U2's sensational new 360 show is far cry from their first gigs

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Billy Sloan, Sunday Mail

U2 have revealed that their new 360° live show, hailed as the most spectacular tour in rock history, was inspired by their early Scottish gigs.

The Irish supergroup say their first gigs in Scotland helped shape them as a top-flight act.

On August 18, U2 will perform "in-the-round" at Hampden Park in Glasgow with special guests Glasvegas and The Hours.

It will be a real labour of love for Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr, who have never forgotten the reception they got from Scots fans early in their career.

"Some of our first-ever gigs were at venues such as Strathclyde University then we discovered the famous Barrowland," recalled The Edge.

"The reputation of Barrowland went before it. People told us it was quite a place.

"When we finally got there on November 6, 1984, we thought: 'Wow, this is serious'.

"From the first bars of opening song 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, it was the most unbelievably explosive experience."

U2 were also inspired by The Skids. In 2007, they joined forces with Green Day to cover the Fife band's classic song, The Saints Are Coming, to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Adam said: "The Skids were a little bit ahead of us but they were a huge influence."

He added: "I remember it was just great for U2 to get out of England to play gigs.

"Once we crossed the Border, the atmosphere really changed. The Scots fans seemed to speak the same language as us."

On September 7, U2 release I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight from the album No Line On The Horizon.

But their latest tour is worlds apart from the first gigs they attended themselves.

The Edge said: "In the early '70s, my first gig was Horslips in a ballroom in Skerries in Ireland. There were 600 people there and it was totally rocking.

"That summer I went to a big outdoor show in Macroom, headlined by guitarist Rory Gallagher. It took live performance to a whole other level.

"Then, in 1978, I saw The Clash play the dining hall at Trinity College in Dublin.

"U2 were just at the point where it was starting to get serious. Seeing The Clash definitely gave us the confidence to say: 'If they can do it, so can we'."

Adam said: "My first gig was Thin Lizzy at Wembley Arena during the Live And Dangerous Tour in 1978. What struck me was the sheer fun of it all. It was a world I wanted to get into."

The Edge insists the group don't feel overawed by the huge 360-degree stage set.

He said: "It's got the potential for us to draw people in.

"We are so exposed on stage - in the middle of a sea of people - with nowhere to hide.

"It's very daunting, on one level, but also exciting because we can deepen the interaction between what we're doing and the fans."

Manager Paul McGuinness - nicknamed the fifth member of U2 - recalled the first time he saw them live.

"In 1978, they played the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. I thought that they were doing everything badly but the spark was there," he said.

"Bono was MAKING people watch him, when most other singers of that era were hiding on stage. They were startlingly different. I saw energy and conviction."

He added: "We agreed on the spot to work together.

"And we're still working together after 30 years, which is pretty unusual.

"We don't always agree - but what we do agree about is that great things are expected of U2."

© 2009 owned by or licensed to Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd.

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This page contains a single entry by Rita published on August 10, 2009 11:14 PM.

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