U2 – The Garden Of Eden (Godfather GR 571/572)

The Garden Of Eden (Godfather GR 571/572)

The Garden Of Eden collects two of the earliest live recordings of U2.  After forming in 1976, playing many gigs in Dublin, changing their name several times and releasign several singles, they signed with Island Records and began work on their debut LP Boy in March 1980 to be released in October 1980.  Two of their earliest gigs outside of Dublin were in Tullamore.   

There have been very few U2 silver boots from their early days since most labels, including Godfather, focus upon the tour-at-hand for their releases.  To the label’s credit, they often do revisit U2’s early days such as on last year’s Born On The Bayou (Godfather Records GR 386) and The Garden Of Edenis the first time the Tullamore tapes have been pressed onto silver disc.

Both shows are in good to very good sound quality and appear to be complete.  The first of the two is shorter since U2 were the opening act.  These tapes are important since they capture U2 at the critical time of their first LP and were defining their sound.  There are also many rare songs, some of which have yet to be released. 

Garden Of Eden Club, Tullamore, Ireland – March 2, 1980

Disc 1 (64:19):  Silver Lining, Speed of Life, The Magic Carpet, Stories for Boys, Trevor, Another Time Another Place, Another Day, The Dream Is Over, Pete the Chop, Cartoon World, Jack In The Box, Shadows and Tall Trees, A Day Without Me, Twilight, Boy-Girl, Out of Control

The show on March 2nd starts off with “Silver Lining,” and early version of “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” and this is one of only two tapes with the song in this form.  Other rarities include “The Magic Carpet,” which also went under the name “Life On A Distant Planet” and “No Man’s Land.” 

This gig also received a long review in the New Musical Express of March 22nd, 1980.  In “U2 Can Make It In The Rock Business,” Paul Morley observed:  “U2 are smashing up against this tradition as much as daft rock developments elsewhere, determined to introduce original music and manner to backward Irish youth. A sense of rebellion, a gesture towards this exit. How futile is it? Bono and U2 sometimes wonder, but don’t give up the fight.  If with the people of Irish city centres there’s an undercurrent feel of inferiority — apparent and actual through outside enforcement — the youth of Tullermeny aren’t even aware that they’re missing out on anything.”

Morley continues:  “The U2 opening blast is exhilarating. There is minimal response from the audience. A few lost souls wander aimlessly down to the front and stare up at Bono’s frantic, manic animation, briefly bemused. Some gently sway. Sat along the front of the stage bored looking girls can’t even be bothered to turn around and see what all the commotion is about. The audience peers at U2 like they’re looking at animals in the zoo. They’re not used to this intimidating energy, the volume, Bono’s mobile passion. Momentarily curious, some wander away. Those that do dance could be dancing to anything.

“U2 are a four-piece rock group stretching the possibilities of that line up to new accessible levels. It’s not possible to say that U2 sound like blah, which is great. But let’s toss a few images about to gauge the potential extent of U2’s mesmerizing all round appeal.”

Bono was quoted in the story, saying,  “I felt ashamed because we didn’t work,” Bono tells me later. “I actually saw it as a great challenge. I actually felt when we walked out on that stage that we might be able to meet that challenge. That’s why I wasn’t pissing about when I rushed on shouting GOOD EVENING EVERYONE! like exaggerated…I was trying to pretend that there were lots of people loving us there. For maybe 30, 35 minutes I tried that and then I just felt it slowing. It became like slow, motion. We blew the challenge, and that’s bad.  Tonight we could have shown what rock ‘n’ roll can do, but we failed.”

Garden Of Eden Club, Tullamore, Ireland – May 11, 1980

Disc 2 (70:27):  11 O’Clock Tick Tock, Speed of Life, The Magic Carpet, Another Time Another Place, Another Day, The Dream Is Over, The Electric Co., Cartoon World, Things To Make and Do, Touch, Stories for Boys, Shadows and Tall Trees, Pete the Chop, Boy-Girl, Out of Control, Another Day, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock

The sound is about the same for the May 11th show, two months afterwards.  There are fewer people in the audience, sounding as if there are less than twenty.  It’s more like an open rehearsal than an actual gig. 

However, the performance is much better.  It starts again with “Silver Lining” which had been renamed “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” by this point.  The set is similar to the March show.  A new song “Trevor,” which would evolve into “Touch,” is included.  Bono mentions the Morley article after “Another Time, Another Place,” apologizing for the misspelling of the venue’s location.  After the set, they play both “Another Day” and “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” for the second time due to lack of material.

The Garden Of Eden is an essential set for the U2 collector since it has them at such an early point their career in generally listenable sound quality.  Godfather’s packaging is one again stellar for the product with very early photographs and informative liner notes.   

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