Currently viewing the tag: "U2"

In 1980 I was working with U2, I’d been taking them in and out of radio stations prior to the release of their first single, ‘11 o’ clock tick tock’ and trying to get them in for interviews wherever I could. They had released three singles in the six months from May to October that year and we had been working relentlessly driving up and down the motorways to talk to whoever would have us. And then more of the same upfront of the release of their debut album, ‘Boy.’

You hoped all the hard work would pay off and that opportunities would come your way, you’d take some risks, take a chance on something. It might all go pear shaped but you’d never knew unless you gave it a try, it’s the reason you try it in the first place. If you believe it enough you won’t need convincing and you won’t need to convince others.

November that year was incredible. There were a few of us at Island Records who believed in the band and we were all convinced they could be huge. Rob and Neil in the press department had done an unbelievable job getting journalists along to see them play and were starting to get some really good feedback. All their efforts culminated in an NME (New Musical Express) front cover at the start of the year. I’ve rarely seen a band work so hard at cracking the UK. The previous December they had done, I think six London shows in ten days

At that time there had still been no significant breakthrough with any national radio or television exposure and we all knew we would struggle to survive on press alone. It was a catch 22 situation, in order to maintain the great press coverage they (the press) would need to see others pick up on the band; and to get radio and television interested you needed the press. We were at the crossroads, something needed to give. We needed to get that break otherwise it would be impossible to keep the momentum going.

I received some amazing news. Tony Hale the Radio One producer who was based in Manchester, and therefore a contact of mine loved the band. Were they available to record a session for the Peter Powell show? WERE THEY AVAILABLE? Too right they were available! Around the same time, maybe a week or so sooner I got confirmation that Granada TV’s network kids show ‘Get it together’ wanted to book them. I couldn’t believe my luck, all my Christmas’s had come at once. I say luck but in all honesty I had been working hard on the band for most of the year, we all had and genuinely felt we deserved this break. This was the most significant result we’d had up until now from national radio and TV in the UK. Now we were really starting to get others to believe in them. At this point we were starting to think, just maybe…..

Well it looks like I got my daughter’s birth date wrong but I got all confused with my dates in the previous bog. I do know Jessica was born on 9th August 1982 so that makes the Gateshead, U2 and The Police gig the end of July and 82 not 83. That year, 1982 from that show through to Redrocks on 5th June 1983 was a crucial year for the band. They’d just started to make an impact in the States and Redrocks turned that right around for them. MTV and their new channel Showtime showed Redrocks in it’s entirety instead of a clip as was originally intended and it kick started things from there on.They also did the Midsummer nights Tube a couple of weeks after Gateshead as well as a prior Tube performance in the March.

That’s all incidental, I was talking about daughters and births so to finally repair any damage meant that me and Marie were following the band out on the October tour ..we did the same on the War tour but for the purposes of being factually correct and in the context of the blog….October. I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t started….I must check dates before I start to write.

What I do remember about the gig was that it was far from sold out which was weird because for Sting it was a bit of a homecoming, The Police had been out on the road for years and this was supposed to be a celebration. I also recollect The Beat, Lords of the New Church and Gang of Four being on the bill. The Gang of Four were really good that day and U2 were great…but I do confess to a bit of bias. I have some brilliant photos which I’ll get round to posting, Bono being passed around the crowd above their heads and Adam’s famous haircut…certainly not top of any bill !

Bono saw every opportunity from day one to connect with a crowd, to make them pay attention and for hem to watch everything he was doing. He was a great front man and what he lacked in singing ability back then was more than compensated for by his charismatic stage presence. Their tour manager Dennis Sheehan hadn’t started to work for them then and they had an old school friend called Tim taking care of that function. There were two guys I remember, Tim and a guy called Pod, no his initial wasn’t I. Bono used to climb the PA and wave the white flag and it was impossible to stop him. Time and time again his manager as well as the rest of the band would tell him to stop it, he could fall……..and time and time again he agreed but when show time came he just went off and did it all over again. That day the PA stack was particularly high and Bono was up on the scaffolding and shinning his way along to the top of the columns. Never mind anyone else, I was shitting it ……it looked very precarious.

Away again I drifted in to U2 live stories which should give me more than a good excuse to remember those brilliant times we had back at The Edge…………that being the name I awarded to the family home. It seemed appropriate for the time. I remember once doing an interview somewhere and someone asked me why did I call my house The Edge……’Well Bono is a pretty stupid name for a house’ I replied.

Tales from The Edge about me , Radcliffe and a bunch of notable suspects will be forthcoming.

 

I don’t miss going to gigs. I spent most of my life there for the best part of 25 years either with bands I was working with or choosing to go and see others in the time I had off. And looking back I saw pretty much everyone I wanted to.

