- 05 Jun 19
As we get set for Slane this weekend, Hot Press is reliving some of the best ever Slane performances. Dan Hegarty looks back on U2's first concert in 2001.
My favourite Slane was U2 in 2001. With any Slane gig, getting there is part of the magic. I remember hopping on the bus and it was buzzing with excitement. We got talking to a group of guys and one of the lads had a really gruesome cut on his hand.
He said to us that he’d end up missing the gig if he went to A&E, so luckily, one of his friends was going to stitch it up for him. I laughed – but then he took a swig of tequila and his friend stitched his hand with a needle and thread that was bought from a discount shop. I swear to God, I nearly fell down in horror. It’s always my first memory whenever Slane is mentioned!
U2 had supported Thin Lizzy on the first ever Slane Festival. A lot of people had said that U2 would never play Slane again, and when you hear it so much, you start to believe it. So when the concert was announced, it made it that bit more special. It was actually going to happen, after all. They were coming off the All That You Can’t Leave Behind tour. Nobody had expected them to top The Joshua Tree and Zooropa, but it was a huge global album.
The gig itself was incredible. The atmosphere was amazing. There was a big bill of support acts, including Relish, JJ72, Kelis, Coldplay and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. As always, U2 were brilliant. I have never been to a U2 gig – and I’ve been to quite a few – where they were lacklustre. They opened with ‘Elevation’. Listening to it on the album, you didn’t necessarily know it was going to become a staple in their set. But when you heard it live, you just knew it was going to be played for years to come. It was an incredible opening, and throughout the show, they mixed the new material with the classic hits. There was a real sense of occasion – it’s something I’ll never forget.