I was there the night U2 were 'fecked off the stage'
I was amused to read in the Westmeath Examiner about the night U2 were allegedly ‘fecked off the stage’ in Mullingar - Bressie chatting with Adam Clayton. I was at that gig myself - which was indeed in 1978. Me and my friend Jack headed over from Horseleap to dig some crazy New Wave sounds in the gorgeous town of Mullingar.
It would be more accurate to say that the U2 band just didn’t go down that well on the night - but maybe that’s because they weren’t that good. They went out with a whimper rather than a bang, so to speak. No fights on the night.
They certainly put in a less than stellar performance - but then they weren’t yet stars. It is often a challenge getting a crowd to respond to original and hence unfamiliar material. This is still the case.
Of course Bono - being Bono - gave a little speech in the middle of the gig, asking the audience whether they wanted to hear their own original songs or just cover versions. We gave the musically correct answer to play their own stuff (even though it wasn’t that brilliant).
Give them a bit of encouragement and they might get good we were thinking. You could see they were struggling. For an encore they did Jumping Jack Flash, finally yielding to the craving for the familiar.
Didn’t I bump into Bono in the foyer of the jacks afterwards, and he changing from his stage clothes into his street clothes. I gave him a few words of encouragement and then we headed home to Horseleap. Y’see most pub bands wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of having special stage clothes. So I suppose they knew where they wanted to go - and they eventually got there. Our verdict at the time was that it would be a long time before them lads are as good as Thin Lizzy.
As it transpired they far exceeded Thin Lizzy in terms of rock’n’roll success, proving that the U2 band were no flash in the pan. So much so that Bono-bashing has now become something of a national pass time, if not an international one.
Alas, there a still several cynics knocking about who just don’t appreciate his poetry. What are you going to do? Boy George is reported to have said that if Bono still hasn’t found what he’s searching for maybe he should look behind the drum kit... Stories for boys or wha’!
Oh the halcyon days of yore, I remember them well (well, well enough)
Patrick Carton, Newtown, Horseleap, Moate, County Westmeath