- 30 Jun 21
Ahead of Paul Casey's 'Back To The Future'-inspired ‘Wide Open Road’ video premiere this Saturday, July 3rd, Hot Press are taking a look back at 1985.
This week is all about the year 1985 here at Hot Press. Ahead of Saturday's video premiere for Paul Casey's new single 'Wide Open Road', we'll be revisiting one of our finest '80s archive moments every day this week - starting yesterday with Bruce Springsteen at Slane. Today, we're taking you back to June 1985 with Liam Mackey's classic 1985 interview with U2 right ahead of their first ever gig in Croke Park.
Check it out below.
They complement each other well do Adam Clayton and Bono, respectively the bass player and singer with that promising Dublin beat combo called U2.
Bono remains a charismatic individual, by turns passionate, funny, intense, confused, unpredictable - and always garrulous. Like most people, you might say - only more so. In conversation he's prone to leaping before he looks and is given to, on occasion, pulling some extraordinary - even embarrassing - analogy out of the hat. In the course of this interview he went even further and pulled down his trousers, revealing much to his (deliberately over-stated) shame, Calvin Klein underpants!
Bono, to understate it, is one of the few people in rock who can take the routine out of interviewing. Personally I'll always have plenty of time for him, though rarely enough tape.
By contrast, Adam Clayton exudes self-control, his contributions to the conversation being at all times considered, and concise. His, dare I say it, is a more sober, voice than Bono's. Whereas the singer often verbalises what he's thinking as he's thinking it - damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead, as it were - Adam patiently bidds his time, and when the moment is right, makes his point with the minimum of fuss and no melodramatics.
All of which might seem to confound Adam's public image as the band's rock 'n' roller - or at least that would have been the perception of him 'round about the time of U2's first American tour.
"I was certainly out to enjoy what was on offer in that period," he says smiling. "Rock 'n' roll is such a legendary thing and to be a part of that is a great adrenalin boost. Certainly every time we hit a city, I wanted to go and hang out in the clubs and absorb America and those sort of rock 'n' roll things. And I had some great times. You know, you'd meet people and they'd say "do you want to go to a party?" and it was great because it was, like escaping from the tour. I mean we had been on that bloody, bus for three months travelling all over America. You'd meet people and they'd invite you back to a house and it would just be a bunch of teenagers having a good time drinking beer and hollerin'. And it was great for me, and indeed for all the band - we had been working since we were 16 and we never had any money so we kind of missed out on that area of our youth. That sort of "bring your own" job, and settle in the corner with a six-pack. So it was great to get back to that and be in America, in a different place."
But as U2's star rose within the business - with all the attendant pressures and temptations that entails - did you ever feel you were pushing the socialising too much? "I thought that I was kind of pushing it a bit, not with any kind of death wish but I thought, you know. 11 can I stay in there with the best of them and be a part of that?" Ultimately what happened was I became bored with it, because it is a fairly trivial world and I got it out of my system. I still have the odd night on the town, as everyone does but it's not a 24 hour, 7 day a week job."
One night on the town in Dublin, last year, saw the bass player end up on the front pages of the evening papers after an altercation with a guard - but I'd yet to hear him tell his side of the story.
"Ah, I'm not sure if my side needs to be stated really," he grins. "I think probably everyone knows the hyperbole of newspapers and that's all that really needs to be said. You know. it was a great headline but I wouldn't take too much notice."
The concert Irish fans will see in Croke Park will be very different to U2's last outing in Dublin, two years ago in the Phoenix Park. That show was the culmination of the "War" tour which tour, Bono now says, went over the top.
"Yeah, it went over the top, over the wall, very badly offside, ran across a few fields, did a real obstacle course and nearly drowned in a river (laughs). I think I know that I have to accept responsibility for the drowning. I mean, I single-handedly nearly pulled the band under with me, because I was drowning."
Is that something you'd agree with Adam?
"I wouldn't be as harsh as Bono is. I think it was very much a case of getting into that twilight environment that you can get into, where you have been running down a tunnel for a very long time and your senses and reference points do change. That's what happened on that tour and after it, we needed a long time to recover before we could actually evaluate what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go."
The Unforgettable Fire album signposted the new direction on record but in transferring it to stage, the band experienced teething problems, especially on the early shows in Australia.
