U2 – Live At Uncle Sam’s (The Godfatherecords G.R.962)
Uncle Sam’s, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA – April 9, 1981
(78:59) The Ocean, 11 O’clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, An Cat Dubh, Into The Heart, Another Time Another Place, The Electric Company, Things To Make And Do, Stories For Boys, Boy/ Girl, Out Of Control, A Day Without Me, 11 O’clock Tick Tock, The Ocean, I Will Follow. Bonus Tracks: Baltard Pavillion, Paris, France – December 3, 1980: Another Time Another Place, The Cry/ The Electric Co., Things To Make And Do, Twilight, I Will Follow, 11 O’clock Tick Tock
U2’s second American tour to support Boy took place with a three month jaunt that found the band doing their first proper tour of the Country hitting all the major markets. For the band’s stop in Minneapolis they played that city’s most famous rock club, Uncle Sam’s aka First Avenue, a venue who’s claim to fame was that many of the live sequences of Purple Rain were filmed there. It has also been said that the band worked on music that would appear on their follow up record October at an extended sound check prior to this show, one would have to surmise that they were working on the music at every sound check by this point. For the latest U2 release by Godfathers, they utilize and excellent audience source of the complete concert, the sound is perfect with a natural sound and mix of instruments and vocals and there is virtually no hiss to be heard and it seems the taper found a place of isolation as there is no crowd noise or interference near the taper although you can hear some distant chatter, this is one of those recordings that makes you forget about soundboards.
The recording begins with bass and guitar and as the full band begins The Ocean you find that the ambient music sets the stage for the evening’s performance. The band waste little time and go intro high energy versions of 11 O’clock and I Will Follow, the latter gets a nice cheer as Bono tells the audience “You’ve heard it, our single” as it’s obvious the band was starting to garner much needed airplay. An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart is played in combination as on the Boy record, the former seems to conjure up a darkness not usually found in the band’s early work but would expand on their latter work, Into The Heart brings things back into daylight nicely.
“We’re from Dublin and We’re called U2″ is Bono’s short speech that also has him thanking the audience for the warm welcome and leads into Another Time, Another Place, the band would play the Boy album almost complete and one of the “rarities” is a version of the b-side to the A Day Without Me single called Things To Make And Do. Bono tells the audience “We were told to expect a very conservative type audience when we came to your country” prior to Stories for Boys, he likes the typical mid west answer and the band play a smoking version of the song, The Edge plays the descending riff perfectly and one must also comment of Adam Clayton’s bass playing as he has been nailing it throughout the entire performance. There is a fade and tape flip after Out Of Control, no music is lost and is seamless. A Day Without Me is very powerful, Bono tells the crowd “This is where I get to play…no laughing” as he gets to play a little guitar, this addition makes for a fuller sound and the band play a storming version of A Day Without Me that ends the main set and there is another tape fade thankfully brief and again no music is lost. The group is obviously feeling the good vibes as Bono tells them “You heard it before…hear it again” and the band proceed to play 11’Oclock Tick Tock and The Ocean and I Will Follow for a second time as encores and a quite fitting way to end an extremely well played and enjoyable concert.
The bonus material is a 25 minute fragment of the last concert of an extensive UK tour in Paris, France at the Baltard Pavillion, it is an incomplete concert missing the first three songs of the band set. The sound is very good yet more distant than the previous concert and a very slight trace of hiss can be heard otherwise it is well balance and extremely enjoyable. Another Time Another Place sounds melancholy, the audience is very quiet and the beginning of The Electric Company is striking as it seems to cut through the silence like a knife. We get to hear Twilight, as Bono introduces the song there is virtually no reaction and sounds like they are playing in isolation, good for us as it produced a wonderful recording but some of the energy is missing, Bono’s voice also sounds a bit rough as he sings the “Twilight” high pitched chorus. Things do heat up a bit with I Will Follow that ends the set, there is a tape cut / fade either due to tape change and the few seconds of 11’Oclock Tick Tock is missing. Although incomplete it is an interesting document of the bands first concert in Paris, France.
The trifold sleeve is wonderfully adorned with photos of a very young U2 and is mostly live shots plus a couple posed ones, the tour dates for the Boy 3rd leg are also printed on the inner sleeve. The Don always produces excellent U2 releases and has documented the band’s entire touring history, this release is another fine addition to the collection and is most certainly worth getting.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)