Now here’s the difference…………..I actually saw them, I wasn’t just there. Today you can re mortgage your house and get yourself a ticket somewhere up in the Gods to ‘see’ a band. It’s not the same, something is happening on stage and to prove you haven’t been ripped off they’ll show the performance on a couple of screens in the arena and you can then see it’s the show you paid to see.

I feel very lucky though that everyone who ever meant anything to me I’d seen in a concert hall of less than two thousand. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, The Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen…the list goes ever on. I saw Bruce earlier this year courtesy of my ex who very kindly bought me a ticket to the Tampa show. A huge amount of money to be seated up several tiers and I couldn’t help been taken back to the Manchester show when he was touring around ‘The River.’ I’d bought the best part of the two front rows of the circle and re sold them to my friends at Granada TV…I knew the ticket agency so I got them to reserve some seats and it just grew and grew and grew!

Needless to say the show was incredible but what made it so good was you could see the energy close up, the sweat on his brow, the facial expressions , the interaction with his band, you could see it all. Sound and vision all rolled in to one…..it felt like he was there performing just for you. Bruce isn’t the only one who misses those days, he’ll still turn up and jam at a small venue with someone he likes, he needs the buzz he gets from seeing the whites of people’s eyes. His show has been tailored for arenas for a couple of decades now because he has become so huge but as used to it as he has become I bet he yearns back to that golden era when performances were so much more intimate. It was so personal.

With bands like REM, U2 it was even better as I watched them grow up playing clubs and performing to a handful of people. While the price of success means a greater demand for more people who want to see you, I can’t help but wonder that for so many concert goers today it’s all they have….stadia tours seem to be the norm.

In 1980 I was working with U2, I’d been taking them in and out of radio stations prior to the release of their first single, ‘11 o’ clock tick tock’ and trying to get them in for interviews wherever I could. They released 3 singles in the six months from May to October and we had been working relentlessly driving up and down the motorways to talk to whoever would have us….and then more of the same upfront of the release of their debut album, ‘Boy.’

You hoped all the hard work would pay off and that opportunities would come your way, you’d take some risks, take a chance on something…..it might go pear shaped but you’d never know if you didn’t give it a go…… It’s the reason you try it in the first place.

If you believe it enough you won’t need convincing and you won’t need to convince others.

November that year was incredible. There were a few of us at Island Records who believed in the band and we were all convinced they could be huge. Rob and Neil in the press department had done an unbelievable job getting journalists along to see them play and were starting to get some really good feedback. All their efforts culminated in an NME (New Musical Express) front cover at the start of the year.

At that time there had still been no significant breakthrough with any national radio or television exposure and we all knew we would struggle to survive on press alone. In order to maintain the great press coverage they (the press) would need to see others pick up on the band……… and to get radio and television interested you needed the press, it was catch 22. We were at the crossroads, something needed to give. We needed to get that break otherwise it would be impossible to keep the momentum going.

I received some amazing news. Tony Hale the Radio One producer who was based in Manchester and therefore a contact of mine, loved the band. Were they available to record a session for the Peter Powell show? WERE THEY AVAILABLE……Damn right they were available! Around the same time, maybe a week or so sooner I got confirmation that Granada TV’s network kids show ‘Get it together’ wanted to book them. I couldn’t believe my luck….all my Christmas’s had come at once. I say luck but in all honesty I had been working hard on the band for most of the year, we all had and felt we deserved this break. This was the most significant result we’d had up until now from national radio and TV in the UK……..now we were really starting to get others to believe in them. At this point we were starting to think, just maybe…..

 

We’ll have to see but a change is gonna come, of that I am sure.Touring cannot go on at this level.

The few that care are more scarce than ever and Bruce and U2 must hope that when they take their new record to the masses and hit thecannot go on at this level. road they will come out and see them play,but again at what price?

Can they and they afford to? Again a stark reality, who has the money. Will ticket prices come down? I think they have to, I don’t think we the public can support a huge production take to the road in the way it did. Touring through the 80’s and significantly in the 90’s and up to the present has become like a circus coming to town, the sheer scale of the behemoth. The Eagles just came to Tampa and the top ticket price was $188. That’s a lot of money to find presuming you want to know the person you are sat next to. We’re looking at $500 for a night out if you stretch it beyond the 2 hour show and include a beer or two, not even enough for a bite to eat if you’re considering buying a programme. You have to wonder how the acts are thinking, will the shows be downsized, will the production suffer. How can they take the army of people out on the road that they are used to. What’s going to give, while I doubt it they will be expected to cart their own gear in to arenas will they be staying in cheaper hotels, traveling to the next shows in a sleeper bus. And then maybe not the bells and whistle buses of old.

We’ll have to see but a change is gonna come, of that I am sure.Touring cannot go on at this level.