Sunday 21 July 2019

'I hadn't realised the significance of it' - Oldest known live recording of U2 from 1979 discovered by fans

Hot Press Vol 3 No 11 October 29 1979 Cover Story U2
Hot Press Vol 3 No 11 October 29 1979 Cover Story U2
The tape from 1979 featuring U2 at Dandelion Market
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

U2 fans have unearthed what is the oldest known live recording of the Dublin band.

The recording was made by the guitarist in the band's opening act when they performed at Dandelion Market (now Stephen's Green Shopping Centre) in Dublin's city centre on August 11, 1979.

The tape from 1979 featuring U2 at Dandelion Market
The tape from 1979 featuring U2 at Dandelion Market

Pete McCluskey played in local band The Stougers before U2's headline show and he brought a tape recorder and captured their full set. 

U2 fan site ATU2 managed to track it down and McCluskey told them, "I am pleased that I recorded the show and hadn't realised the significance of it and its place in history until quite recently."

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

The earliest recording of the band before the discovery of this tape was a recording from their performance at Cork Opera House on October 22, 1979.

The band had not yet released an EP at that stage but had been performing together for three yeras.

Their debut EP Three released in late 1979 followed by their debut album Boy the following year.

ATU2 has shared the recordings of the songs In Your Hand and Concentration Camp from the Dandelion Market show via YouTube:

The website notes that Concentration Cramp sounds very similar to an early demo song called Live My Life Tonight, albeit with very different lyrics.

The ATU2 website is currently researching U2's early shows and the team has accumulated photos and scans of concert ads, gig reviews, set lists and interviews with the band from 1976 to 1980 from across the UK and Ireland.

U2 have since released 14 studio albums, the most recent of which were Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Experience (2017).

They have also embarked on 17 concert tours.

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