"The whole feel of the stage set and stage show had to incorporate The Unforgettable Fire, Adam recalls. "You know the "War" tour was very up and aggressive and loaded with ballads and a bit like a football crowd thing and you play up to that sort of approach. On "The Unforgettable Fire" tour we were trying to tone down the more sort of "oi" aspects of what we'd been doing (laughs). In a funny way, there was a time warp because the audiences that were coming had all seen "Under A Blood Red Sky", so there was some confusion I suppose in the crowd, as well as our confusion."
Their immediate instincts were to retreat from the theatricality of the "War" tour, to the point where Bono says, "our feet were nailed to the ground and the focus was interior as opposed to exterior. That was a great discipline, especially for me."
However as the tour moved on to Europe, the band realised they were in danger of simply switching formulae. "We had to throw it out," says Bono, "so things became very loose and it's got to the stage now where nobody knows exactly what is going to happen on stage. It's got a bit on edge again.
" "The Unforgettable Fire" enabled us to get away from our live reputation in a way. We were able to say, look, we are making a record - it isn't a live show, it's music and it should be listened to. It is not something that should be watched. And that, in a way, is how the tour has settled in - in that the powerful moments of the set, are the musically powerful moments, as opposed to whatever is happening visually. The emphasis has moved away from the stage personalities. It has become unified."
Adam encapsulates it thus: "The personality of the music, again, is the thing. We keep repeating that the music is much more important than the musician. Maybe in the "War" tour it was the other way 'round".
After that Phoenix Park concert of two years ago, Bono came off-stage and in the company of Bill Graham, pondered what had just happened. Triumphant as the show had been, he seemed to be concerned that had U2 merely appeared on stage, they would have received a tumultuous response, as a matter of course. When I remind him of it, the singer is anxious to clarify what he meant. "When I said that, I didn't say it in a way that suggested we have an unthinking audience. What I was saying was that the occasion was bigger than us. It was much bigger than the group U2 and the people were applauding themselves on stage. I am coming to terms with this much more now. When there are 30,000 or 40,000 people or 50,000 people in a field or a car park or whatever, the sound system, however powerful, is incapable really of getting across your music so that the music people hear are the records they have at home. This is what they hear and those songs on those records are sound tracks to whatever they have been doing over the years, when they listened to that record. And they read their own life into the music, as I read my own life into other people's music. They are applauding themselves up on that stage. We are just... I am humbled and honoured to be a part of that process but I am only a part of it."
A perceptive analysis - but could it contain the seeds of its own destruction? If the live performance is, for some of the audience, simply the records they hear at home, then is anything new happening at all? It was probably because of an awareness of the dangers of over familiarity that Bob Dylan, for one, chose to constantly re-invent his material in concert to the point where his shows, at their best, handed out a direct challenge to the audience. Adam: "I'm not sure that's valid nowadays. You see I think the climate is very different. People out there have actually spent their money on a ticket that they cannot afford and I don't think that they want to be educated. I think they actually want to have what they think they are buying, which is a couple of hours to get away from all the bullshit of how things are and how they had to save the money up in the first place. I think they just want a release."
Bono seizes on the word "release". "That's it. The thing even about that fight and Barry McGuigan's homecoming, is that all those people that lined the streets were not going to get the chance to have an in-depth conversation with the fighter. But everyone of them was in the ring and everytime he got a blow to the head they all got a blow to the head, and when he knocked that guy over, for everyone at home all over this depressed country, there was a release. And at that moment everyone stood up, husbands and wives and kids and others and there was something there, something was happening."
But if the concert is a release for the audience - for whom it might be a one-off experience - can it possibly also be a release for the band who've been touring for so long?
"Your body gets addicted to the adrenalin, "says Adam. "Adrenalin - we are all addicted to it!" Bono agrees.
"You know the bigger and the better the performance, the worse we are the next day because I can't sleep after them, especially these out-door things. I can't sleep after them not for hours and hours and the only choice is to down a whole bottle of wine and this wears off after a while. And anyway, if you do that every night of the week - you'll wind up looking like him! " (points to Adam amid gales of laughter).
Order restored, Bono continues. "It came to me on stage the other week, month, year, that this was the most familiar part of my life, this walking out on the carpet that covers our stage was much more familiar than the carpet in my front room - if I had a carpet in my front room! They say home is where the heart is but I think home is where the carpet is! Home is made up of familiar things, and I do not have a home. Home for me is Edge's keyboards; the amp box means a lot more to me than any light-stand or coloured television. You say that's touring but when I walk on stage it is like going home. It is actually like going home. The rest is work."
Eloquently stated, but playing devil's advocate one could argue that home-life often equals routine. Do U2 have to combat the gig as routine?
