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Monday 24 July 2017

'Larry was sitting there like an angler who had just cast his bait' - U2 classmate remembers the band before they were famous

As U2 celebrate their 40th anniversary, one former classmate fondly remembers a time before they were famous

Cool dudes: U2 strut their stuff at a Trinity gig in 1979. Photo: Patrick Brocklebank.
Cool dudes: U2 strut their stuff at a Trinity gig in 1979. Photo: Patrick Brocklebank.
U2 Joshua Tree Tour. The Joshua Tree 2nd leg: Europe Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Cork, Ireland. Support Acts: The Dubliners, The Subterraneans, UB40. 8/8/1987... Fans (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)

Bob Carley

So U2 is 40... to me their story is an inspiring one of success.

They're a great example of hard work, perseverance, talent, love, faith and vulnerability all cascading into a blender of belief and energy. Iconic anthems songs of innocence and acts of insolence. Something to make your Irish heart beat proudly. Even prouder if you shared a school corridor with them.

They made you want to fly the green white and orange of Ireland and the black and blue of Mount Temple. You'd see them after school when everyone else was heading home or off for a sneaky smoke or a not so sneaky snog. There they were getting Mr Moxham to open some room so that they could go over and over and over a song. They believed. I love them for that.

It was a time when if you played word association with anyone in the world and said "Ireland" they would most likely say "terrorist". It was a time when most families were sending at least one refugee to a foreign land with a heart packed with hope and a case packed with memories and rashers.

Robert Carley in his Mount Temple school days
Robert Carley in his Mount Temple school days

As you walked through the school's central mall, through the cold cavity block walls, you could hear them... somewhere someone would begin to sing I Want You To Show Me The Way and somewhere deep in your gut, you knew that of all of us in that school, these four would find a way.

I saw an early performance too. Not sure if it was their first but it was one of them. A school talent show. They were impressive, they were tight, they made that Bay City Rollers song sound more rock and roll-ish.

The Joshua Tree 2nd leg: Europe. Fans at Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Cork, Ireland. 8/8/1987. (Part of the Independent Ireland Newspapers/NLI Colection)
The Joshua Tree 2nd leg: Europe. Fans at Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Cork, Ireland. 8/8/1987. (Part of the Independent Ireland Newspapers/NLI Colection)
U2 - The Joshua Tree Tour, 2nd leg: Europe. Croke Park, Dublin, June 1987... The morning of the concert..three fans wearing U2 t-shirts on O'Connell St. 27/6/87 Pic: Roseanne Lynch Support Acts 27/6/87: Light A Big Fire, The Dubliners, The Pogues, Lou Reed. Support Acts 28/6/87: Christy Moore, The Pretenders, Lou Reed, Hothouse Flowers. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)
Fans of U2 at The Point, 26/12/89 for U2's 'Lovetown Tour' of 1989. B.B. King, the legendary blues musician joined them on stage at all but one of their shows to perform, 'When Love Comes To Town' (featured on U2's album, 'Rattle and Hum'). (Part of the Independent Ireland Newspapers/NLI Colection)
U2 - The Joshua Tree Tour, 2nd leg: Europe. Croke Park, Dublin, June 1987...Two female fans smile for the camera at the concert. Support Acts 27/6/87: Light A Big Fire, The Dubliners, The Pogues, Lou Reed. Support Acts 28/6/87: Christy Moore, The Pretenders, Lou Reed, Hothouse Flowers. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)
U2 - The Joshua Tree Tour, 2nd leg: Europe. Croke Park, Dublin, June 1987... View of the many fans in the audience. One holds up a poster/placard of the band. (Part of the Independent Ireland Newspapers/NLI Colection)
U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2nd leg: Europe Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Cork, Ireland. Support Acts: The Dubliners, The Subterraneans, UB40. 8/8/1987...Fans. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)
U2 Joshua Tree Tour. The Joshua Tree 2nd leg: Europe Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Cork, Ireland. Support Acts: The Dubliners, The Subterraneans, UB40. 8/8/1987... Fans (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)
U2 - The Joshua Tree Tour, 2nd leg: Europe.Croke Park, Dublin, June 1987... The morning of the concert..two fans. 27/6/87 Pic: Roseanne Lynch Support Acts 27/6/87: Light A Big Fire, The Dubliners, The Pogues, Lou Reed. Support Acts 28/6/87: Christy Moore, The Pretenders, Lou Reed, Hothouse Flowers. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)
U2 - The Joshua Tree Tour, 2nd leg: Europe.Croke Park, Dublin, June 1987... A tired couple. Support Acts 27/6/87: Light A Big Fire, The Dubliners, The Pogues, Lou Reed. Support Acts 28/6/87: Christy Moore, The Pretenders, Lou Reed, Hothouse Flowers. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)
Liam O Maonlai with the Hothouse Flowers at Croke Park in 1987, supporting U2's Joshua Tree tour
Lou Reed
The Edge and Bono perform at Croke Park in 1987 as part of The Joshua Tree tour

I also remember the day I saw the notice on the notice board. I had just finished woodwork and rushed to the mall pushing my way through a sea of Wrangler jackets, Levi jackets, combat jackets, tartan jackets, gabardines, brogues, loafers, wedges, parallels flares, skinheads, Mohicans, centre partings, Mr Camier, Mr Wheatley and Miss Perry, to check the notice board.

Mr Hughes had just put up the junior hockey team for an away match down the country which meant a half day a bus trip and if we played another co-ed school it also meant the girls would send a team too... if you get my drift. Sitting on a bench in the corner reading NME was a bloke from my year called Larry.

Hot Press Vol 3 No 11 October 29 1979 Cover Story U2
Hot Press Vol 3 No 11 October 29 1979 Cover Story U2

He was handsome and cool before it was cool to be handsome and cool. He was sitting there like an angler who had just cast his bait. Today's lure was an intriguing small notice that said something like 'drummer seeks musicians to form a band'. We nodded but I hadn't time for conversation, I was scanning down the team list -Morris -Fyffe -Magowan -McNulty-Carley, 'yessssss I'd made the team'.

That's THE notice on the Mount Temple board I saw. That's the one I remember. I was on the team. Larry did get his musicians. Adam and Paul (that would make a good movie) and David joined him on an odyssey that would bring them before princes and presidents. An odyssey that would see them thrill venues bigger than our school grounds, one that would see his photo on the front of NME on many occasions.

U2 Joshua Tree Tour. The Joshua Tree 2nd leg: Europe Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Cork, Ireland.
Support Acts: The Dubliners, The Subterraneans, UB40.
8/8/1987... Fans
(Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)
U2 Joshua Tree Tour. The Joshua Tree 2nd leg: Europe Páirc Uí Chaoimh - Cork, Ireland. Support Acts: The Dubliners, The Subterraneans, UB40. 8/8/1987... Fans (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection.)

Yeah I saw the notice alright just the wrong one. Larry still plays in the band I, however, stopped playing hockey in June 1979.

Funny world.

Robert Carley attended Mount Temple school between 1975 and 1979. He met his wife Jean in school but sadly she passed away suddenly in 2011. He hosted a Ted Talk this year on mental health, titled You're Lovely, Lovable and You're Loved.

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