1980-02-26 - Dublin, Ireland: The first of 40 brings us to U2's hometown where U2 performed in the early days before the release of Boy. After this show U2 signed their first contract with Island Records, marking this as the most significant show of U2's career to date. We have a great recording of this show which lets us here some of the unfinished songs that would soon appear on Boy. The show features some rare songs such as Silver Lining, Life On A Distant Planet and Cartoon World which didn't make it onto record until the release of the Boy remaster almost thirty years later. A fantastic look back in time.
1981-12-13 - Lido Beach, New York: Next we go to the October tour to U2's last American show of 1981. This show is still early on in U2's career and you can hear the incredible spirit and energy of the band, a trademark of U2 in the early eighties. The fact that this was the last American show of the year had the band in a bit of a party mood, something noticeable especially during an amazing performance of Rejoice. Playing a 16-song set in a small club demonstrated U2's talent in a show which was also broadcast on a local radio station. It is this great recording that we host on our show pages.
1982-12-06 - London, England: A year on from Lido Beach, U2 find themselves playing at the Hammersmith Palais in London (this time broadcast on radio by the BBC). Before U2's set, Bono makes an appearance during The Alarm's set for Knocking On Heaven's Door. The show features some outstanding performances of Surrender, I Threw A Brick Through A Window, An Cat Dubh, Fire, A Celebration and I Fall Down, the latter of which was dedicated to a U2 fan called Duncan who was ill and sadly passed away that same night. A stunning recording of an equally stunning show.
1983-06-05 - Denver, Colorado: U2's first live film was shot on 5 June 1983 in Denver, released as "U2 Live At Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky" and became one of the top selling concert videos ever. The location made perfect sense: Denver was one of the first American cities to embrace U2 in their early years, and the Red Rocks natural amphitheater gave a unique backdrop to the concert. For a long time it was uncertain whether the show would even take place as rain kept pouring down in the days leading up to the show. The show went ahead and the rain stopped moments before the show. From that point on U2 put in an incredible performance, rewarding those who queued for hours in the rain. It was the right show to film, as it was proof of the greatness of the band and their strong bond with their audience. This show had everything: an almost mythical setting, an amazing performance and all captured on one of U2's most memorable film and audio releases. A classical show vital to U2's career.
1983-07-03 - Werchter, Belgium: For the second year in a row U2 plays at the Werchter festival in Belgium as part of the summer festival leg of the War tour. This leg of the tour sees U2 playing to much larger audiences and highlights the adaptability of themselves and their music. The band have a great time during the show with a few great snippets and guests joining the band. Jim Kerr of Simple Minds joins during 11 O'Clock Tick Tock and Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics come on stage during the latter portion of 40. Bono's voice isn't at its best during the show but he more than makes up for it with his usual enthusiasm and passion.......a trick we will see repeated many times over the years.
1985-02-04 - Milan, Italy: U2's first show in Italy took place in Milan in 1985 and what a debut it proved to be. A more than enthusiastic Italian crowd (clapping, dancing and singing along for the entire show), a great performance by the band and some legendary versions of songs make this show a must-have and a great demonstration of U2's rise as a band during the Unforgettable Fire Tour. This show featured the best (and last) performance of Indian Summer Sky and amazing performances of Wire, The Unforgettable Fire, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Party Girl (with extended lyrics) and a 10+ minute version of 40. This show was the start of U2's passionate love affair with Italy.
1985-04-15 - East Rutherford, New Jersey: This show is all about Bad. The performance lasted for more than 16 minutes and included snippets of I'm Waiting For The Man, You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, Ruby Tuesday and Sympathy For The Devil. The show also had amazing performances of A Sort Of Homecoming and New Year's Day (which featured the seldom heard extra verse). Introducing Bad, Bono mentioned how U2 were frightened of playing large arenas like this one until they saw Bruce Springsteen playing by himself in Wembley Stadium. He notes how he was able to turn these large buildings into small intimate places. "We feel very much that that's what happened over the last tour and I hope you feel the same way. This is a song that.. often when you write songs, you think you write them about someone else but you're really writing about yourself. It's a song called Bad".
1985-07-13 - London, England: Reaching a combined television audience of 1.5 billion people in over 160 countries, U2's performance at Live Aid is one of their most exposed performances in their career. U2 opened their set with a spirited performance of Sunday Bloody Sunday, after which they start playing Bad. The plan was to close their mini-set with their hit single Pride (In The Name Of Love) but things played out differently as Bono worked the crowd, leaping from the stage to pluck girls from the front row and dancing with them. Adding snippet after snippet, Bad ends up lasting 15 minutes forcing U2 to end their set withot playing their biggest hit to date. While the band and in particular Bono felt confused and upset about their performance, it turned out that Bono's 'leap' really connected with the audience and viewers around the world. Following the show, U2's record sales treble in the months that follow and demand to see them live increases dramatically.
1987-04-29 - Rosemont, Illinois: Early in 1987, Time magazine headlined an article about U2 referring to the band as Rock's Hottest Ticket. This show in Rosemont, Illinois has become legendary under that name. With great performances of With Or Without You, Exit and Bad U2 demonstrates that they are indeed Rock's Hottest Ticket, superstars, and the biggest band of the decade This show is a classic and the recording is outstanding. The essential Joshua Tree Tour recording.
1987-11-07 - Denver, Colorado: U2 are back in Denver to film a show, only four years after Red Rocks. Footage from the two nights in Denver make up a major part of Rattle and Hum. Bono acknowledges Red Rocks during New Year's Day while putting on another amazing show where Spanish Eyes is considered being one of the highlights of the night. During the Joshua Tree tour U2 perform more of their b-sides and here we get to hear a new song called Silver and Gold. An energetic performance and audience coupled with this show being immortalised in the Rattle and Hum live film make this a legendary two nights.
1987-12-19 - Tempe, Arizona: Our first selection for part 2 and our final selection for the Joshua Tree tour is a show from Tempe, the city where the tour started. This is where U2 shot the colour section for Rattle and Hum, spread over two nights. Both nights are instant sell-outs as U2 lowered the price for admission to a mere 5 dollars. Fans from all over America travel to Arizona to witness two amazing shows. This first show features an amazing performance of Where The Streets Have No Name. Other highlights include With Or Without You, One Tree Hill and Mothers Of The Disappeared. Another important show and another moment where U2 peaked at the right moment and forever immortalised in the Rattle and Hum movie.
1989-12-30 - Dublin: At the end of 1989 U2 play four shows in Dublin, their first indoor gigs in Dublin since 1982 (and last until 2015). U2 wanted this to be a special occasion, playing their hometown at the start of a new decade in an indoor setting. All four shows were very special and considered to be among the best shows U2 has ever played. After two days off and without the tension of the first shows, U2 play an incredible show on the 30th of December which many regard as their best ever in Ireland. The show features the first performance of She's A Mystery To Me, the first of 11 O'Clock since 1987 and amazing performances of With Or Without You, Streets and All I Want Is You. Of historical significance, it is in this show which Bono makes the famous "dream it all up again" speech, which signalled the change in the band's musical direction that would ultimately lead to Achtung Baby and Zoo TV.