Busy day today! As soon as I was at the venue I was picked up by my old friend Martin Hanlin who was the drummer in another Scottish band – The Silencers who supported The Alarm on the ‘Eye Of The Hurricane‘ tour back in 1987 – 1988. We first met when we both played with U2 at Cardiff Arm’s Park on the Joshua Tree Tour. What a day that was.
Martin has a different story of that day. His story begins with a last minute phone call asking The Silencers to fill in for Karl Wallinger’s World Party who had to pull out at the last minute. According to Martin, The Silencers were subject to a certain amount of heckling and bottle throwing but managed to soldier on and complete the set.
My recollection of that day was of an absolutely storming gig from The Alarm. We pulled out all the stops that day because it was in Cardiff, Wales and The Alarm was a Welsh band. We played the ‘Bells Of Rhymney’ which was the Idris Davies poem set to music by American folk legend Pete Seeger, I even managed to fit in the Welsh national anthem on my harmonica before we closed with ‘Blaze Of Glory’. It was the sort of homecoming bands dream about. Martin also remembers what happened when The Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde came out after The Alarm and were greeted by a lone stray bottle being thrown up onto the stage.
“If anyone throws another bottle at me we are out of here” says Chrissie Hynde. Queue a ton of bottle throwing. The Pretenders made it through about 3 songs before exiting stage right – at speed! U2 came out in a most unorthodox way by arriving to play along to the pre-show music which happened to be John Lennon’s version of ‘Stand By Me’. It was a brilliant and surprising entrance and showed their mastery of playing to huge audiences (50,000 plus). There were no big screens either just a huge personality on the stage named Bono, backed by a band with a personality, that would soon write itself large across the world using one letter and a number – U2.
I remember Bono coming over to me during ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’ and planting a big kiss on my cheek. It was the last time The Alarm opened for U2 and it was a day to remember forever.
This and a whole ton of other stories formed the basis of a 2-3 hour interview conducted for KX93.5 radio station in Laguna Beach, California (It broadcasts at 10.00 am (PCT) on June 30th and can be heard on the stations website.
We took a walk down to Pearl beach and I was greeted by the sight of Dolphins diving through the surf. It was a beautiful site and a harbinger of good luck apparently.
Later that evening at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, the ‘Get On The List’ drive was in full force ‘outside’ the venue which was a great idea until we realised that without the sun no one could read the forms to actually ‘Get On The List’. I had already made the speech alerting people to the presence of the donor booth but the venue was so dark and packed inside we couldn’t find anywhere to regroup. I came up with a plan B. I made an announcement from the stage at the end of the Big Country set (which was another one to remember), that we were going to re-open the booth after the houselights came up. As soon as I got back to the dressing room, I grabbed my camp jacket and dived off the stage and joined LHS Volunteers Eliot and Ruth who had done a great job getting the drive up and running within seconds. It’s always interesting to meet people from all walks of life after the show. Most want autographs and photos and some have heartbreaking stories to tell of cancer battles being waged within the generations of their own family life. There are some fans who have travelled all the way from Australia just to see Big Country tonight! It’s a good day to be alive!
Rare footage of U2 at Cardiff Arms Park 1987.
Love Hope Strength Video Trailer See the video here
Mike Peters appears at House of Commons for Marrow Drive to Celebrate Parliament Increasing Eligibility Requirements of Donors in the UK from 17-30 to 17-55 years of age BBC News