Adam: "The only time it happens is when you are doing multiple dates in the same venue and then it is really difficult to walk back on that stage because it's almost like a residency in the Baggot Inn. But what you have to remember is that the audiences are different and you are not just up there doing it for them, you are up there because you need to do it as well. Because you have spent the whole day running around being interviewed or talking to people and that is your moment of peace and quiet. That is when nobody can talk to you. You have escaped once you get up there and if you come off stage not having done a good show, then the rest of the night is not yours, you don't feel good about it at all. So you have to be able to motivate yourself, you have to play the show of your life, up to that point."
The conversation turns to the current Irish music scene. U2's emergence as a force on the home front - apart all together from their later international breakthrough - was characterised by determination and imagination, as well as talent. In their shadow, a handful of bands look like they too could make giant strides, but many more have fallen by the wayside. Bono acknowledges the difficulties.
"I do sympathise with people who haven't got amplifiers, who haven't got gear, who haven't got rehearsal places. It’s enough to make you want to tear your hair out, but I want to hear the song called "Tear Your Hair Out." It's not about musicians' ability, it's about sitting down and saying something that nobody else has said before. The other thing is this. I've learned spiritually, if you like, that the very things you need in your life are around you, at your feet but you don't see them. I didn't see them. I didn't know I was Irish till I left Ireland, I didn't realise that what was unique about U2 was us. I was looking here, there and everywhere, and never looked under our feet, at the fact that we come from Dublin city - from Ireland - that there's a feeling here and you've got to feel that. Maybe it's rude and ignorant to talk about it especially as there are other people here, and I know them, who are living in bedsits where they haven't got the electricity to put on the radio and listen to Fanning to hear their demo tape being played."
On the subject of wealth, Bono looks back at U2's early days as a period of richness - even though they didn't have much brass in pocket. "We were rich because of the friends we had, we were rich because we laughed at everyone and we laughed at each other. There was wealth in that laughter, a real wealth."
Eight years on, the band are experiencing another kind of wealth - the fiscal kind.
Bono: "We are making money for the first time this year - we are - but rock 'n' roll is not the goose that laid the golden egg. When we were on Top Of The Pops even for the second time we had to get the bus home. Because any money we had went into the band. And I'll tell you this, nobody would agree to the hours for the money, I mean no union would put up with it- for £30 a week."
But that was then and now U2 are making money.
Adam: "It's given us an opportunity to actually do some of the things that we've always wanted to do. Like, build up a base here in terms of music. I was talking to Kieran Owens recently and he was saying "what you guys have done has been to give home-based Irish music some faith and confidence" and that's something that we want to keep developing and keep putting money into. I mean we're not gonna go around giving everyone £20,000 to make records or something because that's not the best way to use it. But I think it has given us the opportunity to be able to give something back to the community."
Bono: "It's like a footballer's income: the money you get is unbelievable really, it's such a lie that rock 'n' rollers live. I just think there must be very few people in the music business, in terms of artists, with money in the bank. Because they have it for a few years and it's gone then, and they have to live on it for the rest of their lives kind of thing. It's well out of proportion, the whole money thing. I think it would again be rude and ignorant, to say money isn't important to me because money is so important to a lot of people because they don't have it and I know I have it and I'm lucky and I thank God that I have money and I thank God that I can buy my old man a present or whatever.
"I mean we all have our personal philosophies, which would be very wrong to get into, about income. I'll tell you one thing: we could be a lot wealthier if we chose to be. That's in terms of decisions we have made over the years even as to what record company we have gone to, or in terms of the money in your hand and what to do with it and that is a dilemma each man must go through in the group himself."
At this point, it might be worth stating that enough of U2's private life is already public - not everything they do or say can be for the record. Let's talk about the music ...
I'd like to talk more about the music," Bono says, "I think because of the nature of the group U2, people tend to talk around the group and about the group rather than the music in the group."
He has a point - and one which applies not only to U2. Perhaps it's something to do with the changing nature - some would say degeneration - of rock criticism. In its supposed Golden Era of the late sixties and early seventies, rock criticism at least attempted to get inside the music and come out with some kind of revelation. Often it took the music, and itself too seriously and wound up courting pretension and looking plain silly, but, in general, there was a sense of interest, involvement and most importantly concern on the part of the critics, which seems to have largely disappeared.
In contrast, in 1985, supposedly informed debate about rock 'n' roll is too often less concerned with the music itself than it is with The Phenomenon, The Trend - in general, the cosmetic trappings of the thing. So getting away from that, let's hear you two talk about the music of this band U2.
