03-01-1979 McGonagles, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support, unknown
Admission, unknown

Photo by Patrick Brocklebank.

Set; unknown

Hot Press review by Bill Graham It's no secret at headquarters that I have a special spot for U2. Indeed I've no hesitation in rating them the best unrecorded band in Ireland and one whose potential is still barely tapped.
Unfortunately, circumstances weren't the best for this review. Production of our yearbook meant that their two recent McGonagles gigs, the first for the Hot Press/McGonagles party itself, the second on the third day of this New Year passed without praise in print. They were simply the most exhilarating performances by a local band I've witnessed in the last twelve months.
Last Saturday week, U2 played twice. The matinee was at McGonagle's an enterprising foray to capture the teen audience barred by licensing laws and late night opening.
Unprofessionally, my clock stopped so I lost an hour, only appearing to catch the last four numbers. Neither I nor U2 were happy with the sound but the band did succeed in their primary aim of attracting and impressing a sizeable underage contingent. They return there this weekend.
The later date was two hundred yards down the road in Trinity but the late arrival of the hired equipment and a hurried sound check weren't the best preparation. Not that it fazed the support, System 20.
The economy version of the Virgin Prunes, the Hot Tuna to their Jefferson Tricycle, System 20 are the Prunes alternate project in their free time. The provocation squad in handipak size, it was demented put ons as per usual. It didn't quite work but this writer didn't worry.
After all, this coven are the perfect vehicle for interminable (and.... interruptive....) subjunctive clauses, incomprehensible speculations and no diatribes?! - about the state of the art and occult references to Rumanian structuralists and Polish sculptors. Anti rock demanding anti journalism, all they need is a convincing  theory.
System 20 will probably never perform again.
U2 were solace for the bewildered, even if their set slumped slightly in the final third, before a racing version of "Street Mission". So if the band were scrambling, it's indicative of their growth that an average set nonetheless promoters their merits rather than exposing their failings.
Partially, it's due to Paul Hewson. Undoubtedly, the best front man since Geldof, he's a powerfully charged batter

y of energy, and utterly unignorable. His enthusiam is such that even a potentially pessimistic song like "Concentration Cramp" doesn't flounder in grim negativity, he and the band trampling underfoot all those confining restrictions of school days.
Furthermore, except for one purloined Kinks riff, U2 owe no obvious debts to earlier styles. Their songs are uniquely their own, vibrant celebrations that are both direct in impact yet not so simple in style. It's U2's most enduring asset that they've taken only the ideals of the new wave, but not its licks, so that while their songs retain pop vivacity, their structures stretch towards more complex forms. They are already their own category.
So many estimates of local bands end with double edged compliments, ifs, buts and luke warm qualifications. U2 belong to a whole other league.
McGonagles was a seedy old dance hall on South Anne Street, so run down by the 70's that if offered a perfect venue for punk acts. Infamously, the only alcohol the bar sold was rip-off plonk and a vile Irish perry called Ritz.
Bono didn't like these pictures - he said it wasn't my fault, but he was trying out a new image with the wooley jumper, tie and a headband. No one commented. The band used to call into Hot Press offices. They liked to know how they were being portrayed in the media. Patrick Brocklebank
Hot Press "Catlicks" On the local front, U2 received a surprise boost when Gary Bakosta, Los Angeleno and owner of four West Coast radio stations including K-ROQ, offered to scout out an American deal for the band. Bakosta, over this side of the water for both business and leisure, was utterly taken by U2's Jan 3rd appearance at McGonagles, enthusing that they were the best of 40 British and Irish bands he'd witnessed during his sojourn.

26-01-1979 Community Centre, Howth, Dublin

Attendance, unknown
Support, Virgin Prunes
Admission, £0.75

 

Hot Press gig guide

Set; unknown


27-01-1979 McGonagle's, Dublin

Attendance, unknown
Support, unknown
Admission, £1.00p

Free entry pass supplied by Pete McCluskey

Hot Press "Frontlines" U2, the fast rising Dublin band, inaugurate a new series of Saturday afternoon dates at McGonagle's this weekend (27th). Ticket prices will be £1.00.
The intention is to break through to a younger audience, presently denied live music by the licensing laws and by the club's late night opening policy. If the experiment is a success, U2 will repeat the formula and will possibly be followed into McGonagle's by other local bands.

