolo Productions, and Dave Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, “Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman” is part concert movie, part travel adventure plus a whole lot of Bono and The Edge, with Dave’s humor throughout.
As well as the concert performance itself, the docuspecial will focus on the extraordinary relationship between Bono and The Edge and how it has developed across 45-plus years of close friendship and one of the most remarkable songwriting partnerships in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, plus document Dublin through Dave’s eyes as he experiences Bono and The Edge’s home city for the first time.
Davis said, “Bono and The Edge are the force behind one of the most prolific and influential acts in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, and we are honored to bring this truly intimate look at their beginnings, friendship, and creative process to a global audience on Disney+.”
Letterman said, “Recently, I won a radio contest. Winner gets to visit Dublin with Bono and The Edge (radio contest part not true, but I feel like a winner). They showed me around, introduced me to their musician friends, and performed some of their greatest songs in a small theater. It’s a great tour. Get in touch with them – I’m told there are still availabilities. I’m the luckiest man on the planet. (There are no availabilities).”
Letterman, who accepted an invitation from the two U2 bandmates to join them in Dublin for his first-ever visit to Ireland, has a 25-year relationship with U2, but had previously only spent time with the Bono and The Edge in the U.S. As well as being their honored guest at an intimate concert performance at a local landmark, the former Ambassador Cinema building at the top of O’Connell Street on Dublin’s Northside, Dave embarks on his own exploration of the city. He visits the legendary Forty Foot swimming spot on a freezing cold morning and rides the DART commuter train north from Co. Wicklow. Letterman also inspires a brand-new U2 song written by The Edge and Bono and narrowly escapes having to perform at a sing-song at the legendary McDaid’s pub off Grafton Street with an equally legendary bunch of artists and musicians, including Bono, The Edge, Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Imelda May, Loah, Saint Sister, Grian Chatten of Fontaines DC, and Dermot Kennedy, whose voice Bono describes as a “sonic boom.”
“I fell in love with U2 and David Letterman at roughly the same time, somewhere around my sophomore year of high school,” director Morgan Neville said. “That somehow decades later we would all come together in Ireland to make this show was an unlikely dream somehow come to life.”
“I had this incredible dream that I was in the magical city of Dublin with Bono, The Edge and David Letterman,” said producer Justin Wilkes. “And if it wasn’t for the fact that Morgan beautifully captured it all on film, I still wouldn’t believe it actually happened.”
The film was shot on location in New York and Los Angeles and, of course, in Dublin, Ireland.
Also announced last week, a new album titled “Songs Of Surrender” – a collection of 40 seminal U2 songs from across the band’s catalog, rerecorded and reimagined for 2023 in sessions spanning the last two years, to be released in full on Friday, March 17. The first track to be made available from this brand-new set of recordings is the anthemic "Pride (In The Name Of Love).” Listen here.
“Songs Of Surrender” is curated and produced by The Edge and sees the band revisit some of the most celebrated songs of their 40-plus year career, including “With Or Without You,” “One,” “Beautiful Day,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Invisible,” for a musical reimagining resulting in a completely new recording of each track, to include the arrangements and, in some cases, new lyrics.
“Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman” is produced by Imagine Documentaries, Tremolo Productions, and Dave Letterman’s Worldwide Pants. For Imagine Documentaries, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes are executive producers; Séamus Murphy-Mitchell is producer; and Meredith Kaulfers and Mike Sweeney are co-executive producers. For Tremolo, Morgan Neville is director and producer, and Caitrin Roger is executive producer. For Worldwide Pants, Tom Keaney is executive producer, and Mary Barclay is co-executive producer. For Disney Branded Television, Marc Buhaj is vice president, Unscripted and Nonfiction, and Marjon Javadi is vice president, Documentary Films and Docuseries.
Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. met as teenagers at Dublin’s Mount Temple School and in 1978 U2 was formed. From the beginning, U2 were marked out by their drive and ambition, forming as a band – as they’ve said – “before they could play.”
Forty years later, U2 is acknowledged as one of the best live acts in the world. The band has toured the globe countless times, released 14 studio albums, sold over 170 million albums and won numerous awards, including 22 Grammys and Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award. U2 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and have twice been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song: in 2003 for “The Hands That Built America” for “Gangs of New York,” and in 2014 for “Ordinary Love” for “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”
U2’s 14th studio album, “Songs Of Experience” – the companion release to 2014’s “Songs Of Innocence” – was released in December 2017, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, setting U2 apart as the only band in history to have topped the chart in four successive decades.
In 2018, the U2 hit the road with the “eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour,” an arena production which saw the band continue to push the creative boundaries of technology and engineering. And following 2017’s acclaimed stadium run with “The Joshua Tree Tour” – the record-breaking smash hit tour celebrating the band’s seminal 1987 album “The Joshua Tree” – “The Joshua Tree Tour” took U2 to New Zealand, Australia and Japan, and brought “the biggest band in the world” (The Guardian) to Singapore, Seoul, Manila and Mumbai for the very first time.
In November, 2019, the band released a track in collaboration with A.R. Rahman, titled “Ahimsa,” which was performed live at Mumbai’s, D.Y. Patil Stadium.
In 2020, SiriusXM and U2 announced the launch of U2 X-Radio, a complete immersion into the work and influences of the band from the Northside of Dublin, all curated by U2. And in May 2021, Bono and The Edge collaborated with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix to create the track “We Are The People,” the official anthem for the UEFA 2020 European Football Tournament.