Head on over to U2exit.com to check out their featured concert, Dortmund, November 21, 1984. It was recorded for ‘RockPop in Concert’. U2 were asked to perform all their ‘hits’ (of which they had, at the time, none) in the first 30 minutes of the set to cater to the TV audience. The band deliver 45 minutes of ecstasy.
From U2 live: “U2 play a blistering 13-song set for German TV. During Electric Co Bono runs up the slope of the cycling track left of the stage and sings a bit of Amazing Grace. He becomes irritable during Pride when the cameraman pushes his camera almost into Bono’s face. Bono points at the audience and tactfully turns the camera in their direction. The show, less three songs, is aired on January 12, 1985.”
Though already familiar with some of the band’s material, it was this broadcast that turned your editor, mesmerised by the band’s performance, firmly on to U2.
I bought The Unforgettable Fire that same week.
Watching this brings it all back: the excitement at having discovered something ‘nobody else knew about’ — a band whose songs were barely played on the radio, who were radically misunderstood (“U2? Aren’t they those pro-IRA Christians?”), the beguiling mystery, the urgency of it all.
It was the blend of punk and pop — the beat of the drum and the pulse of the bass against the melodies, the keening voice on top that lured me. Plus, they looked cool. I ditched my Paul Simon albums, and discovered a world elsewhere.