Adam: "I think "War" was very much the odd man out in the albums. "The Unforgettable Fire" harks back in some aspects to the innocence of "Boy" and the atmospherics of "October". I think that's its heritage, that's where we're coming from and "Under A Blood Red Sky" and "War" are pretty much partners in crime."
"Tapestry" is a word Adam and Bono use a lot when talking about "October" and "The Unforgettable Fire". But while there may be a lineage between the two, few would dispute that it was the latter album which really broke the back of the familiar U2 sound. Their risk taking on "The Unforgettable Fire" was not however without its pitfalls. "Elvis Presley And America", oblique to the point of incomprehensibility, is one track I couldn't - and still haven't - come to grips with.
Bono: "Dave Marsh, the Rolling Stone critic and biographer of Bruce Springsteen and The Who, really believes in U2 and "Elvis Presley And America" was enough to make him want to smash his record player. Elvis Presley and America, two of the things he cared about more than anything else in the world and it made him so mad, he wrote off our record in absolute anger.
"I always enjoy the company of angry men and I met him six months later and he had been listening to "The Unforgettable Fire" every day, not because he put it on but because his 16 year old daughter had been putting it on. And it was no problem to her - she explained to him about "Elvis Presley And America".
"It was partly a reaction to the Albert Goldman book which tried to portray him as the archetypal r'n'r idiot, but the way he held the mike, the way he sang into the mike - this was a genius. But his decline just tore at me and when I picked up the mike, it was a completely off the wall thing and I just began to sing.
"And I think it does evoke that decline, the stupor, the period when - if you've seen the clips of him - he forgets his words and fumbles."
At first Bono didn't want to release the track. Normally, because of the way he works, he would have developed and structured the original idea but both Eno and The Edge persuaded him to put it out, as raw as it was. In hindsight Bono agrees that it was the right thing to do, because he believes it allowed people a glimpse of 'the original spark" of a U2 song.
For different reasons, primarily personal, Bono was also hesitant about releasing "Promenade" but this listener is glad he changed his mind. It's a favourite of Adam Clayton's too as is "Indian Summer Sky" - unusual for U2 in that it has a lot of textures", he says - which epitomises the expansive, liberating quality of much of the music on "The Unforgettable Fire".
Bono: "That album was, in many ways. a contrast between bricks and mortar and music with the sky over its head.
... Indian Summer Sky" was actually written in New York City and it had a sense of wanting to break through a city to an open place. Most of it was cinematic and very fast - I'm getting away from that now, so I can talk about it."
The "Indian" in the title is a reference to the native American people, who were systematically wiped out during the nineteenth century.
Bono: "A lot of cities in America are built on civilisations long since buried by the American. A friend of mine, a wise man I know, spent a lot of time within the city - it was Toronto, so cool and so shiny - and he felt extremely troubled and torn in two. There had been a lot of massacres of Red Indian people in that area and he felt in some way as if there were troubled spirits still there. What I was trying to get across was a sense of a spirit trapped in a concrete jungle - something like that. Again these are just glimpses, these songs. A lot of the subject matter is very impressionistic."
Adam Clayton is Bono's sounding board in studio. "He sits in on all the singing," the latter explains. "He's the only one usually, because he knows when I'm there and when I'm not there."
Adam: "Lyrical comprehension has never been particularly important to me. I go with my instincts and if Bono is singing and it doesn't sound right, then I'll consult him about it and say, "What exactly is going on - I can't figure this one out," But if the whole thing fits as an image, I don't listen to what he's singing. I listen to what I'm hearing in my head which is something completely different.
"I find that it's only after six months of touring it and listening to the record, that the songs start to get onto a different plane and speak to you and guide you in a funny way ... I mean, you're getting a bit into Zen here (laughter), but it's like doing interviews, you're talking to people with different opinions in Europe or America or wherever and it's then you get into the inner truths of the song, which is not something Bono intended originally. His instincts were the same as everybody else's but gradually the sand and debris is swept away and the core is revealed."
Here again, U2 find themselves at a point of departure. Bono has been thinking about his approach to writing, and has come up with the conclusion that he hasn't started to "songwrite" yet.
"I have never tried to write this thing called a song that's played on radios all around the world," he elaborates, "that window cleaners hum, that people listen to in traffic jams. I never was interested in song: U2 came about through a sound. Now I want to write a few songs. Most of the writing I've done - five years of it - has been more prose than song. I feel I must begin to come to terms with being a songwriter and actually start communicating on the first level as well as just on the third level. Springsteen is an expert at communicating on the first level."
