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"U2 is not a punk band, but there's this kind of violence present in our music." — Bono



by Derek

I'm writing this 21 years after the event so my memory might be a bit hazy - but it's still a very special memory.

U2 were unbilled, and the story goes that they rang from a gig in the North East of England and asked to play at Greenbelt.

They turned up with just their guitars and were given a slot half way down the bill.

The other performers that evening were interesting: Cliff Richard was headline but he brought on stage Rick Parfitt of Status Quo to sing a medley of Everley Brothers songs! The bill also included John Pantry (now a Premier Radio presenter) who had been The Who's sound engineer in their early days.

U2 burst on stage in front of 20,000 Christians (possibly their biggest audience so far?) and launched into 11 O'clock Tick Tock. I was amazed - I'd heard a lot about this band of kids, but all my friends knew nothing. They went down a storm and although they were only given a 20 minute slot they were called back for an enchore (Fire) which was the single due out any day.

Bono was a great showman even then of course. He complained that the other artists he'd seen that evening were getting the applause, and cried "Let's have an ovation for the One who should get the glory, the reason why we're here." The crowd went wild...

He's recently returned to that theme, with his quotations from Psalm 116 in the opening of "Where The Streets Have No Name".

Me, I've been a fan ever since. If anyone has a recording of the Greenbelt show - let me know!

PS: I'm a vicar now and last year a member of my congregation (who I knew was a sound engineer) admitted that he was on main PA sound at Greenbelt that day. It's a small world...

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