Concentration Cramp, In Your Hand, Out Of Control, Shadows And Tall Trees, Life On A Distant Planet, The Fool. (incomplete setlist)
This is the last in a series of six Saturday afternoon shows in Dublin.
Hot Press, August 31, 1979
U2 Treats U
by Declan Lynch
The tension around Malahide must be palpable these days; it’s working, for God’s sake, it’s working! The project which began so ignominiously in the lives of four ambitious middle class kiddies has developed through a plethora of errors, hiccups, pratfalls, accusation, stupidities, and barely-savoured successes, into a movement.
They’ve come from Killiney and Foxrock, and also Cabra and Raheny to be here today, and they’ve come to dance, mister — and sing, and participate and only maybe evaluate. What’s more, they’ve dressed up with an unmistakable detail. If U2 are playing, there’s no knowing who might be there, right?
Most important is the fact that U-2 kiddies are actually young. What with the Skids and Police and Gen. X doing the round on every turntable in the civilised world, Paddy pop kids have decided that Paul, Dave, Adam, and Larry (for it is they) are cooler than death and more than just another young band. U-2 are now the mentors, even father figures (gasp!), for a new generation of attempted rises to popularity and Juke Box Jury appearances, and they haven’t even released a record. Very strange indeed.
I thought this was a great gig. Admittedly there are easier places to play than Dandelion Green — the Black Hole of Calcutta being the one which springs to mind with greatest facility.
But obstacles mean nothing to these boys now, or so it seems. They’re making everything into momentum, turning it into gravy, and they’ll probably be in your town this week. U-2 have frankly gigged their butts off to be as tight and effective as their excellent set continues to indicate. When Paul Hewson, once a prat, now the frontman he’s always wanted to be, sprays “U-2” in black on the back wall, he’s being deliberate, and everyone knows it. Complete conviction and mastery of technique are slowly becoming his, and he doesn’t have to bluff anymore. He is in control, and you just know that he’s been in front of more mirrors than “Jimmy Smith” has “hot” “licks” to “play.”
Their greatest strength, though, is in the songs, which now vindicate all the occasional obnoxiousness. “Out of Control,” “In Your Hand,” Concentration Camp,” Shadows In Tall Trees,” [sic] “Judith,” and “The Fool” will land them the record contract which, when it comes will be richly deserved, if only for the courage and tenacity in the face of such a volume of criticism from the very start. But then, the best are always the most envied, which may be close to the root of things.
Dave Edge is a superlative guitarist and he’ll improve so much, being so young, being so bright, so good. Someday soon, Adam Clayton will wake up and find that he’s Phil Lynott, which will please him fully. They’ve learnt and learnt, honing all those influences (Bowie, even Lizzy to name two) so caringly. Where others are inspired by the same people, U-2 have gone that crucial stage further, and created a unique identifiable sound of their own. It’s a good sound, one that’s adding nuances to pop and metal, without being either one exclusively. The dark voice whispering market penetration into my ear is being ignored, but out in Malahide, they’re probably crapping over it.
Nah, I didn’t mean it to sound snide or nasty. That’s gone on too long, much too long, because no matter what band you play with south of the border, U-2 can piddle all over you, lucrative publishing deals or not.
Church of Ireland rock ‘n’ roll knocked me out on a Saturday afternoon, and the metal pop kids say: “It’s U-2 for that special treat.” Goodnight.
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