Hot Press review by Bill Graham Last Saturday week, U2 played twice. The matinee was at McGonagle's an enterprising foray to capture the teen audience barred by licensing laws and late night opening.
Unprofessionally, my clock stopped so I lost an hour, only appearing to catch the last four numbers. Neither I nor U2 were happy with the sound but the band did succeed in their primary aim of attracting and impressing a sizeable underage contingent. They return there this weekend.
Hot Press review by Bill Graham The later date was two hundred yards down the road in Trinity but the late arrival of the hired equipment and a hurried sound check weren't the best preparation. Not that it fazed the support, System 20.
The economy version of the Virgin Prunes, the Hot Tuna to their Jefferson Tricycle, System 20 are the Prunes alternate project in their free time. The provocation squad in handipack size, it was demented put ons as per usual. It didn't quite work but this writer didn't worry.
After all, this coven are the perfect vehicle for interminable (and.... interruptive....) subjunctive clauses, incomprehensible speculations and no diatribes?! - about the state of the art and occult references to Rumanian structuralists and Polish sculptors. Anti rock demanding anti journalism, all they need is a convincing  theory.
System 20 will probably never perform again.
U2 were solace for the bewildered, even if their set slumped slightly in the final third, before a racing version of "Street Mission". So if the band were scrambling, it's indicative of their growth that an average set nonetheless promoters their merits rather than exposing their failings.
Partially, it's due to Paul Hewson. Undoubtedly, the best front man since Geldof, he's a powerfully charged battery of energy, and utterly unignorable. His enthusiasm is such that even a potentially pessimistic song like "Concentration Cramp" doesn't flounder in grim negativity, he and the band trampling underfoot all those confining restrictions of school days.
Furthermore, except for one purloined Kinks riff, U2 owe no obvious debts to earlier styles. Their songs are uniquely their own, vibrant celebrations that are both direct in impact yet not so simple in style. It's U2's most enduring asset that they've taken only the ideals of the new wave, but not its licks, so that while their songs retain pop vivacity, their structures stretch towards more complex forms. They are already their own category.
So many estimates of local bands end with double edged compliments, ifs, buts and luke warm qualifications. U2 belong to a whole other league.


27-01-1979 Buttery, Trinity College, Dublin

Attendance, unknown
Support, System 20
Admission, £0.60p

Photo by Patrick Brocklebank

Set; includes Street Missions, Concentration Cramp

U2 are supported by 3 members of the Virgin Prunes, calling themselves System 20. This concert is believe to be the only performance by System 20. Capacity was set at 350 & ticket prices were set at £0.60p for the Buttery. This is U2's second gig today, the first being a lunch time show at McGonagle's for the under 18's.

Hot Press review by Bill Graham The later date was two hundred yards down the road in Trinity but the late arrival of the hired equipment and a hurried sound check weren't the best preparation. Not that it fazed the support, System 20.
The economy version of the Virgin Prunes, the Hot Tuna to their Jefferson Tricycle, System 20 are the Prunes alternate project in their free time. The provocation squad in handipak size, it was demented put ons as per usual. It didn't quite work but this writer didn't worry.
After all, this coven are the perfect vehicle for interminable (and.... interruptive....) subjunctive clauses, incomprehensible speculations and no diatribes?! - about the state of the art and occult references to Rumanian structuralists and Polish sculptors. Anti rock demanding anti journalism, all they need is a convincing  theory.
System 20 will probably never perform again.
U2 were solace for the bewildered, even if their set slumped slightly in the final third, before a racing version of "Street Mission". So if the band were scrambling, it's indicative of their growth that an average set nonetheless promoters their merits rather than exposing their failings.
Partially, it's due to Paul Hewson. Undoubtedly, the best front man since Geldof, he's a powerfully charged battery of energy, and utterly unignorable. His enthusiam is such that even a potentially pessimistic song like "Concentration Cramp" doesn't flounder in grim negativity, he and the band trampling underfoot all those confining restrictions of school days.
Furthermore, except for one purloined Kinks riff, U2 owe no obvious debts to earlier styles. Their songs are uniquely their own, vibrant celebrations that are both direct in impact yet not so simple in style. It's U2's most enduring asset that they've taken only the ideals of the new wave, but not its licks, so that while their songs retain pop vivacity, their structures stretch towards more complex forms. They are already their own category.
So many estimates of local bands end with double edged compliments, ifs, buts and luke warm qualifications. U2 belong to a whole other league.

01-02-1979 Edmund Bruke Hall, Trinity College, Dublin

Attendance, unknown
Support, unknown
Admission, £0.30p

Edumnd Burke Hall as it is today. The hall seat approx 200.

Set; unknown

Enda Murray I was one of the 30 or so people who turned up to see this U2 gig at the Junior Common Room in Trinity College one lunchtime in February.
Admission, if I remember rightly, was 30p.
I’d heard about this band but never seen them before so I was thrilled to get to attend this gig in person and see what all the fuss was about.
I had been a bogman up from the country (Drawda) but now i was joining the sophisticated scions of Dublin pop culture. The Hot Press honchos and other arbiters of taste for us poor gobshites.
The JCR, as it was affectionately known, was a haunt of pool players, pinball machine aficionados and table football gurus. (Anything to keep u out of a lecture). But all this leisure equipment was moved to the side for the appearance of the fab four.
The gig is shrouded in the mist of time. Bono was leppin around like a eejit. Adam Clayton had a perm on his peroxide bonce. More than that is hard to recall.
And for the (many) years since and in many countries of the world I’ve told my U2 story to anyone who would listen.
I saw U2 for 30p at lunchtime in the JCR.
And they were shite!

Jim Murphy I was there too. We stood at the back because we were ‘posing’ and didn’t want to be associated with U2 (never a fan). But I remember this little short guy who was running and jumping into the crowd and at one point it looked like he had a penknife in his hand. He was quickly picked up by about 10 of us a quickly disposed of through a window.


03-02-1979 McGonagles, Dublin

Attendance, unknown
Support, The Citizens
Admission, unknown

Set; includes Concentration Cramp, Street Missions

Photo by Patrick Brocklebank, this photo is from the McGonagles concert on the 3rd of Jan. As you can see Bono is wearing a tie.

