Early Shows

U2 started with the name Feedback, and eventually became The Hype, before finally settling on U2, or U-2 as it was commonly written in the earlier days. From the formation of the band in 1976 to the release of Boy in late 1980, U2 played a number of shows throughout Ireland and the UK, and these earliest shows are captured below.

Beginnings as Feedback and The Hype

Although Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam were the core of the group, the early years saw a few attempts to figure out the line up of the band. The earliest meeting included Ivan McCormick and possibly Peter Martin. Peter never continued, but Ivan rehearsed with U2 for some time before being told he was holding them back from playing clubs because of his age. Maeve O'Regan would sing with the band at an early show at Mount Temple. Ivan's sister, Louise McCormick and Orla Dunne joined the band as backing vocalists, and Orla played the flute during an appearance at St. Fintans Assembly Hall in early 1977.

Once the band became The Hype, the line up was pretty standard, with The Edge's brother Dik being the fifth member of the band. The band moved out of playing the school cafeteria, and started playing small clubs, and building up a following. On March 4, 1978 they performed their last show as The Hype, saying goodbye to Dik who would join the Virgin Prunes, and returning to the stage later that same night to perform as U2 for the first time. This set of dates takes us up to U2 becoming U2.

Early Irish Shows 1978

Throughout the remainder of 1978, U2 performed under the name U2, and booked a number of shows in and around Dublin. The band appeared under the name U2 was at the Harp Lager talent show in Limerick, where the band would take home the top prize, which included a recording session at CBS Records. The name was used throughout 1978 and there were a lot of varation on how it was presented in gig listings, including The U2s, U-2, U Two, and even V2 in error.

Many of the gigs played in 1978 were at smaller clubs in Dublin, but they also ventured outside of Dublin on a few occasions, including trips to Cork, Tralee, and possibly one to Ennis. (Due to the death of Larry Mullen's mother, it is not known if that concert went ahead) Many of the shows in Dublin were at the club known as McGonagle's, which in another lifetime had been The Crystal Ballroom where Bono's parents used to dance. Most of the shows featured U2 as a support act for others, including bands such as The Greedy Bastards, XTC, Advertising, Modern Heirs, The Vipers, and Revolver. They also played the New Wave Festival and the Free Peace Festival in 1978.

Early Irish Shows 1979

As the band moved into 1979 they continued to play what gigs they could find, and continued to improve their sound. This would include a number of appearances at Trinity College, the Baggot Inn, McGonagle's and the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. A number of trips were made to the Arcadia Ballroom in Cork, and the band also played a number of shows at the Dandelion Car Park. The band would also appear in Trallee for two nights, Carlow, and they played their first show outside of the Republic of Ireland at North University of Ulster in Coleraine, opening for Squeeze. An appearance at the Cork Opera House in Cork was televised.

Towards the end of 1979 things were starting to come together for U2. "Three" had been released, and had made it onto the Irish charts, the EP had been recorded in August 1979. In December they would be invited to London to record with Chas de Whalley again, and they would book a series of concerts around that date while in London, which are in the next section.

U-2-3 Tour [UK Tour]

At the end of 1979 U2 headed off to do a small tour of venues in the UK. The tour was called the "U-2-3 Tour" even though the band were not the headline act at many of the shows. They named it after the EP that they had released in September. U2 headline four of the eleven shows, and support acts like Dolly Mixture, The Beat and Doll by Doll at others.

The show on December 2 is almost cancelled when Fashion drops out a week before the show, but Back to Zero and Secret Affair are organized as a replacement. U2 are themselves a last minute replacement when the Human League have to cancel an opening slot for the Talking Heads at the Electric Ballroom for two nights. Both Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) and U2 take the place of the Human League for these two nights. A planned show on December 12 supporting The Photos at Brunel University is cancelled when vocalist Wendy Wu suffers from voice issues, but they are able to add a show supporting Doll by Doll at the end of the tour to make up for missing that show.

On December 16 the band would also return to the studio in London to record with producer Chas de Whalley, recording their single "Another Day" as well as another unique track, "Pete the Chop."

