Opening Act(s): The Nightcaps
Gloria, I Threw A Brick / A Day Without Me, New Year's Day, Out Of Control, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Cry, The Electric Co., I Fall Down, October, Tomorrow, Two Hearts Beat As One, Seconds, Fire, 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow. Encore(s): Party Girl, Surrender, Like a Song, 40.
Like A Song is played for the first and only time in U2's history. There are also first performances of Two Hearts Beat As One, Seconds, Party Girl, and 40, and the last performance of Fire. Ironically, after Party Girl, Bono states that it was the song's "first, and probably last" performance. It has gone on to become U2's most performed b-side, with almost 200 performances to its name.
By Jamie Robertson
To put this gig in some sort of perspective, you have to realise that I was 13 years old at the time and this was my first gig ever. I owned Boy and October and "New Year's Day" had been out for over a month . I tell you all this to remind those who are getting older how precious anything musical we coveted was at the time. I chanced upon U2 one late weekday night in 1982 on BBC2 when Annie Nightingale introduced them live from Germany for 35 minutes. In the days before MTV, live video's/DVD's,and the internet when there were only four tv channels and one radio station, it was incredibly exciting to stumble upon a new band. I think this was accentuated for U2 because they were barely featured in the NME , Sounds or the Record Mirror and until "New Year's Day" devoid of a popular single.
Yet they sold out the Caird Hall quickly. No mean feat for a 2500 capacity hall in city of less than 200,000 people. How lucky I was to see one of the greatest rock bands ever on the cusp of making it big.
I forget the exact name of the support band: something Nightshade or the Nitecaps. Quite awful, an American three piece who were politely clapped.
But my bigbrother did have the sense to get me up to the front:the Caird Hall has a twenty - thirty feet space between the stage and the front rows of Seats.
U2 come on Larry hits the opening drum beats to "Gloria" and the place goes nuts. I am struggling to keep my feet but manage to to push off slightly to the side and keep my balance. I had no idea this is what it would be like. Of course, I was loving it.
The band were amazing. Say what you like about the quality of the song-writing but I think few peole who have liked u2 from the early days would disagree that their early stuff had a visceral excitement and emotion that has never been matched. Maybee it was something about hearing those songs when you are young. How is this for an opening salvo?: "Gloria" "I Threw A Brick/A Day Without Me", "New Year's Day" and then "Out of Control" all done without skipping beat. I recall a lady throwing a hat to Bono which he gladly received and wore for a song.
Bono was mad for it to use current vernacular. One crazy stunt was climbing onto the the ledge on the upstairs seating during "The Electric Co." and walking 50 yards and back. One slip and he was a goner. He was an incredible presence putting everything into his performance - just a bundle of raw, restless, youthful energy.
Other highpoints were a beautiful version of "Tomorrow" and a barntorming "I Will Follow". The encores were mainly from "War" and included the first live rendition of "Party Girl".
Seeing U2 at their first concert in 1983 at as a very impressionable 13 year old can only be related to something like getting your leg over for the first time with Claudia Schiffer.
U2 have their detractors, and they have come close to making made an arse of themselves probably more than any band I can
think of. But there's something tremendously uplifting about them that can't exactly be pinpointed. And that's the great thing about them - they touch you in a magical and true way only the best music can. Stick on "Under A Blood Red Sky' and the opening drums and notes of "Gloria" still bring a lump to my throat and a little swell in my chest and I am 13 again when music means more to me than just about anything else.