The Citizens are; Emmett O'Reilly Bass & Vocals, Denis Rusk Guitar, Martin Greene Guitar, Sean D'Angelo Guitar, David Herlihy Drums

This concert is the second of a trial run of Saturday lunchtime shows run by McGonagles for the under 18 fans, there is no alcohol on sale within McGonagles, Berlin & Free Booze also played these gigs. This is the first of two shows U2 play today, the second is at Trinity College.

Emmett O'Reilly The dates sound about right, we'd been given the support slot because we'd helped out U2 by doing a support slot, at short notice, when they couldn't make it on time to an afternoon underage show in McG's. It was a Saturday afternoon when we stepped in to play. Our bassist played the gig during his lunch-hour, then had to go back to work. We only appeared cos Bono rang me from RTE earlier that day as they'd been filming there and it had over-run drastically. Quick thinking on his part, you'd have to admit.


03-02-1979 Trinity College, Dublin

Attendance, 350
Support, unknown
Admission, £0.60p

Photo by Patrick Brocklebank

Set; unknown

Patrick Brocklebank "U2 played a fair bit in Trinity College, both in the Buttery and in the Pavilion Bar. On the 3rd of February they played a matinee in McGonagles, then played in the Buttery. I was both photographer and roadie that day, helping to bring equipment down from McGonagles to Dik Evans' flat in the GMB, on campus, right beside the Buttery".

U2 had an edge (no pun intended)  over most of their rivals when it came to these city centre gigs as they did not have to  transport their equipment across town. Dik Evans had rooms at Trinity College, which U2 would use these for practice sessions and to store their equipment.
U2 up through the floorboards Aidan O'Rourke
U2 had common origins with the Virgin Prunes. I had also witnessed their concerts, recording the sound with my portable tape recorder, so that I knew their entire set by heart. In some respects I preferred them to U2 as they were very edgy and experimental.
Having seen the Virgin Prunes live several times and familiarised myself with their material, I had strong views about them. One day in the post office near Essex Street, not far from Trinity, I saw their lead singer Gavin Friday in his characteristic pale raincoat and white face powder. I seized the chance to talk to him and after introducing myself, I gave a full and frank appraisal of the music. He seemed to appreciate my interest and nodded attentively.
I was also acquainted with the Virgin Prunes bassist Dik, brother of the Edge. During 1979, Dik lived in the room directly below mine, 28.2.2. Trinity College, overlooking Front Square. I often used to hear the latest U2 and Virgin Prunes demo tapes coming up through the floor. I chatted to Dik a few times and occasionally went downstairs for a cup of tea and a chat. He also appreciated my interest in the Virgin Prunes. He told me a lot about U2 and Bono, including the fact that the song 'I will follow' was about Bono's mother: "Most people think it's a song about a girl but actually it's about his mammy!".
In bed at night, listening on headphones plugged into my portable tape recorder, I used to listen to Dave Fanning's show on the fm pirate station Radio Dublin. The reception was hissy, but the music was great. He often played demo tapes by U2 and other bands. That was my third year at Trinity.


17-02-1979 Project Arts Centre, Dublin

"Dark Space Festival"

Attendance, 800
Support, The Mekons, Rudi, Protex, The Idiots, Berlin, DC Nien, The Atrix, The Virgin Prunes, U2, Phantom Orchestra, Rock DeValera, The New Versions, Gillespie & Gibbs, Revolver, The Letters, Zebra, The Vultures.
Admission, £4.00

Advert from "In Dublin" magazine

Set; includes Shadows & Tall Trees, Cartoon World, Another Time Another Place, Street Missions encore Glad to See You Go.

The Project Arts Centre “Dark Space” festival brings together the biggest ever collection of Irish “New Wave” bands under one roof, from both the north & south. After Public Image pull out, the only non Irish band are The Mekons. Much like many modern festivals “Dark Space” had two stages, one in the main hall & one in a smaller hall. Many of the local Dublin bands play in the smaller hall including D.C. Nien, Zebra, Modern Heirs, The Letters, The Vultures. Revolver kicked off the 24 hour “Dark Space” festival at 11pm on the Friday night. They are the “old men” of the Dublin “New Wave” scene, they and The Vipers were at the first Project “New Wave” festival in 1977. U2 close the festival on the Saturday night. Their set is stopped mid way through due to late scheduling. There is also no time for a “Live Aid” style finale with all the bands on stage together. From reading reviews of this festival, I believe that Rocky DeValera & The Gravediggers & U2 played two sets.

The price of admission was dropped from £6 to £4 after John Lydon's PIL dropped out.

Fan review by Aidan O'Rourke My earliest memory of U2 is from 1978 when they played at a 24 hour music festival at the Project Arts Centre, which had recently opened in what is now known as Temple Bar district. The performance wasn't very polished, but the band had lots of energy.
A new band named U2 had appeared on Dublin's music scene. I first saw them at the Project Arts Centre during 1978. They stormed onto a very high stage - I seem to remember staring at the lead singer Paul Hewson's pointed cowboy boots - & delivered a frenetic & bewildering set.
They had something, though I wasn't quite sure what. The youthful lead singer with his ruddy cheeks, unfashionable medium length hair & tight trousers pranced around the stage yelling into the microphone. The vocals were haphazard - frequently out of tune & croaking in the upper registers. Each of the band members seemed to be pushing the pace of the music.


