Ritz, New York, NY, USA

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U2’s second leg of the Boy tour opens with a show in New York, at the Ritz. The venue located on 11th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue, in the space currently occupied by Webster Hall. The Ritz itself had relocated in 1989. U2 play the show with the band 3-D. 3-D were an American Rock Band, best known for the song “X-Ray Eyes.”

The concert in New York was not the original scheduled start to U2’s North American shows. A show was booked in Rochester, New York for November 5, however that show was canceled. Although a reason for the cancellation is not known, U2 were playing a show with Talking Heads in France on November 4, and traveled to New York on November 5, so travel considerations likely played into the decision.

A number of names associated with U2 through the years are in attendance to see U2 at their first North American show. Rolling Stone writer Jim Henke who had previously seen the band in the UK is present. Concert promoter Frank Barsalona, who would promote U2 with agency Premier Talent is also present to see the band, who he booked without ever seeing them in concert. Ellen Darst is also present, representing Warner Brothers, who would distribute Island Records in the USA market. Darst would later join Principle Management as the USA director for U2’s management group up until 1993.

Barsalona recalled the show in New York in 1980 in U2 Show: “I was really impressed. I went out of my way to push them. They were sensational live. When the band came out that first time at the Ritz, they got no applause when they were announced… and it turned out to be one of the most incredible ways of seeing an act for the first time because the audience didn’t know them and didn’t care about them but at the end of the show gave them a standing ovation.”

The venue is far from sold out, and estimates by those in attendance say there were probably between 100-150 in attendance. But the crowd is entertained and push up to the stage to watch U2’s performance, rather than hanging back. An article in Vanity Fair confirms that the show at the Ritz was attended by “about 100 people” and also that the show took place during a snowstorm.

Although some sources list 3-D as a headlining act, we believe it was U-2 that headlined the show. Advertisements from The Ritz for the show list U-2 second on the ad, and have their name in bold, while 3-D is not darkened. Barsalona mentioned that U2 got multiple encores. And the source of the set list for this show, also clearly identifies that U2 go on after an earlier act, and again confirms multiple returns to the stage for encores.

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