- 20 Jun 17
U2's War tour came home with a massive date headlining the Phoenix Park festival. Bono chatted to Liam Mackey beforehand...
August 5, 1983
U2’s upward trajectory showed no signs of abating.
1983 was a stellar year - now-classic singles ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and ‘New Year’s Day’ had propelled War to the top of the album charts. The War tour was a major success internationally and the band’s homecoming date was a massive headliner at the Phoenix Park festival, closing the show after the likes of Eurythmics and Simple Minds.
Before that, the band spent some time at home, and it was at his cottage in Howth that Bono caught up with Hot Press’ Liam Mackey.
There he talked about the bond the four share. “We were four completely different people, four people going nowhere and we decided to go there together. Four rejects, on all different levels, from the system… the only thing we had in common was the music but there was and is an odd unity… and to this day there is no friction.”
On the challenge of keeping their sound fresh, Bono said, “you can’t parody yourself. There were so many groups sounding like us at one point that when we’d play a song we’d say ‘that sounds a bit like U2 - hold on a second, we are U2!’ You nearly parody yourself and you have to stop.”
The U2 of 1983 had to battle a number of misconceptions about themselves. “We made Boy, which is a sexual LP, and we changed the cover in America to stop any concern there may be about peadophlia… October was a spiritual LP, and a lot of people went ‘what the hell is going on here,’ especially in England.
There was one preconception Bono was happy to accept, though. “In London, there was the whole conception of ‘Paddies’, maybe. They thought of the Boomtown Rats, of Rory Gallagher, of Van the Man… but that’s a box we’re quite proud to be in because our music is Irish.”
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!