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"It's very hip to knock America and it really bugs me." — Bono

SF Weekly reviews U2 in San Francisco

- October 31, 1987

by SF Weekly staff

Just when San Francisco was beginning to seem boring, on the downhill slide, not as good as it used to be, just then an Irish band called U2 hits town to teach us that none of that stuff is true.

In a few short hours Wednesday Bill Graham's organization turned Embarcadero Center's Justin Herman Plaza into a big concrete wah-wah pedal. About 20,000 people crammed into the space, approximately 6,000 wearing yellow or red neckties. U2's lead singer Bono, called it a "save-the-yuppies concert." What a concert. The yuppies are safe - from their material selves, I hope.

This guy Bono is a true star, with the gift of intelligent outrage at injustice. He's John Lennon without the trouble. He introduced "Helter Skelter" by saying, "This is a song Charlie Manson stole from the Beatles, and we stole it back." That line tells a lot about U2.

One of the high moments of San Francisco rock history was Bono climbing on top of that horrendous pile of square sewer pipes passing as a fountain, and improving the thing by spraying it with graffiti. I asked Roger Clark of the Graham organization about the defacing of the fountain and he said, "Bono is going to do community service in your neighborhood." Actually, the Graham gang had sandblasters at the ready. After all, U2 is an acceptably subversive group.

In case you thought the show was completely uncommercial, Bill Graham Presents was telling us that tickets are still available for U2's weekend concerts at the Oakland Coliseum.

ITEM: Monday U2 went to ACT to see Sam Shepard's "A Lie of the Mind." A bomb threat was called in, and the audience, including U2, had to file out and wait until the police searched the theater. Anything I said about the IRA would not be funnyÉNon-item: Yes, socially conscious U2 is staying at the ritzy new Portman Hotel, which is on land owned by the discriminatory Olympic Club, and which is being picketed by the Operating Engineers. But big deal. It's only an informational picket line, and of the pickets said they didn't have anything against U2, who don't book their own hotels, anyway. Besides, U2 arrived in a van, not a limousine.


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