June 29, 1985 – Dublin, Ireland – Croke Park
Opening Act(s): In Tua Nua, R.E.M., The Alarm, Squeeze
11 O’Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, Seconds, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Wire, Sunday Bloody Sunday, A Sort Of Homecoming, The Cry, The Electric Co., Bad, October, New Year’s Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore(s): My Hometown, Out Of Control, Gloria, 40.
U2 cover Bruce Springsteen’s My Hometown and Out Of Control is performed after a long hiatus on the Unforgettable Fire Tour.
By John Callinan
I’ve been to approximately 100-150 concerts in my life, but this one was the probably the best. Dubbed “A Sort of Homecoming”,this was an all day concert that took place at a very old soccer stadium in Dublin called Croke Park-I was visiting family in Dublin at the time and had the incredible luck to be in the area when this show took place.
Ironically, Croke Park was the site of the original “Sunday Bloody Sunday” massacre in Nov. 1920 when British paramilitaries opened fire on the unarmed crowd present there for a soccer match,killing and wounding dozens of unarmed spectators,in retaliation for the killing by the IRA of several British soldiers. I personally have never experienced a more poignant,powerful moment at any concert than when the guys did an impassioned “Sunday Bloody Sunday”-I can still hear Bono leading some 50-60,000 people in a “No More”, “No More” along with his “I’m so sick of it..” refrain from the song.
But what also made the concert so great was the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ group of acts they had together. After a local Irish band opened the show, R.E.M. did about a 75 minute set that blew the crowd away. To this day, one of the funniest images I’ve ever seen at a concert was Michael Stipe drinking a pint of Guinness on stage, saying with that (still prounced at the time) southern accent of his “Damn-I sure do love this Irish beer”. After REM, the Alarm took the stage and played a set about the same length. Then, Squeeze did about a 90 minute set. As big as Squeeze was here in the USA in their prime in the 1980’s, they were much more popular over in the UK & Ireland. I remember how bonkers the crowd went when they were introduced. Of course, they did all their hits including a showstopping “Tempted”,”Mussels from a shell”, and encore that the whole crowd was singing at the top of their lungs “Black Coffee in Bed”.
Then came the main event. Introduced by the local DJ as “the band that has conquered the World”, they took the stage, Bono saying that of all the shows that they had ever done, this one was the one he had most looked forward to. Highlights that I can remeber was an incredibly moving version of ‘Bad’ with Bono dedicating it to a good local friend of his who had recently died from a heroin addiction, the aforementioned ‘Sunday’, a cheerfully sarcastic version of “Seconds” that Bono dedicated to President Reagan, and blazing versions of “I Will Follow”, “Gloria”, “New Years Day”and my personal favorite at the time “Out of Control”.
N/Also, I’ll always remeber how during the encores, Bono was telling a story about how a few weeks previous to the concert, he had met a musician in a local pub in Dublin and he asked him if he could perform & dedicate one of his songs to the crowd at their upcoming gig, and the musician said he would be honored if U2 did his song. And when he said that the musician’s name was Bruce Springsteen, the crowd freaked (this was only a couple of weeks after Bruce had done 2 sold-out shows at Slane Castle in Ireland during his “Born in the USA” tour). U2 followed with a wonderful version of “My Hometown”.
Interestingly, the aftermath of the show was pretty exciting, but for a different reason. My brother & I witnessed a drunken, excited mob of hooligans running wild in the streets after the show, and got soaked by some of Dublin’s Finest who use water from fire engine hoses to disperse the crowd. All in all, a very eventful day.
New York, NY