Dave was known as "George" back in his days with Rocky DeValera & The Gravediggers & The Vipers.
31/03/1981 The Club Foot
U2 The early dayz
Boy, 3rd Leg North America & Europe 1981
31-03-1981 The Club Foot, Austin, USA
Grapes submitted by Kirk Woller
This was a very good show and in a club really rather small. I still have my ticket, and I remember that KLBJ (when it was still privately owned) had played I Will Follow and one other song (maybe Twilight?) on the radio the afternoon before the show, after I had come home from engineering classes at UT. I had never heard of the band before (but had a great interest in the latest creations from Europe), but immediately knew this band had an interestingly different sound. I asked my friend Tom if he wanted to go see a band that night at Club Foot, but he turned me down (much to his later chagrine).
I checked the Austin Chronicle and sure enough, there they were, to follow a warm-up band I can't remember (but is on my ticket stored away somewhere, maybe Texas Instruments???) I bought my ticket at Inner Sanctum right off of the Drag across from the University. The ticket was about $6 (and maybe some tax or handling fee), which was a lot for me at the time, as my part-time job paid about $3.35/hour before taxes and I was working my way through school. And I decided, unusually, to buy the album (Boy), so intrigued I was by their sound.
They came on late (midnight?), and I remember that Bono played a xylophone throughout the set, which I have never seen him do any time afterwards (a shame). It mirrored the songs more exactly from the album, giving them that haunting boyish sound when you included the Edge's backing vocals. I seem to remember they were all dressed in black (though I am not sure about it) and they looked, felt, and even gave off an air that said...not from Texas, not anything I had experienced before, but from another place (Ireland, it turned out! :)). The odor of "poppers" and clove cigarettes was in the air, and the crowd seemed warm and ready to experience this band.
I stood right next to the stage and during one song placed my hand on Adam's bass (the stage was about 3 feet high, perfect for a club show) just to see how he would react, doing it smoothly and calmly so that he saw I meant only to exchange a moment with him. He didn't flinch a bit, kept on playing, didn't back up, and just glanced at me with a brief, warm smile. They were all so young, and all about a year or two younger that even I was.
Perhaps Bono was starting a tradition, but I remember that he pulled a girl from the audience to dance with him during one of the songs. In a concert the next year or so at a bigger venue (Opry House? maybe one to two thousand people), they offered up a guitar and my friend jumped at the chance and played some Hendrix on stage while they backed him up on his selection. A great way to break down the usual wall between the audience and their personal performing space.
Later they passed around some fruit, grapes and strawberries (I think) for those close to the stage and I remember handing the stem back to Bono after eating a few (to complete the circle, was my thought) who placed it on top of a speaker nearby with a nod my way. The breaking of bread, so to speak, with the band was a very nice touch, I thought. This definitely wasn't just a fad of the day punk band, but one with some obviously thoughtful and intelligent band members.
The set list, as memory serves, really consisted of Boy played front to back, with at least two encores of I Will Follow played following a continuous repetitious rapping on the wooden stage by those standing at the front. I truly don't remember, though, the exact set but know it was primarily limited to Boy and maybe some lesser known, currently unreleased, or future October tunes. I knew very little about this young band or their music on the day of the show, but definitely felt that something magical was happening at the time.
Some of the details of this show are quite vivid, others have faded over the years. I wished I had gone outside to the rear door to get their autographs on my brand new Boy LP (which I could hardly afford as a poor engieering student) but, alas, I went home to get a little sleep for some tough 8am classes and a 6am wake up call. But before I left I talked briefly with each band member and shook Bono's hand. His handshake was electric for a 20 year old, and I knew he was going places. If I had had the money and they were selling stock, I would have bought as much as I could have afforded to buy.
I saw U2 a few more times at ever larger venues in Austin, but this intimate first show with a few hundred audience members in a converted warehouse in downtown Austin was the most memorable and best of the lot. I have been a lifelong fan and my feelings have been vindictated by their amazing success and influence on various politicians and causes around the world.