Another Day, Out of Control. (incomplete setlist)
U2 perform with the Virgin Prunes and Berlin on the third night of the Sense of Ireland Festival. Island Records sends scouts out for one last look at U2 before the paperwork is signed (on March 24) on U2’s record deal.
Hot Press, March 29, 1980
U2, Berlin, Virgin Prunes
by Peter Owens
Signing, of course, was heavily in the air where U-2 were concerned. With yet another deal imminent, and this time even more securely grasped than the others which all somehow seemed to slide away like a bar of soap just at the last minute, they knew that they were to some extent on trial. I’d previously only seen them in Dublin, and not since September at that, and at that stage I’d still felt that there were residual twinges of the Dublin disease, a slight lack of conviction, of urgency. Their stint here late last year has jettisoned any such quibbles this time around, however. Live at least, though not yet quite on record, they’re now a fully rounded unit playing to, rather than against, their strengths.
Some of the music has been given a bit of a spring-clean, too - for example the revised rhythm of “Stories For Boys.” I still think there’s something wrong with the internal dynamics of some of the songs: “Another Day,” for instance, definitely loses pace in the middle. Bono is starting to move a little too much like the Ian Curtis/Numan school, but it’s probably unintentional.
© Hot Press. All Rights Reserved.
New Musical Express, March 29, 1980
U2, Berlin, Virgin Prunes
by Paul Ramball
Its energy spent, its citizens content to lapse into style, to consume and give tacit consent, its insatiable media meanwhile ever needing fresh supplies, London looks to the faraway towns.
Places like Liverpool and Dublin — not yet like Manchester, Sheffield, or Coventry which are clearly marked on the new provincial rock n’ roll map — will succeed those areas as sources of innocence, enthusiasm, and occasional anger. The emotions that save music from a cynical, disenchanted death.
Geared to supply an supply and supply, the rock machine threshes further and further afield. There’s very little it can’t contain, nothing it won’t finally obtain. But U2 is what its desperately needs. Theirs is the upper hand. And there’s the rub.
In a bare, concrete shack beneath the Westway, to perhaps a couple hundred eager bodies alerted to the band by previous visits and word of mouth, they spill a little of that precious vitality.
They’re good tonight. Not yet totally sure and commanding, but committed and determined and eager to cut across — refreshingly eager to create a rapport and to communicate with the crowd more than merely to them. So eager they sometimes rush and stumble. U2 are on the up; not yet set on the course, not yet set in their ways.
Now is the time to see them.
Later, they could turn into heavy metal cabaret. They might lose their subtlety as they learn to use the effect. The strange slight-of-hand that allows them to be romantic and mannered in a very conventional way and at the same time menacing and not quite ordinary, might one day harden into a hollow, grandiose, and massively successful style.
Bono, their singer and central force, knows all this. He has the strength of character to fight it, too. And that strength compels attention. He throws himself into the role of the performer as though it were a vocation, and he understands the role surprisingly well. He exposes it, subverts it, and impresses himself on an audience in a dozen different ways, drawing them in like a magnet. Whatever cliches the music sometimes employs, Bono makes a genuine, unique contact.
To U2 went the show, but the curtain was raised by the Virgin Prunes and finally collapsed on top of a gang of guileless youth club pop stars called Berlin.
The Virgin Prunes, who have apparently gained some notoriety in Dublin circles, were every bit as aggressively bizarre and ultimately ridiculous as their name. Maybe they deserve more than just the footnote they’re going to get in the annals of stupidity.
© New Musical Express. All Rights Reserved.