A common recurring theme of the Vertigo Tour has been a look back at U2's early years, focusing on songs from the band's first three albums, especially the debut Boy. For the second Setlist Of The Week, we will look even further back, to a time when U2 had not released an album at all. In February 1980, U2 prepared to release their second single on CBS Records, Another Day, and on the date of its release, the 26th, they performed a concert at Dublin's National Stadium
, a boxing venue.
The most notable event of the night occurred after the band had left the stage. Their performance had sufficiently impressed Island Records executives that they offered a record deal to U2, who promptly signed. The Boy album was released later in 1980, and out of the sixteen songs played on this late February night, six would ultimately be featured on the album, though early versions of Out Of Control and Stories For Boys had appeared on U2's debut release, the U2:3 single, in September 1979. Out of the remaining ten songs, one was released the day of the concert as a non-album single (Another Day), one had already been released as a b-side on U2:3 (Boy-Girl), and three evolved into songs that were later released. The Silver Lining is the most notable of the three, as it evolved into May 1980's non-album single 11 O'clock Tick Tock, a song that went on to become one of U2's most popular live numbers of the early 1980s and it remains one of U2's twenty most frequently performed songs in concert. 11 O'clock Tick Tock's b-side was Touch, which had evolved from Trevor, and the third song to be released in evolved form was Pete The Chop, which didn't see a release until January 1983 when Treasure (Whatever Happened To Pete The Chop?) became the b-side of what was then U2's most successful release, the New Year's Day single.
The remaining five songs have vanished into utter obscurity and are quite possibly forgotten even by the band themselves. Due to the fact they never had an official release and the somewhat confusing records that exist of U2's pre-Boy days, the titles of some songs are in dispute. Some argue The Speed Of Life should actually be The Speed Of Light, but this hardly seems like an issue when compared with The Magic Carpet, which is also known as Judith and all four possible combinations of Life/Lost On A Distant/Silent Planet. Other names have also been suggested. Out of the tracks never released in any form, the last currently known to be played was The Speed Of Life on 13 July 1980
in London; two songs later, the unevolved Pete The Chop was played, the last known instance of any pre-Boy song being played live.
The 26 February 1980 concert is notable for the appearance of Shadows And Tall Trees. Boy is the only album from which every single song has been played to a paying crowd, and Shadows And Tall Trees was the first to disappear from U2's setlists - sporadic appearances from 1978 to the middle of 1980 are recorded and it is assumed it was played more regularly, but it is not known to have appeared on the Boy Tour that began in September 1980, and hasn't appeared on subsequent tours. Out of subsequent albums, three come extremely close to being fully played live. Pop comes the closest with every single song being featured in some form live; eleven of its twelve songs were performend live, and the twelfth, The Playboy Mansion, was sometimes snippeted at the end of Where The Streets Have No Name on the Popmart Tour. Recordings of live performances of every Achtung Baby song exist, but the recording of Acrobat was made by a fan outside a closed venue in which U2 were rehearsing. Acrobat has never been played live to an audience. The Joshua Tree came extremely close to being performed live in full; the only song not played thus far is Red Hill Mining Town, which U2 are known to have extensively soundchecked before the 28 November 1987
concert in Murfreesboro, Tennessee as they had plans to perform it in late December in Tempe, Arizona so it could be filmed for inclusion in Rattle And Hum. Unfortunately, these plans did not come to fruition.
Classic albums such as The Joshua Tree were a distant prospect for the young U2 in February 1980 as they roared through their energetic set in Dublin, eager to impress the crowd, especially the attendees from Island Records. The setlist performed was:
- Silver Lining
- The Speed Of Life
- Life On A Distant Planet
- Stories For Boys
- Another Time, Another Place
- Another Day
- Pete The Chop
- The Dream Is Over
- Cartoon World
- Jack In A Box
- Shadows And Tall Trees
- A Day Without Me
- Out Of Control
- The Electric Co.
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