Dec 11 1981
Washington, DC, US / Ontario Theater
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First Show and First Contact
Thanks to WHFS, I fell in love with this band when BOY debuted. I heard "I Will Follow" and wanted more! My friends and I got tickets to see U2 and Bow Wow Wow and so on DEC 11, I found myself standing in the cold for hours for a front row seat to see this new and exciting band. I was not disappointed and I knew from the moment they started playing that I was witnessing the birth of something great. The show was raw, passionate and inspired. And Bono jumped and landed on me and my friends and I we looked at each other for a split second and he gave me the best smile. Then when the show was over, I ran to the aisle where the band exited the stage and got to shake hands with all four. The BEST part of the night was when I went to the bathroom before Bow Wow Wow came on and I heard a woman's voice behind me. Anabella walked into the men's room and I just said "Hey! How are you? What are you doing in here?" Her response was "Oh, just checking the scene out." I told her I thought she was gorgeous and I looked forward to the set. She said "Hey thanks, so nice to meet you" and disappeared. Bow Wow Wow were great and they sounded just like their album. But U2 were something more. I'm now 60 and have seen them so many times. I realized that they've always been there and my love for all four runs so deep. To age and witness the evolution of living legends makes life grand. U2 and the Pretenders are my favorite bands from my youth and I'm so thankful they remain active artists who defy gravity to this very day.
I’d heard the opening chimes of A Day Without Me on a Chicago radio station the previous winter and now they were drawing me to the Ontario Theater in Adams Morgan, DC as the newest winter started. Who were these guys? On the way to Adams Morgan, I heard Edge and Bono being interviewed on WHFS, the best radio station at the time. Bono told a story of how in Seattle, I seem to remember, the previous year “two girls” with whom he’d, ah, spent some time with one day absconded with his journals, causing him a “nervous breakdown”. Nobody, including the WHFS DJ, knew that “Dave” was to be known henceforth as “The Edge”, so in a kind of transition, by the end of the interview the DJ was calling him “Dave the Edge”. Larry apparently had some trouble getting a visa, Edge and Bono told him, and it was no wonder: when you saw Larry on stage he looked like he was 16 years old. Edge, I remember thinking, looked like a young Pete Townsend and he played piano while his guitar was still strapped across his chest at one point. I can still hear guitar chimes. Yeah, and he had hair on top of his head. Adam was energy from the start of the universe, this focused intensity facing the band then tearing away to the audience. Bono was all attitude. At one part he did a kind of clumsy Irish jig; later he picked up a spotlight and shined it on the audience before the audience grabbed him. He kept quite calm: tethered to stage, mike in hand, he floated on the hands of the audience like Jesus on salt water. The elation was non-stop, the band were tight as brothers, and body heat and music linked everyone together for a few hours, animating that bleak winter of 1981-82.
A fan since Boy
What an awesome show. They were a new band that hadn't caught on yet, but I worked in a record store and we loved them and played U2 all the time in the store. I hope the picture turns out - it's a copy of my ticket stub from this show. I don't remember a lot, but I do remember going into the ladies room at the same time as the lead singer for Bow Wow Wow (and she was very petite). I went to the concert with an eclectic group of guys that I worked with at Record and Tape Collectors - a record store in Baltimore, MD (I wonder what Eric and Drew are up to now?). I was 19 years old and in college at the time. There weren't many people at the concert - I'm guessing less than 500, and by the end of the show probably only 50 of us still there because we were able to move to the first row. I remember October, Gloria and I Will Follow, but can't remember what else was played (hey, I'm a 47 year old mother of two teenage boys - my memory is shot). At the end of the show, Bono was lifted out into the audience (I think I got to touch him because we were so close). I am seeing them for the 4th time Tomorrow night at FedEx Field in Landover, MD and I can't wait. I wish I was as close as the first time, but I'm just glad to be going. I love their new album and hope they play Moment of Surrender tomorrow night. Hope this helps and can't wait to see if anyone else who attended has any memories that will jog mine.
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