Opening Act(s): Fashion
11 O’Clock Tick Tock, Out Of Control, Stories For Boys, Boy-Girl, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock. (incomplete setlist)
The U2-3 single was played in its entirety with 11 O’Clock Tick Tock opening and closing the set.
Hot Press, June 20, 1980
Close to the Edge
by Peter Owens
At the appointed time, U-2 commandeered the shoebox stage and set to the task of expanding it with the determination of an SAS squad. Within moments they had stretched it to gargantuan proportions, the Edge doggedly elbowing himself an action space, Bono straining and reaching out and up, and Adam cowing the impressive bulk of the PA beside him into an easy submission. The last date of the first full tour and it seemed like a homecoming, although most of the audience still didn’t know them from Adam - well, from Cain anyway.
There’s something frightening about pure joy, a tiny fear that if you succumb totally to it you’ll never return, and Bono inculcates that vital tension - the wariness that the thin line between ecstasy and epilepsy might at any moment snap - with natural ease.
It won’t, of course, because Bono has the rare gift of captivation without putting himself in danger. He surges, he clutches at anything within reach, the mike stand, the PA, the lighting frame. The Edge just becomes more and more quietly inscrutable, the hint of a smile fleetingly visible, and Adam lolls and sprawls into a disjointed vision of straw hair.
“Tick Tock” both opens and closes, and again the live version is structured differently from the record, Bono’s one-man chapel choir rushing in straight after the first verse, an angel where fools fear to tread. And when it’s finished, there’s another 200 U-2 fans to be added to the list. No further calling cards needed, the battle is already won and the rest of the set is in a sense, unnecessary. But for 40 more minutes they anchor down the goodwill without respite, lambasting the crowd into surrender.
And for the first time, the inclusion of all “U2-3” in succession is not noticeable, the graft into newer material invisible because of the maturer, more fully realised arrangements. Sting is somewhere in there now in “Out Of Control,” but that’s no slight as Bono’s voice now occasionally develops a more corrosive edge with use. Larry, for me once the slight chink in the armour, has pulled through with honours and is now a far more positive force, pushing where once he held back.
U-2 are like an imminent thunderstorm, inducing an electrostatic breathlessness, the prickling of the skin, the uncomfortable gnawing on the soles of the feet. The difference between them and almost any other band is that such effect, the key to satisfaction, is normally achieved by the bluster of the best metal or the aloofness of “modernists.” U-2 achieve it all simply by smiling. Very shortly Britain will be thanking them for it.
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