Hot Press Review by Dave Fanning "Death race 2,000" had passed it's half way mark when U2 took the stage to the hearty applause of the dedicated followers of fashion who had forgotten to bring sleeping bags. And the band's rock 'n' roll breakfast tasted just fine.
With perfect posturing & dynamic delivery, Paul Hewson, straining every muscle & pulling the band forward, was always arresting. While they were always confident & competent Dave Evans (gtr) & Adam Clayton (bass), belied the intermittent tendency to drag the music into the clutches of the age old malaise of heavy metal sludge, especially on the shadily atmospheric "Shadows & Tall Trees". The sound was crisp enough, but Tayto it ain' t. Yet numbers like "Cartoon World" & "Another Time Another Place" they showed enough bravado & intelligence to convince anyone that this young band has hair on it's chest. "Street Missions" was great. Their encore "Glad To See You Go" was energetic but it suffered slightly from it's slower than Ramones pace. Not to worry. Their own numbers & enthusiasm will see them through.

Irish Times Review by Joe Breen In the wake of the euphoria surrounding Van Morrison's concerts in Ireland last week the success of the Project's Art Centre 24 hour "Dark Space" festival may be overlooked.
In fact, it was was a 26 hour event as the music continued until midnight last Saturday week. Aside from the more controversial aspects of the festival, such as the strip tease act, the music, played entirely by leading young Irish bands (with the exception of The Mekons from Britain), was of an unexpectedly high standard. maybe it was the appearance of Britain's leading rock DJ, John Peel, which prompted the energetic performances & it is reasonable to assume he was accordingly impressed.
Prior to the venture, many people feared the worst. The festival idea has strong hippy connotations & it was felt that possibly the New Wave fans & bands would find it all too boring. Allied to that the disappointment over the non appearance of Johnny Lydon & his PIL band & the confusion over whether some Irish bands would play added to the pessimistic view.
However, as events showed, it was probably better that Lydon did not appear as Public Image's star appeal might have detracted from the impact of the local bands. I caught The Atrix, The Mekons, The Virgin Prunes, U2 & many more. They were all enjoyable but I was particularly impressed by U2, who have made great progress in the last few months, & the very promising, The Atrix. The Virgin Prunes very theatrical act was highly entertaining, but the limitations of the music & playing are too severe.
The crowd, John Stephenson of the Project told me, totaled about 800 over the 26 hours, but at the reduced price of £4 a head (owing to the non appearance of John Lydon & Throbbing Gristle) he said that the festival would lose a lot of money. Invariably, there were many small problems, such as the sound not always being correct or the music drowning out the soundtracks of the films which were shown throughout the festival. But these minor cribs amount to little when compared to the peace, the good music & the general good atmosphere which permeated the East Essex Street building. Even the Project workers remained in good spirits at the snacks counter though they were there for 12 hour shifts.
Unfortunately, along with the many unusually dressed people there were (including one fan with a Mohican hair style) I noticed two people wearing Nazi insignia, a despicable trait that I thought the New Wave had dispensed with. They is nothing funny about fascism, as many people of different races & colours have found out, & are still finding out to day.
Incidentally, I tried to find out the meaning of the title, "Dark Space", but nobody seemed able solve the mystery. However at 7am on a Saturday morning "Dark Space", adequately summed up the the state of my head, so maybe that's what the organisers meant.

Bill Graham Hot Press It may have been the most significant Dublin rock event since the Rats left town. Certainly Project’s “Dark Space” momentarily took capital rock out of the doldrums it’s been fighting for the last two years. Van Morrison can provide the motto – it surely is too late to stop now.
In fact, the non appearance of Public Image was a boon. Bereft of their presence and the weekend punks they would have attracted, the flow wasn’t distorted nor energies distracted by that overriding event, instead, but for the presence of The Mekons. “Dark Space” was a completely local event, allowing the bands to sow the seeds of self-conscious community.
It wasn’t just Dublin. The Belfast contingent in their denims & black leather jackets were just as important with Rudi possibly the band who gained the greatest advantage out of the event. The two scenes mixed as they never had the opportunity to previously “Dark Space” significance must include the cross border detents it achieved.
Admittedly Project lost money. But the spirit of the affair appears to have convinced them of the necessity to repeat the experiment & if there were faults in the organization, the lessons have surely been learnt.
The event had to be over-the-top to make the desired impact & the scope of the occasion at least allowed every band to democratically show their wares. None the less few had the stamina to make it through the full twenty four hours. It may be wiser to concentrate the next into an allnighter.
It was the less estimated bands who provided the surprises, D.C. Nien, The Letters, Zebra, The Modern Heirs and, so this non-witness gathers, The Vultures all proving themselves as fully capable as the groups in the lager hall. As for the bigger names, they all performed close to or at the peak of their abilities.
Except for early gobbing & numbskulls at the finale who ripped off the reception desk, the event was never petty. The organization wasn’t always perfect but it invariably coped & was never the shambles some pessimists had previously predicted. If I’ve one grip, it was the closing scene, U2 being cut off in mid set due to late scheduling. Whatever about them, it really should have climaxed with every band or at least a representative on stage. That celebration didn’t come.
No matter, an orphan scene finally found a home where it didn’t have to deal with Fagins, publicans, gangsters, hucksters, and failed star trippers. Those who were there know its importance, in five years time, those who weren’t will be clamouring to pretend they were there and Project will discover they’d had as large audience as filled the G.P.O. “Dark Space” was the first Irish rock gig for the eighties. Jump aboard.
21-03-1979 College of Technology, Kevin Street, Dublin