Bono will concede that U2 have "a few songs" like "Pride" or "Sunday Bloody Sunday". But it's only now, he says, "for the first time in the history of the group that there are actually songs to be structured, songs to get into."
This is significant because up 'till now, it's been the music which has inspired the lyrics, with the latter often gelling only at the eleventh hour. Indeed, Bono admits that the delays in the completion of "The Unforgettable Fire" had much to do with problems he was encountering in lyric writing.
"Writing songs scares the living daylights out of me", he says. "It's been a huge problem and I just run away, I'm afraid. Again I have to accept responsibility for a lot of the chaos. I swore I wouldn't walk into it again and I did, I walked straight into it on the last album.
"It was a situation where we'd have the melody and the music. Now, I see the rhythm of words as being very important, and they build slowly up and often I don't think it's ready yet - though everyone else might think it is - but I can't let it go. That's why a lot of the songs tend to be sketches at the moment. "The Unforgettable Fire" - "Carnival/Wheels fly and colours spin/through alcohol/red wine that punctures the skin/face to face in a dry and waterless place" - it's a sketch, it builds up a picture but it's only a sketch. It doesn't really tell you anything. The music tells you about the mood of the person but it's not "a little ditty about Jack and Dianne"."
Precisely how a new, more disciplined approach to songwriting will affect U2's music on their next album remains to be seen - even Bono is cautious at this point.
"The Edge always says records write themselves," he says. "I don't want to start writing it before I write it. We'll see."
U2, unlike others in the music business, may not shore up the column inches with stories of rock 'n' roll madness and excess - but neither are they the pious puritans of certain popular mythology.
Why these young men have even recorded in the nude! Goodness! But it's true - to relieve the pressure during the difficult "Unforgettable Fire" sessions, all personnel connected with the making of the album took part in a naked day. "We got into gaffer art," Bono jokes, referring to the heavy-duty black tape with which they decorated their naked selves. According to Adam, co-producer Daniel Lanois "still bears the scars."
Bono: "Let's just say that he was using it as John The Baptist used a loincloth (laughs) anyway it was black and sticky and this brought laughter to us - but it brought tears to him when he had to take it off!"
A bit of harmless fun no doubt but the incident does remind us that there is a sense of humour within the U2 collective which rarely transfers to vinyl. Bono demurs. saying there has been "a lot of humour in the music", but almost immediately concedes that it has been consigned to the b-sides of singles. Otherwise, I suggest, there does seem to have been a fairly unrelenting intensity and seriousness right through the band's recorded canon.
"I think the best thing to do at this stage is to say "blame it on me," says Bono. "It's a cliche at this stage - we don't take ourselves seriously but we do take the music very seriously. I think it's that the music that was important to me, is music that I listened to in a private place when I was on my own and that's the music you try to make - the music that made you, that inspired you in the first place."
Adam: "I think as we develop and move on, it's an aspect of the personality of the band that will come through. But we're only gradually coming to grips with what we do ourselves. That lightness is coming through, I think, in the live performance now. It's all to do with security, and what we've achieved so far and all that kind of stuff."
"We were so uptight." Bono adds, -That's what I sense, not seriousness. I don't listen to the records, the way Adam does - I hear them usually on the radio or something like that. But I played some of our records about six months ago and I sensed something there - I sensed real fear in me and a very tight and angry man - or boy/man as] was at the time.
"There's a certain period which the group went through which we still don't talk about - 2 or 3 years when we didn't even know if we wanted to be in a group. There was a lot of guilt over ... guilt over joy. It was winning out. And I can sense that in my singing.
"Now if you are uptight and angry you can compress the sound of your voice and so it goes higher or it gets squeakier. On "The Unforgettable Fire" I became a singer again. I allowed myself to loosen up and so the voice changes. People used to say, "I don't like this group, you know, pointing the finger" and I used to say, "We never point the finger at anyone but ourselves." But I could sense - when I listened back to "War" - I sensed for instance that there is real anger in that record and it could make you uncomfortable listening to it. So I could actually see, from another person's point of view how it could look like, you know, I'm preaching and it's a soapbox situation."
In, Atlanta, on their last US tour, the members of U2 were invited to visit the Martin Luther King Centre by Coretta King - an event which Adam Clayton selects as being the moment in U2's history which has made him most proud.
"The whole thing was not about patting each other on the back," he says, "it was just great to get together and realise that we had similar feelings about things."
