McGonagles, Dublin, Ireland

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U2’s first known show of 1979 saw them doing a show on Wednesday evening at McGongagles.

Bill Graham of Hot Press attended the show but did not review it, mentioning in another review of U2, “Production of our yearbook meant that their two recent McGonagles gigs, the first for the Hot Press/McGonagles party itself, the second on the third day of this New Year passed without praise in print. They were simply the most exhilirating performances by a local band I’ve witnessed in the last twelve months.”

The show was also notable as it brought U2 to the attention of Garry Bookasta, a radio owner from Los Angeles, most known for owning KROQ, an early supporter of U2. Hot Press reported that Bookasta, “offered to scout out an American deal for the band. Bookasta, over this side of the water for both business and leisure was utterly taken by U2’s January 3rd appearance at McGonagles, enthusing that they were the best of 40 British and Irish bands he’d witnessed during his sojourn.”

U2 played McGonagles a number of times in the late 1970s. The venue, located at 21A South Anne Street, started hosting concerts in 1978 and continued to do so until 1992. Prior to that, it was known as The Crystal Ballroom. Bono’s parents, Iris and Bob would often go dancing at The Crystal Ballroom and Bono would later write about the venue in “The Crystal Ballroom”: “My mother died when she was at her father’s funeral. I was only 14. And in this song I am singing, ‘Everyone is here tonight, everyone but you.’ And it’s me wanting to see my mother dance again in the Crystal Ballroom and for her to see what happened to her son.” On July 1, 2018, Bono remembered from stage that U2 had played McGonagles 29 times in their career. That night was their 30th performance at Madison Square Garden, making it U2’s most played venue, but up until that point, McGonagles appears to have been the most played.

Little is known about the show itself. The set list is not known.

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