U2, Album By Album: 1980-1988
Since the full-scale reinvention of U2′s tours as an electro-savvy stadium extravaganza with the 1992-93 “Zoo TV” tour, the chatter about each worldwide venture centers on the new set. Most major touring bands now rely on massive fiber-optic screens that can shift settings with every song. But U2 are still big believers in the breathtaking tour colossus, whether it’s the giant arch and 40-foot lemon on the “Popmart” tour or the so-called “claw” that dominates the “U2 360” stage, which arrives Sunday in Norman at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
But as U2 descends on Oklahoma for the first time in 26 years, the most important reason to attend the “U2 360” concert is the same as it was back in 1983 at the Lloyd Noble Center: the songs. The following is a study guide for all that you can’t leave behind.
U2 had already released a three-song EP titled “U2 Three” in 1979 on CBS’s Irish label, but that modest recording did little to herald their 1980 Island debut “Boy,” and not many bands premiere so fully formed as U2 did with the opening track and first single, “I Will Follow.” Influences can be clearly heard (Public Image Ltd., The Clash, Joy Division), but U2 ably synthesized those sounds on “Boy” to create possibly the most identifiable sonic template of the post-Beatles era. But it’s not just the early anthemic sound of U2 on display: the band laid the groundwork for the atmospheric adventurism of “The Unforgettable Fire” with “The Ocean” and “Shadows and Tall Trees.”
“I Will Follow”
U2′s big, reverb-laden sound was perhaps even more fully realized on “October,” as shown by the dramatic opener “Gloria,” but U2′s second disc was botched when in 1981 someone stole a briefcase holding Bono’s lyrics notebook at a Portland, Ore. concert. “October” is the work of a great orator robbed of his script — the sound and fury is there, but it signifies nothing. Incidentally, the briefcase was returned to Bono five years ago, but since no songs from “October” make it into current U2 setlists, do not expect revisions anytime soon.
Gloria - U2
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