Bono remembers it vividly too, remembers being taken aback upon learning that the initials M.L.K. - the title of their elegiac tribute to the black leader on "The Unforgettable Fire" - were on Martin Luther King's briefcase the day he was assassinated. And as they entered the auditorium, the song that wafted out to meet them was "M.L.K.". Bono: "These people who were fighting for civil rights understood that music, more than they understood "Pride" which was rock 'n' roll music. They understood the tribute."
On the issue of black rights, Bono in particular has taken an unequivocal anti-apartheid stand in America, on at least one occasion joining a campus protest at one in the morning to express his solidarity. The black South African Bishop Tutu has been in touch with the band to thank them for their support, and while you get a sense that Bono is cautious about publicising such recognition, it's also clear that it meant a great deal to him.
But here, at home, have the band thought of getting involved with the Dunnes Stores strikers? "They have tickets for the concert," says Bono, "and we would like to meet them. It would be wrong for us to make a pronouncement because we don't know the issues involved - all I will say is that they are brave people in a city of cowards."
Not all U2's memories of their last American tour are fond ones - there was an incident at a gig in Washington, for example, which could have, had the gravest of consequences for both the band and their audience.
"Security men in every venue are briefed to lay-off, because if there are hands on our audience, we stop - we won't play," Bono explains. "When we walked out on stage in Maryland in Washington there was a huge line of security men with yellow t-shirts and "Crowd Control" printed on them, facing the audience, six inches from their faces, breathing on them, not allowing them to move out of their seats - it was like a Nazi rally rather than a rock 'n' roll concert.
"I asked the crowd, "Look if you want to let go, don't let these people hold onto you." And maybe it was a mistake in hindsight because they let go and the place exploded. They pushed these securitymen - all 20 of them - out and then they sent in more security. A riot broke out and we had to stop the concert. At this stage the riot police were brought in.
"I was just about to say something when Paul McGuinness just turned me 'round and said "look, this is a situation that's becoming a confrontation and if you open your mouth once more the security people are going to take control of the building and turn the power off." He advised me not to say anything and I didn't."
However, when U2 had finished a shortened set and the pandemonium had died down, it quickly dawned that the police had plenty to say to Bono - and to Paul McGuinness and stage manager Steve Iredale. They wanted to arrest all three on charges of incitement to riot.
Bono: 'We realised that the headlines "U2 Riot, Arrest" would go around America for the rest of the tour. We were going to be monitored, people would not be able to move out of their seats, we were going to be marched off to the police station - people wouldn't be allowed to go to the concerts because all people would see was "U2 Riot!" "U2 Riot!"
Backstage negotiations were entered into with the relevant authorities and Bono was told "we don't know where you come from but where we come from, we take these things very seriously."
Bono: "So I told the Fire Chief, "All I can say is these people pay our wages and they pay your wages and they pay the Mayor's who works over you and they deserve respect from us and from you!" I did this speech, a brilliant speech and he says "Boy, you're not to blame, they're to blame - and he points at McGuinness and Steve and I said "Oh no!" (laughs).
Eventually, after further discussion, tour manager Steve Iredale, who had signed a contract which contained a clause forbidding the band to encourage people to leave their seats, was arrested and subsequently freed on bail. The U2 camp intend to challenge his arrest, for as Bono quips: "Steve is not guilty -free Steve!"
Months on, the band may be able to look back and see some humour in the situation, but the seriousness of the Maryland incident was not lost on them and has led to a policy, that in Bono's words means "U2 will not walk on to a stage in a hostile environment."
In practical terms, this has meant having to switch venues in a number of cities in the States. As Adam puts it: "The problem is that we're passing through but these people are still there and if there is a hall with this sort of problem we will just play somewhere else and that's that.
But of bad experiences come lessons that are well learned and as Croke Park approaches, the band are striving to ensure, that as at Slane for Springsteen, all will go well on the day.
"What U2 are about is the very opposite of what these people are about," says Bono, "and Jim Aiken has guaranteed me personally that the people who are working on security in Croke Park will be well-briefed and will treat the people in the audience well.
"I hope and pray that Croke Park will be just the most peaceful and uplifting event. I just hope that people will look after each other in the crowd and up-front if a crush develops. And I hope that goes from the people right at the front to the back, because the concert will be only as good as the people want it to be. That is the way I look at it.
"And the people who are walking around on the periphery looking at it, if you like, through eye-glasses, will miss out on what the U2 concert is about - involvement."
- Film & TV
- 03 Jul 21