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"We were also annoyed at the word rock." — Bono, on coming up with the album title Pop

The Kids Are Alright

- January 31, 1982

by Neil McCormick

I was lost in the heart of a crowd, where recollections grow wild with fancy. Caught in a ... landslide, a light show, a movement, a positive noise, a yee-haw, a whoopee cushion of gigantic proportions, and ...

Hello! Hello!

... a homecoming.

This was more than a gig, but it wasn't a party. It was the mutual celebration of an audience and a group. It was tribal in the way much rock can be but it had something more, a sense of community, which sent surges of anticipation and excitement through those present even before the group went on stage.

Four thousand people welcoming home U-2, four thousand and most of them younger than me (I'm only 20!). U-2 now belong to them, or rather with them. Because not only are they the only major Southern Irish success story since the Boomtown Rats, they are young. Young in the sense of being much the same age as their audience: they are our contemporaries, and more, still more, this youth is at the core of their identity; they take it and build it to epic proportions. It's not a matter of understanding their audience, there is no great insight involved here; it is that they are part of their audience, by birth, by sensibility, by commitment.

And so I can say this was a special occasion, but what more can I say? They were loud. They flash with a rock edge that has a rare beauty for these days. Bono breathes life, care, and compassion in his exuberance, the Edge fills even a venue of these difficult proportions with the sound of guitar explorations. Adam makes mistakes and poses rock-awkwardly (but we forgive him for that). Larry is Larry and the light show is big and professional ... but the spirit of the occasion went beyond all that.
zl"AIn some ways it was not so different from certain gigs in the past where we watched them grow (Resurrection hello), while in other ways it was sadly far removed from the intimate excitement of small gigs.

That's obvious, but U-2 have embraced their growth and their growing audience far more easily than most. With a shout. Shout it out.

Hello. Hello.


© 1982 Hot Press. All Rights Reserved.

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