University Rag Week

Attendance, unknown
Support, unknown
Admission, £1.50 from the Student Union, £2.00 on the door

Advert from Hot Press

Set; includes 2, 4, 6, 8 Motorway

U2 do a lunchtime show, 1 til 2, Revolver do the night time show 11pm til 2am. A hole week of gigs take place, bands playing are; The Lookalikes, Rocky DeValera & the Gravediggers, DC Nien, Bogey Boys, Rag Ball, Sacre Bleu, Zebra.

Paul McGuinness makes U2 take a short break from playing live, to practice their songs and make the set tighter, this was their first gig after the break. It's also believed to be the first gig that The Edge uses his now famous "Gibson Explorer" guitar. The guitar was purchased while on holiday in New York.


12-04-1979 Arts Block, Trinity College, Dublin

Attendance, unknown
Support, unknown
Admission, £0.30p

Advert from "In Dublin"

Set; unknown

This was a lunch time show, please note it should read Thursday, not Tuesday on the advert.


05-05-1979 Liberty Hall, Dublin

Attendance, unknown
Support The Letters, U2, Revolver
Admission' unknown

Advert from "In Dublin"

Set;​ unknown

The Letters are the opening act with Revolver headlining. Revolver gave U2 a lot of support in these early days, giving them support slots at the Celebrity Club & The Project Arts Centre. Phil & Adam became very good friends, Adam being Phil's best man at his wedding & Godfather to his son Simon.

This is the one & only time U2 are known to have played this venue.

According to a "Frontlines" article in "Hot Press" Rocky DeValera & The Gravediggers are the opening act for this concert. Rocky & The Gravediggers going on stage at 1pm, U2 at 3pm and finally Revolver at 4pm. This is a benefit concert, against Ireland's notorious anti contraception laws. The bands perform on a stage with banners behind them campaigning for "Free legal & safe contraception". U2's set is stopped mid set while the women from the "Contraception Action Campaign" make their speeches.

The Letters are; Mark "Spot" Phelean (vocal), Tom Doyle (guitar & vocal), Stephen Ryan (guitar & vocal), Des O'Byrne (bass), Dave Herlihy (drums).

Revolver are; Philip Barretta AKA Philip Byrne (vocal), Billy Luger AKA Billy Morley (guitar), Colm O'Kelly (guitar), Kevin Kolt AKA Kevin Helly (bass), Johnny Symbol AKA Johnny Sullivan (drums).

12-05-1979 Dandelion Market, Dublin
Attendance, approx 200
Support The Fast, Martin Egan
Admission £0.50p

Picture by Patrick Brocklebank

Set; includes Out Of Control, In Your Hand, Concentration Cramp, Shadows & Tall Trees, Judith, The Fool.

This was the first of the now legendary Dandelion Market gigs, U2 went on to play this venue 8 times 1979.
Before going on stage, Bono worked the door, taking the 50p entrance fee from the punters.

The Fast are; Dave Boardman Vocals, Frank Kearns Lead guitar, Stephan Ryan Bass, Eric Briggs Drums
The Fast were a Ramones tribute band, they played with U2 twice at the Market & once in Howth, the dates for the other two concerts are not known.

Martin Egan is singer/song writer, I believe still playing today.

