Opening Act(s): Red Rockers
11 O'Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, Seconds, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Wire, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Cry, The Electric Co., A Sort Of Homecoming, Bad, October, New Year's Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore(s): Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Gloria, 40.
The opening band, the Red Rockers, join U2 for 40 and portions of the show are filmed by CBS News and Wire is broadcast.
Chicago Tribune, March 23, 1985
Irish Band U2 Brings Noble Message to Its Music
by Lynn Van Matre
The last time Irish band U2 played Chicago was a scant three months ago, when the group headlined a show at the Aragon Ballroom. Thursday night, the quartet returned to Chicago, this time for the first of two concerts at the vastly larger Pavilion. This is a band that has come a long way in a relatively short time, in part due to the success of their recent hit single, "(Pride) In the Name of Love," and a current million-selling album, "The Unforgettable Fire."
U2 is suddenly hot--and its creative fire gives every evidence of being the enduring kind. A band to whom music and its potential as a medium for social message clearly matter, the group is known for its positive spirit and life-affirming stance. And while U2 is reluctant to categorize themselves as a "Christian band," their lyrics frequently reflect their strong religious beliefs and a moving version of "Amazing Grace" now figures in the band's shows. So do several anti-drug songs, at least one number about Northern Ireland's ongoing religious wars ("Sunday Bloody Sunday") and, in the case of the single, "Pride," a tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Noble sentiment, of course, can take a band only so far. Too much of it, in fact, can be a real turnoff if things get too preachy. But U2 does not preach.
The messages are there, both implicit and explicit, an integral part of the band's approach. But it's U2's guitar-driven sound that is initially appealing--soaring, anthemic rock and roll that is both distinctive and exhilarating. Lead singer Paul "Bono Vox" Hewson tends to use his voice as an instrument, his keening, evocative vocals riding atop the thick waves of sound turned out by guitarist Dave "The Edge" Evans, who occasionally doubles on keyboards, and a rhythm section composed of drummer Larry Mullen and bassist Adam Clayton. The results are both danceable and downright inspirational.
Staging for the band's shows this time around is spare and clean, with occasional special lighting about all there is in the way of theatrical effects. Bono, a small, intense figure in black leather pants, black shirt and black boots, possesses a certain brooding charm, though refreshingly enough neither he nor other members of the band attempt to capitalize on any inherent sexiness; a female fan who made it onto the stage was sent on her way with a friendly, brotherly hug. (Earlier, Bono helped a surprised television cameraman up on stage so that he could film the audience.) For those who find the values espoused by many of today's rock groups to be shallow and spiritually impoverished, U2 provides a powerful alternative.
Thursday's show got off to a good start with a performance by the Red Rockers, who share with U2 a sense of social commitment. The band is perhaps best known for their updated version of Barry McGuire's 1965 hit, "Eve of Destruction," a highlight of the Rockers' entertaining set.
© 1985 Chicago Tribune Company. All rights reserved.