Moonlight Club, London, England
Set List of Show:
Known Set List: (Likely Incomplete)
- "Concentration Cramp"
- "The Dream Is Over"
- "Inside Out"
- "Shadows and Tall Trees"
- "Boy / Girl"
- "Out of Control"
Snippets of Other Songs Performed by U2:
Although both NME and Sounds have published articles listing U2’s full slate of dates in London, they do fail to mention that U2 will not be headlining all of these shows. The band kick off their first tour of London with a show at the Moonlight Club (sometimes called the Moonlight Railway Club) located in West Hampstead on the ground level of the Railway Hotel. Admission for the show is £1.00 and the shows open at 8:30 and run until midnight.
This first show for U2 in London is as an opening act with Dolly Mixture as the headlining act. They are an all girl group, and they have been getting some radio play in the local London market, and are starting to attract a following. They are incorrectly listed as Dolly Mixtures in NME, and they aren’t the only one with an error in their name. In the same NME ad, U2 are listed as “Capital U2.” The ad over in Time Out lists the band as “The UZ’s”. Both of these can be seen above. The gig guides published in various papers also have a range of names listed. In Sounds the band is called U2’s, in Time Out they are listed as “U-2”, while NME only lists the headline act and doesn’t mention U2 at all.
An announcer tells the crowd that U2 have just gotten off the boat from Dublin as they take the stage. The Edge is wearing a plaster cast on his hand during the show and struggles to play during the show. He was injured in a car accident at the end of November in Dublin, Adam was also in the car but uninjured. On the journey to England, Edge had traveled with his hand on ice, and was treated upon arriving in Liverpool at the general hospital. The arm was placed in a plaster cast, he was given morphine for the pain, but with some practice he was able to play.
U2’s performance is reviewed in the December 8, 1979 issue of Sounds by Dave McCullough. The review mentions the Edge’s plaster cast, but is a very favourable review. “There’s a kind of naïve, young, rushing, feeling about their music, flickering at times between the Skids, Penetration, Doors, the Fall and Swell Maps,” McCullough writes, “In singer and spokesman Bono they already have a focal-point as engaging and as charismatic as a Mark Smith.” Later in the review he mentions “The effect is, three or four times in 20 minutes, having the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, startled by an elegant guitar or bass flourish or moved by the collective climactic inner tension of songs.”
The review identifies several songs that U2 are playing, including “Concentration Cramp,” “The Dream is Over,” “Inside Out,” “Shadows and Tall Trees,” “Boy-Girl” and “Out of Control.”
Bono has several routines worked out which he will use throughout the tour. “I’ve heard a lot about all your lovely fads and fashions over here, well U2 aren’t either of those” is one line from the night reported by McCullough. Bono also removes his sweater at one point of the show, and takes the opportunity to ask someone in the crowd to hold the mic for him. He’ll use both at later shows on this tour as well to interact with the crowd.
Debsey Wilkes of Dolly Mixture was fascinated watching The Edge perform with his arm plastered up from his injury and said “It was daunting to go on after them, they were so intense and powerful.”
Paul Morley of NME magazine is also at the show, and reviews the U2 performance, saying “U2 are sharp and subtle and cynical, slyly seductive in an uncompromising way like The Pretenders or The Au Pairs. A pop that isn’t pap and pad, a safe cushion of clichés and convenience, but angles, urgency, deflections. U2 are style plus spontaneity, an uncouth grace, an agile synthesis of abusive and abrasive ways to use up all that evil and inviting ’60s-‘70s tradition. Subversive pop can be so stimulating — don’t you think?”
- 2020-08-21 December 1979: U2 Take On London (Original Story)
Officially Released Tracks