- 15 Jun 17
After supervising their efforts in the UK, Hot Press' Bill Graham caught up with the band on the midwest leg of their first American tour...
The success of 1980 debut album Boy - hitting 63 on the Billboard charts, "a stirring performance for a first album," as our man Bill put it, led to U2 committing a full three months towards their first ever American tour.
It was only fitting that Bill Graham, chronicler and champion of U2 at every step of their journey be there to see the still-fresh Dubliners take on the very heart of a vast continent, joining the band in Chicago for the midwest leg of the tour.
Bill took in dates of varying fortune in Chicago, Cincinnati and Detroit, cataloguing the crowds and local radio’s response to U2, noting their determination to not just be seen as “another British band”. “We’re Irish,” Bono tells a crowd, “and we’re in your country for three months.”
Here the seeds were sowed for the band’s later taming of America as a happy hunting ground for them. As Adam Clayton told a Chicago radio station, “We are putting a certain amount of energy and commitment into the United States. We’re not coming over here because we have to tour because our record company says so. We actually enjoy America. We’re not here to slag it off or say America stinks and they don’t listen to good music. We’re actually feeling very good about America and we want to be here and we want to put that commitment down and work that hard.”
Bono spoke at length to Bill about the growth of U2 as a machine, U2 as an industry that created a livelihood for people. "The unit is getting stronger and working and at the top of it are four people who may be 20 years old and there's all these people of 30, 34, all their jobs depending on it and that's an interesting situation coming from 10 Cedarwood Road, and there's literally millions of dollars at stake."
He had a final word too: "The touring. We've beaten it, it hasn't beaten us. We're not going out like a showband, playing tra-la-la every night."
You can also see all of U2's Hot Press covers in the flesh as part of our 40th Birthday Exhibition in the National Photographic Archive in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin. Open seven days a week, admission free!