By John Fisher Dandelion Market Promoter The gigs in the Dandelion Market have become the source of many a tall tale, unfounded rumour & urban legend. So this is my recollection of the venue & how it came to be.
In the summer of 1976, me (John Fisher) & Eoin O'Shea went to The reading Festival & The Rolling Stones in Knebworth & saw the early days of the Punk explosion in London. We came back with or rucksacks full of badges & set up a stall in the market selling badges, T-Shirts, posters etc. Up until then, the market had been a bit of a hippy haven - full of cheesecloth shirts, incense & granddad shirts. So our stall, Sticky Fingers, was a bit out on a limb.
We decided that we needed more punks, mods & rockers coming in so we decided to use the one vacant area in the market - an enclosed dark dank shed that housed the power supply for the whole market. We cleaned it out, white washed the walls & set up a small stage, built of leftover beer crates, breeze - blocks & a few sheets of chipboard that we bought. The venue was now ready - now we needed some bands.
The Noise Boys were the first band to take to that rather shaky stage - I don't remember why exactly, maybe it was through my friendship with Tim McStay (keyboards). I do remember the next and better, Ferdia McAnna & Dave Sweeney both worked for us selling badges at the stall & had decided to set up a band, Rock DeValera & The Gravediggers. They played the next Saturday & from then on we were rocking.
That Sunday, two guys approached me & introduced themselves as Larry & Dave from a band called U2. I had herd about them & knew that they were already a real (ie. gigging) band. They wanted to see the venue & asked if they could play there. We had already booked bands for the following weekend, so I told them that they could play the week after. The legendary gigs were about to begin.
But I was also excited about the likes of Berlin, fit Kilkenny & The Blades, all of whom I knew well. There were many memorable gigs there, for me the best of which were The Outcasts which often ended with bass player Getti leaving a pool of blood on the stage from attacking his instrument with such venom.
Over the coming weeks, the gigs went from strength to strength. We had a unique rule, we charged a flat entrance fee of 50p & the bands got all the takings, we only took a pound or two if we needed to buy new chipboard for the stage or a few light bulbs. The only other condition was that the bands who played had to come in early in order to rebuild the stage which was inevitably smashed up by the local kids during the week, when the market reverted to being a sprawling car park, & that included U2!
My other main memories of the gigs were that, especially in the winter or if the band were using more lights than usual, the main fuse would often blow. This often resulted in a complete blackout of the whole market, much to the annoyance of the other traders, especially the ones who were already angry with us for bring in a rough & rowdy bunch of punks. Another stall holder, jack The lad, was the designated electrician for the market & he would be summonsed to fix the fuse. Eventually though, to save time & hassle, he showed us how to do it & we would regularly be seen running into the corner where the fuse board was housed to do the necessary repairs.
I remember one time that U2 were playing & their lighting person hadn't turned up. The term lighting technician wasn't used the, it was only 3 spotlights on a bar on either side of the stage. I was asked to do the necessary & suddenly found myself doing the lights. I thought I was doing OK until in particular song, I turned all the lights out on one side of the stage plunging Adam into complete darkness while at the same time almost burning Edge's irises out with a full blast of light. Needless to say, I wasn't asked to do the lights on their last world tour!

If you have any information on The Fast or Martin Egan please get in touch.


12-05-1979 Trinity College, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support, unknown
Admission, £0.60p

 

Photo by Patrick Brocklebank

Set; includes Out Of Control, In Your Hand, Concentration Cramp, Shadows & Tall Trees, Judith, The Fool.

This was U2's second show of the day, the first was a lunchtime concert at the Dandelion Market, the first U2 would play there.​


24-05-1979 Trinity College, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support, unknown
Admission, £0.60p

 

Set; includes Out Of Control, In Your Hand.

U2 perform an open air lunchtime concert, on the steps of Trinity College.

 


26-05-1979 McGonagle's, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support Virgin Prunes
Admission, unknown

Set includes; Shadows & Tall Trees, Concentration Cramp, Wild youth?, 12XU?, The Killing Of George?.

Photo by Patrick Brocklebank, this is from the Project Arts Centre gig on 18/09/1979.

This was a lunchtime show.

Review from Heat Fanzine Opening salvo shots from these asexual ricochets, announce their intention to subdue the masculine near military mael storm the McGonagles audience projects conceptual consent ration concerning discerning artist with artistic consciousness coupled with concise chaotic chants, shocked the copulating couples & a cauterised clique from the crowd burst the stage barriers in search of frozen recompense instrumental ability is non existent  but when they posses the talent needed to confuse hapless rock critics into believing that "ARTF**K" is indeed art, then they are indeed artefacts of art & must be accepted as such. The Virgin Prunes are to modern art music, what the Project is to the theatre or Tom Matthews is to Robert Crump.
With U2, it's a different matter, totally devoid of pretensions this energetic band of youngsters fairly storm through a dynamic set of tight rockers..........The ghost of "Shadows of princess & tall trees" "Wild youth" "Concentration Cramp" "12XU" etc, this thrilled all the McGuinness family. This band do not pander to the hi step pogo element & accentuate both highs & lows with songs like "The killing of George". Idols voice & on stage hysterics augured well for the mode of professionalism & perfection  derwoods buttar pyrotechnics confused those not liberal enough to accept well played boring guitar fills, which bear no relation to the mess around which is supposed to fill. When those people accept that youngsters can be pretentious without adopting brown rice attitudes & appeal then the time will be right for U2 the new akron concept.


26-05-1979 Downtown Kampus, Cork
Attendance, unknown
Support for The Only Ones
www.theonlyones.biz
Admission, unknown

Set; unknown
Advert from Hot Press

The Only Ones were an English band on tour in Ireland. 

The Only Ones are; Peter Perrett (vocal), John Perry (guitar), Alan Mair (bass), Mike Kellie (drums).

