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U2 Lists: My Top 8 Adam I+E Tour T-shirts
August 19, 2016
[Ed. note: This is the 69th in a "U2 Lists" series, where @U2 staffers pick a topic and share their personal rankings on something U2-related.]
I love all the members of U2 but Adam holds a special place in my heart. He’s automatically cool just by virtue of playing the bass. His guitar-playing stance, his light-up-the-room smile, his love of art and his willingness to wear a bathrobe in public -- and still look like that’s how everyone should be dressed -- are just a few factors that endear him to me.
The Innocence + Experience tour theme provided the perfect backdrop for U2 to pay homage to numerous artists that influenced them, especially in their youth: Joy Division, The Clash, Thin Lizzy, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Bob Marley, The Ramones and so many more. The bands were all part of the exciting music scene that was emerging in the U.K. and Dublin in the 1970s and ‘80s and fans worldwide devoured their music and adopted their rebellious attitudes.
Great music from those bands became an important part of our concert experience last year. I was raised on music by these artists and hearing it during the preshow helped get me in the groove for U2’s walk down memory lane. It seemed only fitting that Adam’s T-shirts followed suit.
It was a game on the Innocence + Experience tour for fans to identify his shirts every night and give them shout-outs on Twitter and Periscope. For me, this made the tour even more fun, even if I wasn’t at the shows.
In honor of Adam, here is my lighthearted list of favorite T-shirts he wore on tour last year.
1. The Clash
I still love the Clash and their punk rock sound. Joe Strummer’s distinctive voice grabbed my attention the first time I heard him. I played their albums nonstop for months at a time and watched their videos on MTV every chance I could. “Rock the Casbah” was a club staple. “Guns of Brixton,” with a fantastic bass groove, is on my favorite Clash album, London Calling. “The Magnificent Seven” and “London Calling” remain on my playlist today. I was five feet away from Adam (swoon) at the AtU2 20th anniversary party in New York City last year and he wore this shirt. (photo by Justin Kent)
2. The Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols defined punk rock as it emerged in the mid-late 1970s. I was in middle school and remember Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious and their over-the-top angry, defiant behavior. I was intrigued by their hard-core approach to punk, in part because I was a pretty sheltered kid raised in the American suburbs and in part because I loved the controversy they created. (photo by Justin Kent)
3. The Radiators
The Radiators were popular in Dublin and U.K. and received critical acclaim for “Million Dollar Hero.” Their jazzy punk sound is fun, and I only became familiar with them in the past five years. Steve Averill, the man who famously named U2 and designed most of their album covers, was a member of the Radiators. (photo by Mike Kurman)
4. Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy is another band I grew up listening to. They are a classic and amazing Irish rock band that U2 opened up for early in their career at a Slane Castle gig. I like the nod Adam gave them at the first Dublin show with this tee. (photo by Justin Kent)
5. Stiff Little Fingers
I didn’t listen to a lot of Stiff Little Fingers music back in the 1970s and ‘80s, and I lost track of them after college. They were part of the punk landscape that defined my musical tastes growing up. I am happy to see their song “Alternate Belfast” made an appearance on the Innocence + Experience DVD; it is a fitting song choice for the show. (photo by Justin Kent)
6. Joy Division
I am not a huge Joy Division fan, but I respect the band’s role in the punk music scene. I love the graphic on the shirt, which depicts stacked radio pulsars that look like alien mountains. The graphic is from the cover of Joy Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures. Adam wore the shirt with both white and black backgrounds. I looked into the history of this illustration and it’s pretty cool. I found this article that explains it in detail. (photo by Theron LaBounty)
7. The Virgin Prunes
Where would U2 be without the Virgin Prunes? The legendary story of how childhood friends Bono, Guggi and Gavin Friday formed Lypton Village as a way to escape the dark and depressing violent Irish landscape is well-known. Guggi, Gavin, Edge’s older brother Dik Evans, Dave-id (David Watson) Strongman (Trevor Rowan) and Pod (Anthony Murphy) formed the Virgin Prunes at the same time U2 started. The two bands shared gigs in the early days and the close friendships remain. (photo by Justin Kent)
8. Abs Alone
And, last but not least, there was that one time he didn’t wear a shirt and we got to see amazing abs! Who knew?
For a more in-depth, serious review of the bands behind preshow music and how they influenced U2, Sherry Lawrence wrote the article "Stories for Boys."
(c) @U2/Myers, 2016