During the lockdown of 2020, Bono and the Edge revisited, reimagined, and re-recorded 40 U2 classics for the quadruple-disc, career-spanning Songs of Surrender collection. Then, as travel restrictions eased up, in December 2022 they invited their famous fan and longtime friend, talk show icon David (apparently now just humble “Dave”) Letterman, to attend a special show in their native Dublin’s old Ambassador Cinema building. The result, lensed by Oscar-winning 20 Feet From Stardom director Morgan Neville, is Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming with Dave Letterman — part Dublin travelogue (it was, surprisingly, Letterman’s first time in the city), part concert film, and part U2 rockumentary.
But most of all, the film — fittingly being released via Disney+ on St. Patrick’s Day, to coincide with the Irish band’s Songs of Surrender — is a touching tribute to the enduring, evolving friendship between these three men. In fact, the documentary’s most memorable musical moment doesn’t take place onstage at the Ambassador Cinema, and it’s not even on Songs of Surrender. It’s “Forty Foot Man,” a new original tune that Bono and the Edge wrote for Letterman in the middle of the night. The ditty was inspired by their day trip with Letterman to the Forty Foot, a Dublin Bay tourist attraction where daredevil swimmers regularly take a rite-of-passage icy plunge.
“Many nice things have happened to me for my life; this would be right at the top of that list,” an astonished and choked-up Letterman stammers in the film, after Bono and the Edge play a sketch of “Forty Foot Man” for him from the U2 guitarist’s iPhone.