Stac Coll (U2 sound engineer) This was some kind of step up, supporting The Only Ones, Peter Perret's band. I met Peter again, many years later, still with Xena, both of them still looking like walking skeletons. By then Peter was playing poker to feed his heroin habit. He had a masters in mathematics & knew how to use it; he was shit hot at poker. He was still making music, a bit, of which I have a demo cassette somewhere. All useless information to you but it might be useful sometime. So back to the gig.
For me it was another 2-gig gig. I was mixing U2 in Cork & then The Virgin Prunes in Dublin the following night. Fine by me. The gig was an education in rockbiz hierarchy; we got no sound check to speak of, because I didn't get the main desk, but a pissy little Allan & Heath 12-2 & a Binson Echorec, which should be 'echo wreck'. For all I know it bypassed the graphics to the main feed. The sound was mush but I knew the sound of U2 inside out by now, the songs were all the same song, all I had to do was stretch Bono's voice a bit, give it more throw like, which the Binson can do, if fuck-all else. The entire gig was running late, U2 on at sometime around 11, 23:00 like. Noise up & job done; that was the Big Time in one flat line. The Only Ones were another education, the precision & empathy of the band was just how a band should be, must be.
After the gig the fun started. Somehow during the day a gang had gathered around the band, various girlfriends & chaps, all with nice air hair lair accents, air lair lair being how one says oh hello ... they all had names like Josh & Richard, or Vanessa & Gillian, no sign of Sean or Imelda. I thought cool ... I was long interested in the West Brits, they had to be a bit less stupid than the Paddy populace, DeValera's Plain people of Ireland. I was a right romantic gobshite; I was made aware I was not one of us .. I was the useful nigger. This became clear beyond doubt after the gig, when everything was wrapped up, rolled up & packed. There was no seat home for me. But of course I didn't have to walk oh heavens we can't have that can we? .. I got the train fare & a drive to Cork station. I never got paid for my work so I could always keep the train fare & walk back to Dublin. First train Sunday morning was after 10:00 so I had a long sit. I got back to Dublin with enough time to grab a bite in The Coffee Inn, across the street from Gonagles, the gig venue.

Concerts at the Downtown Kampus are put on by the student union at University College Cork. The original couple of gigs at the Kampus were held in the college canteen, but this venue proved to be too small, so it was moved to the Arcadia Ballroom. The ballroom was a well known showband venue for many years. These concerts were organised by Elvera Butler, founder of Reekus Records in Ireland. 


03-06-1979 McGonagle's, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support Freebird
Admission, £0.75p

 

Advert from Hot Press

Set; includes Stories For Boys 

Freebird are: Nicky Campbell Vocals, Fran Kenny Lead Guitar/ Vocals, Bert Versey Guitar/Vocals, Terry McManus Bass, Dave McClelland Drums


07-06-1979 McGonagle's, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support Santa (David Id), Poo the Ventriloquist, The Blades
Admission, unknown

 

Photo by Patrick Brocklebank from the Project Arts Centre concert 18/09/1979.

Set; includes In Your Hand, Speed Of Life, Concentration Cramp, Another Time, Another Place.

U2 play the first of 4 Thursday gigs at McGonagle's titled "Christmas in June".

The Blades are; Paul Cleary (bass & vocal), Lawrence Cleary (guitar), Pat Larkin (drums).

Dave Fanning The Blades first 5 single's are the finest first 5 single's I have herd by any band.


10-06-1979 Airport Hotel, Crofton, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support, The Modulators
Admission, £2.00

Set; unknown

U2 are listed as the U2 Band in the local press for this concert.

Paul Bell " At this time my band "The Lookalikes" were playing a residency at the Crofton Hotel, playing to crowds of up too 1,200. Bono approached me too see if U2 could play the venue, we booked them in for four Sunday nights in June '79.

After the show, I spoke with Bono in the dressing room. I told him, you were great, you're gonna be huge. Bono "Really how big. Paul "Massive". Bono"Bigger than the Beatles?" Paul "Yes".
He (Bono) decided that U2 would cancel the rest of the dates as this was not the venue from them. Paul McGuinness had been against them playing the Crofton in the first place.

The Modulators are; Neil McCormick (vocal), Ivan McCormick (guitar), Johnny McCormack (drums), David Parks (bass).

Neil is now a rock critic for the Telegraph, Ivan attended the very first meeting of "Feedback"at Larry's house & was part of Feedback before their first gig at Mountemple School.


14-06-1979 McGonagle's, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support Santa, Poo the Ventriloquist, The Modulators
Admission, unknown

 

Advert from the Evening Press

Set; includes, In Your Hand, Speed of Life, Concentration Cramp, Another Time Another Place.

U2 play the second of 4 Thurday gigs at McGonagle's titled "Christmas in June".

The Modulators are; Neil McCormick (vocals), Ivan McCormick (guitar), John McGlue AKA Johnny Durex (bass), Paul Byrne (drums).

Larry Mullen sat in on drums for the Modulators very first gig supporting Rocky De Valera & The Gravediggers at the Howth Community Centre in September 1978. Neil McCormick is now working for the Daily Telegraph, I have used his book "I was Bono's Doppelganger" for many of the early U2 gigs.

