- 23 Jun 17
Team Hot Press were front and back of stage when U2 brought the Unforgettable Fire tour to Croke Park in June 1985.
“All Ireland Champions!” proclaimed the headline, and it has to be said that U2 were in top hometown form when In Tua Nua, REM, The Alarm and Squeeze joined them for what amounted to a mini-festival in Croker.
Only a couple of years away from becoming stadium-fillers themselves, REM were their usual contrary, but wonderful selves…
“Michael Stipe, dressed like cross between a hobo and a dirty old man in hat and overcoat, is an arresting focal point,” we were told. “Trance-like, he wraps himself around the microphone and spastic dances throughout the entire set. He neither expects nor encourages a rapport with the audience. For all that they were brilliant. Their songs are private pleasures for public consumption.”
As for the headliners, the late, extremely great Bill Graham opined that, “This was more than a gig. It was the closing of another circle. It was a renewal. Fittingly it was with ’11 O’clock Tick Tock’ and ‘I Will Follow’ blasting, no surging, from the speakers that they kicked things off. A forest of fists, participation, concentration. The transition to the giant gig has been easy for U2. Their music has always derived its strength from inclusiveness and participation. Big stages are made for Bono, his exuberance and mobility finding its natural extension in catwalks and large open spaces. The fourth song, ‘MLK’, brought the first shiver up the spine. The second came from ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’.
"But the most extraordinary moment came with 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)'. This was... are there words for it? Beyond extraordinary. It happened with all those witnesses! All those fists in the air, and every fucking voice in the cauldron singing the chorus, a sound unlike any other..."