Opening Act(s): Our Daughter's Wedding
The Ocean, 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, Touch, An Cat Dubh, Into The Heart, Another Time Another Place, The Electric Co., Things To Make And Do, Stories For Boys, Twilight, I Will Follow. Encore(s): Out Of Control, 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, The Ocean.
New York Times, March 9, 1981
Irish U2, a Young Quartet, Plays at The Ritz
by Stephen Holden
THE Irish rock quartet U2, which has received extravagant critical praise in the British press, made a strong showing at the Ritz on Saturday. For such an accomplished band, U2 is unusually young. Ranging in age from 18 to 20, its members met three years ago at a Dublin secondary school. Yet their sound, and eclectic hard rock with a mystically romantic strain, makes them one of the most harmonically sophisticated rock bands to emerge in recent years.
U2's musical focus is its gifted guitarist, ''The Edge'' Evans, whose extended lyrical guitar flights have a muscularity and an exotic flavor similar to Tom Verlaine. Mr. Evans knows exactly how far to push his mysticism without its turning sickly, and his best solos have a passionate emotionality that is rare in rock these days.
Bono Hewson, U2's lead singer, has a moderately strong voice that was partially drowned out at the Ritz. This was a shame, since the band's material is of considerable interest. Most of the songs on its debut album, ''Boy,'' are visionary reflections of adolescence, with lyrics that have a consciously poetical ring. Their stark imagery is well served by extended modal melodies. Where poetically ambitious rock bands tend to get mired in their visions, U2 brings to its purpose a healthy balance between energy and lyricism.
© 1981 The New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved.