Town Hall Theatre, Ballina, Ireland

Set List of Show:

Known Songs: (Incomplete)

  • "11 O'Clock Tick Tock"
  • "Boy / Girl"
  • "Out of Control"

Additional Music

Snippets of Other Songs Performed by U2:

Show Details:

Ballina is a town in the West of Ireland in County Mayo. U2 had been advertised to play Ballina on two prior occasions, but this is the first show that actually happens. The more recent attempt, on March 22, 1980, had been heavily advertised in local papers but was cancelled at the last minute.

U2’s show in May 1980 is part of the band’s “Come Out to Play Tour”. Reports say that only about 60 people in total were in attendance. Admission for the night is £2.00. The opening act is listed as “Mister Moon” in local advertising, leading to some confusion, as U2 had been touring with the Myster Men. But for this show, the opening act is local act Polar Moon. It was Barry Devlin that shared with Polar Moon that U2 were coming to town and suggested they ask for the opening slot of the show.

During the show the band play “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”, “Out of Control” and “Boy-Girl” but the full set is unknown. Some attendees have suggested it was a shorter show, but it is known the band played “Out of Control”, so it is likely U2 made it to the end of the first set, and then skipped doing an encore. During the show, the band are given a hard time by the local audience who want more of the opening act instead of U2. They repeatedly call for the opening act, well into U2’s set itself. There’s a lot of tension at the show.

Mary Hughes tells Western People, “They were very, very good. The place wasn’t packed, but it was full. It wasn’t that big, but of course at that time, when we didn’t know anything else, it was big to us.”

After the show there is a fight, caused by some locals, involving two youths roughing up the band after the show. Hearing a scuffle taking place with one of their roadies after the show, the band waded into the fight. The incident was covered in the local paper in an article by Eilish Ward, “Two Ballina youths, Peter Moore and John Howley, were fined £9.50 each in the local court last week for assault on members of U2 following a gig in the town in May 10th last. A major row erupted after the gig, resulted in road crew member Pat O’Driscoll being brought to hospital but he was later discharged suffering from cuts and bruises. It emerged in the court that the row began when one of the road crew, who had tried to clear the stage, was jostled and pushed by some of the audience. A second roadie was given the same treatment when he went to check the equipment which, it was started, was being tampered with.”

The youths claimed that the fight was started due to name calling by U2’s crew. Reports claim that Bono was hit from behind with a chair, Adam Clayton had his glasses broken, and The Edge was taken to have his head stitched up after the show. The fines of £9.50 were looked upon as a light fine, and was the maximum fine that could be given before the youths would have lost their positions in the army. The band, nor their crew members appeared in court.

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