Late 1979 / Early 1980 Shows

Upon returning to Ireland, U2 they would play three additional shows in Ireland, in Cork and Dublin in late 1979.

In 1980, U2 played a handful of shows in Ireland before, and after their first formal tour of Ireland, which can be seen in listings below. Four shows happened before this tour, and three shows happened on the heels of that tour including a show in England at Acklam Hall.

Some listings include a show on Feburary 3 at the Bridge House in Tullamoore, Ireland, but this show is actually on March 2 and was part of the "Come Out to Play Tour" listed below.

A concert planned and advertised for Ballina on March 22, 1980 is confirmed as never happening. U2's first show in that town was in May 1980.

Come Out to Play Tour and Extras [Irish Tour and Extras]

This tour was named "Come Out to Play" in honour of U2's new single, "Another Day" which was released in February 1980 on CBS Records. This name can be seen on posters and other promotional material for the Irish tour, including a photograph of Bono looking at the advertising taken after the National Stadium show in Dublin, and a poster for a later show at Crescent Hall in Limerick adverting, "U2 Come Out to Play: 'Another Day' New Single on CBS." The name of the tour is taken from the lyric for the song. (Early reports shared that the tour would be called Tour de France, which the press called confusing, so the young band changed names.)

This tour was a headlining tour of stops in Ireland. The tour poster included all of the regular tour stops, and also included the date for U2's performance at the marriage of Larry Mullen's sister. The tour was just called the "Irish Tour" in the ad that ran in "Hot Press" but it did confirm that the single "Another Day" was coming out, and also listed that support for the shows was by Kidz and The Shade, who were alternating support. There is some confusion on the February 29 date, as the National Rhythm Guide in Hot Press lists that the band played Dundalk that night, while the Irish Times lists the venue as the Town Hall in Newry. An ad for the Newry show includes ticketing information, and is the more likely to have happened. Dundalk is just south of the border with Northern Ireland, while Newry is just on the other side of the border, about 25km North.

11 O'Clock Tick Tock / Touring Again [Irish Tour]

Ads for this tour listed eight dates in total, from May 9 - May 17, 1980. Support for all of the shows was The Myster Men, and ads for this tour included mention of the new single, "11 O'Clock Tick Tock," released in Ireland on May 16. The headline of the ad read, "U2 Touring Again."

An announcement in Hot Press about this tour stated, "U2 embark on their second major tour of Ireland on 9th May, taking in eight dates in all. The tour coincides with the release of their third Irish single, "11 O'Clock Tick Tock". It will also be their first internationally released single (on Island). The support slot on all dates of the tour will be filled by The Myster Men, a Dublin 4-piece who have drawn considerable admiration on their early dates and whose current demo was produced by Bono of U2."

Although the tour ad, and announcement, listed a date at the N.I.H.E. in Limerick, however, it was confirmed by the promoter that it did not happen although it was still being advertised days prior to the show.

11 O'Clock Tick Tock [UK Tour]

The 11 O'Clock Tick Tock tour was done to support their first single on Island Records, and was supported with promotional ads paid for by Island Records. The official tour ad included stops from May 22 at the Hope and Anchor in London, to the show on June 8 at the Half Moon in London. All of the dates on this tour were in England. Press for the tour stated, "Dublin based U2 begin a short British tour later this month, just after the release of their first "official" British single on Island." Support for all of the shows was by Birmingham band Fashion. Although posters include a date at the Marquee on June 7, it appears that U2 did not play that show, as Fashion was advertised as playing elsewhere that night, and the Marquee advertised a band called White Spirit playing instead. The show originally planned for the Half Moon the following day was moved ahead a day.

Summer Shows 1980 / Three Days Tour

After touring to support "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" in both Ireland and the UK, U2 would take it easy throughout the summer and focus on recording the album Boy but a handful of shows were performed.

This would include the three dates advertised as the "Three Days Tour" in the UK, including appearances at the Clarendon Hotel, the Half Moon Club, and the Moonlight Club, and a later added fourth date at the Marquee Club. And there were also scattered dates around Ireland in this period.

Related News: Early Tours