MARTYN JOSEPH in BELFAST 2015 - Errigle and Fitzroy


U2 SOI&E photo 1


performances by Chris Wilson, Dave Thompson, Jonny Fitch, Shannon Clements & Andy Patterson

unpacking the Belfast gigs by Steve Stockman (author of Walk On; The Spiritual Journey of U2) and Angela Pancella (

in Fitzroy Church (on the corner of University Street and Rugby Road BT7 1HL)

on Sunday November 22nd 2015 at 7pm

This next week sees U2 play in Belfast for the first time in almost 20 years. The band have had a political relationship with the city since December 1982 when Bono introduced the new song Sunday Bloody Sunday and told the Maysfield crowd that if they didn't like it they'd never play it again. That they are still playing it over 30 years later tells you the response. 

Bono always said that, though they didn't grow up where the bombs were going off, U2 grew up where the bombs were being made and that that gave them the right to comment. Of course the bombs did go off one black Friday in Dublin. On May 17 1974 bombs tore Dublin apart. Bono could have been there but made a decision to change his plans. His friend Andy Rowen wasn't so lucky and the 11 year old was caught up amongst the debris and dead bodies with bombs going off around him. On Cedarwood Road where Bono lived across the street from Andy that would have ben their closest childhood encounter with the horror of the Troubles. It is now a song called Raised By Wolves.

U2 are meticulous in what the day do on stage. This particular tour is getting rave reviews from fans and those harder to impress because of the theatrical visual nature of the set. When they arrive in Belfast on Wednesday night, for a two date stay, you can be sure that Bono will have thought it through. Where do these songs connect with the Northern Ireland peace process as it stalls just now? What way can these songs be used to make a prophetic contribution? The man who stood between John Hume and David Trimble, in that Bob Marley like way, in April 1998 to support the Good Friday agreement has a vested interest in our peace process. How will this band respond?

I have now seen the show and it is spectacular in staging, visuals and raw emotion. Belfast is all over it. Our political murals, the debris that falls during End Of The World was a pointed comment to our brand new agreement. many of the atrocities of the Troubles were named in remembrance... What excited me most was that the heart of this show is a song cycle that we in Fitzroy had spotted a year ago and we will return to perform those core songs and reflect this Sunday night. 

Fitzroy players and singers will perform the songs and Steve Stockman will unpack what U2 with their songs. Fitzroy is renowned, across the world, for its evening on Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springteen, Bob Dylan, Christy Moore etc. They recently built their entire morning service around the hymns and songs of Van Morrison, the day before his Cyprus Avenue concerts. They have done U2 before but this evening will be a very specific look at these Belfast shows. New voices and new thoughts will be added to the mix. We are thrilled to have Angela Pancella contributor to with us to compare and contrast the North American and Belfast shows!

All welcome...


Kevin Fenton

Sounds great. Wish I could be there. Anyway of getting transcripts/ recordings Steve?

Angela Pancella

Careful...when the subject is U2 I can go on for quite a while! How much time have we got? ;)

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