Review by Karl Tsigdinos June 78 McGonagles Jingle Balls
The Level of confidence & maturity U2 have attained over the past year is quite remarkable.
Across two of their “Jingle Balls” nights at McGonagle’s, U2 ably demonstrated their cohesion as a band which has finally freed them of the sometimes distasteful self-consciousness that used to pervade their appearances.
The songs are tighter, the musicianship excellent, & the beautifully timed sets were propelled by the burgeoning spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll abandon which U2 are now injecting into their performance. Paul Hewson… uhh, sorry…. Bono now commands the stage with a unique presence, while Dave Evans… uhh, sorry… The Edge stamps character into nimble guitar playing.
Adam Clayton & Larry Mullens are now a creative rhythm force where they were once merely competent.
Together they can now make songs I’ve heard several times before… including some two Thursdays in a row… sound invigoratingly fresh. “In Your Hand”, “Speed Of Life”, “Concentration”, Another Time, Another Place”, the ingredients of a classic set that, when coupled with (variously) Christmas decorations, a “holiday snap” slide show, & an… uhh… evocative silhouette show between Bono & Dave’s sister.
Praise must also be meted out for U2’s choices of support acts the Blades (first Thursday) & the Modulators (the next).
With an incisive, well-honed brand of Pop/Rock redolent of the Beatles, Jam, Who & Elvis Costello amongst others, the Blades are very hot tip for the top. They, like the Modulators (who demonstrated more enthusiasm than polish on their ‘first’ gig), boast a very fine lead vocalist who will undoubtedly establish himself as a major local force.
There will only be one or two more Jingle Balls in McGonagle’s. I wholeheartedly recommend you haul your hams down there!


21-06-1979 McGonagle's, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support, Santa, Poo the Ventriloquist, The Citizens
Admission, £2.00

 

Bono & David Id with the Denis Rusk & Noel Kelleher (Strougers) backstage at McGonagles, picture supplied by Peter McCluskey

Set; unknown

The Citizens are;Emmett O'Reilly Bass & Vocals
Denis Rusk Guitar, Martin Greene Guitar, Sean D'Angelo Guitar, David Herlihy Drums

U2 play the third of 4 Thursday gigs at McGonagle's titled "Christmas in June".

Emmett O'Reilly We'd been given the  support slot because we'd helped out U2 by doing a support slot, at short notice, when they couldn't make it on time to an afternoon underage show in McG's. It was a Saturday afternoon when we stepped in to play. Our bassist played the gig during his lunch-hour, then had to go back to work. We only appeared cos Bono rang me from RTE earlier that day as they'd been filming there and it had over-run drastically. Quick thinking on his part, you'd have to admit.

Peter McCluskey (The Strougers)
"I remember at the end of each gig of that residency, Larry's dad, Larry Mullen senior, would come in and immediately start humping his son's drum hit into the boot of his estate car parked outside Mcgonagle's. the idea was to get Larry home as quick as possible to either do a bit of studying for his leaving cert or else get him into bed for a bit of kip so he could be up for school in the morning.....I tell ya - the edge was only brilliant then - a natural finish explorer flashing all over the stage - fantastic...."


28-06-1979 McGonagle's, Dublin
Attendance, unknown
Support Santa, Poo the Ventriloquist, The Citizens, Revolver
Admission, £2.00

Pictures taken by Peter McCluskey of The Strougers

Set; unknown

The Citizens are; Emmett O'Reilly Bass & Vocals, Denis Rusk Guitar, Martin Greene Guitar, Sean D'Angelo Guitar, David Herlihy Drums

Revolver are;Philip Byrne AKA Philip Barretta Vocals, Colm O'Kelly Guitar, Kevin Helly AKA Kevin Kolt Bass, Johnny Sullivan AKA Johnny Symbol Drums, Pat Hamilton Guitar

U2 play the last of 4 Thurday gigs at McGonagle's titled "Christmas in June".

Emmett O'Reilly "Was playing support to U2 in McGonagles one night when we were told Revolver had been added to the bill as some A&R men were at the gig. Then later, Paul McGuinness took me aside and told me that Revolver had asked to go on 2nd, as the A&R guys wouldn't be there in time to see them but that it was up to us, as we'd been booked weeks before. Knowing that we were gonna be offered a contract by Mother Records, I felt inclined to let them leapfrog us but when I consulted with the rest of the band they told me to tell Revolver to fuck off. Later, I was told Revolver had decided to break up that night".
Philip Byrne Yep I remember that. There was also one of those gigs that I went on stage and did a duet with Bono. Patrick Brocklebank has the pictures of this. Billy also played on that duet I think?? Although he may have been in The Radiators by that time? I had dyed my hair blonde by then LOL!
Review by Joe Breen Irish Times Away from the land of the skylab to the more mundane atmosphere of Dublin's McGonagles, where last Thursday, U2 played the final gig of their short residency there. I had not seen this promising young Dublin band for a while & I was impressed by their increased confidence & tighter playing. However, some of their material still needs more compact presentation & maybe a little less affection would strengthen their strong punchy songs.
Peter McCluskey (The Strougers)
"I remember at the end of each gig of that residency, Larry's dad, Larry Mullen senior, would come in and immediately start humping his son's drum hit into the boot of his estate car parked outside McGonagles. the idea was to get Larry home as quick as possible to either do a bit of studying for his leaving cert or else get him into bed for a bit of kip so he could be up for school in the morning.....I tell ya - the edge was only brilliant then - a natural finish explorer flashing all over the stage - fantastic...."


30-06-1979 Community Centre, Clondalkin
Attendance, unknown
Support to, Raw Deal, Free Booze, The Rage, D.C. Nien & DJ Pat James
Admission, £1.50

 

Set; unknown

A 10 hour rock festival.

Pat James was very influential in the early days of U2, watching them many times, including all their Dandelion Market concerts & playing their demo's on his radio show. Pat also gave U2 their first radio interview.

Poster supplied by Gerry Quigley of Raw Deal

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