I was far far younger back in 1984. Just a few years out of school. Radio back then was AM. Stereo ?? Years away. I had started to follow this band of young guys around my age out of Dublin, Ireland. I had a few of their records. News broke on radio that they were to tour Australian finally in September 1984. I wanted to be there. Ticket sales back then were well in advance of shows and usually announced with days warning. As a young guy I had no money ready when tickets went of sale. They sold real fast for the four Sydney shows.
Devastated, I couldn't choose ebay - It was still years away. I could chance a scalper but that meant turning up on the day with cash and hoping I could buy. Not guaranteed and at what price ? Then I heard the car radio....Possibly 2SM back in those days. They had some U2 tickets to give away that day. I turned for home and rang work - Sick. Then stuck to the radio beside the phone.
Be the third caller they said. I was first caller. FAIL. Be the second caller - I was third caller. FAIL and so on it went. Then after what seemed hours I expected the usual hang-up when my call was answered..."Hi - Whats your name...Paul I answered....Well Paul your are our lucky final caller. That word jarred me - Was I about to succeed ?..Then the words rang in my ear and I still hear them today. "We have two tickets but if you want to take a risk we can make it four front row seats" (Its was all seats then !!). Hell...What do I do? I assumed I might just have a chance.....I know the band and their albums. "OK - I will do it", I said.
Ad break....Why do they do that ? "OK Paul...Here you are for the chance for the final tickets to U2's first ever Australian show. Front row seats for four. Name the band's first record"....WTF...What do I say...First Album..Boy. First single. First ...First WHAT....He said "record". He said RECORD... And I said it..."THREE". Then he said ..."Oh Paul sorry the first album was Boy" screamed in my ear down the line. NO I said. "Their first record was a limited release EP called Three. Boy was their first album. Not their first record." Silence............. " let me check with my producer"My heart was pounding....OK Paul seems we have a problem. So they said - You are definitely a fan and we agree. You get the tickets.
Tuesday 4th September 1984 my GF (now wife) and two mates (not U2 fans but keen on music) fronted early to the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Queued for a few hours and finally ntered and ran to our seats to fend off the squatters who would try to claim our space. How simple it was...No staging. Little lighting. Small PA. 4 lads and some amps. Bono and a mike stand. BB Kings band had instruments that were polished under the single spotties. (See pic)
As concerts go it was a disaster. Gear failures. Bono got the shits when his mike kept quitting. Then he and Edge had a disagreement over his amp and it cutting out mid song. Timing was a mess. They played on and kicked it. Great music and the talent was great then and has just got better. All the mistakes on the night summed up when Larry starts the encore with Gloria. A song played earlier in their set. Bono spits it again and says "Fuck get it right this time".
On the way out we bought tickets to the Thursday show...Far more polished. As has every show since. Best one ??? I still have a soft spot for Lovetown almost 5 years later to the day...Bono on the drums and Larry singing solo to Stand By Me. What a fun night...All recorded on a official VHS video I still have. Love Rescue Me was played that night on stage and NEVER heard on stage anywhere again until the 360 Tour - December 2010 Sydney in the presence of Dylan Geldof and Oprah.