- 25 Sep 16
McGonagles, in South Anne Street, Dublin, was one of the vital breeding grounds for young rock bands in Ireland towards the end of the 1970s. It was there that U2 did their ‘Jingle Balls’ gigs, which were a crucial formative moment for the band. But negotiating their way through those early days wasn’t always entirely straightforward…
Promoter, band manager and publicist Terry O’Neill ran the hugely popular McGonagle’s Club on Dublin’s South Anne Street in the late 1970s, when U2 did some of their very first headlining dates.
The series of Jingle Balls gigs the band ran at the venue gave an indication that there was something just a little bit different about the approach of this young outfit. They weren’t interested in just following the routine. They wanted their gigs to have an identity, and a sense of excitement. To be an event. But, of course, they started out hustling in more or less the same way as everyone else, knocking on doors and pleading for gigs.
“They came to me one afternoon and asked could they do a support slot to somebody who was playing,” Terry recalls. “I can’t remember who it was, but I think it was some band coming in from England. I looked at the diary and said, ‘Yeah ok, how much do you want?’ They said, ‘Can we talk about it?’ So they went outside the door and had a little confab and then came back in and said, ‘Would £7 be OK?’ Me: ‘No, you’ll get £25 like every other opening act’. I believe that might have been the moment when they decided they needed a manager (laughs).”