Yes concert (older) news

M. Teresa Doherty ([email protected])
Thu, 06 Aug 1998 10:59:34 -0400

Good morning, wirelings!

a small bit of a longer essay on the vote this summer in Ireland, with
the relevant section (U2-related) snipped here:

Deaglan de Breadun, Northern Editor of The Irish Times
Irish America, July/August 98

Ulster Says Yes
    The following night there took place what may have been the decisive
event of the campaign: the U2 concert. Word had leaked out over the
weekend that ‘the boys’ were heading north: The Irish Times revealed the
plan in its Monday editions.
    It was a risk for U2 but an even bigger gamble for Trimble. Here he
was, about to go on stage with the uncrowned king of Irish nationalism,
John Hume, and a rock band from the ‘Free State.’
    There was a distinct anxiety in the Trimble camp that some
republican episode in U2’s past might be dredged up and used to damage
the UUP. Even this reporter was discreetly quizzed: it was like the old
McCarthyite days in America – are you now or have you ever been
fellow-travelers of republicanism? I laughed at this: U2 have
traditionally been regarded as ‘unsound’ on the national question and
have irritated, even outraged, republicans with their iconoclastic
    But no doubt Trimble was thinking, as he walked on-stage at
Belfast’s Waterfront Hall: this had better work. The main performers
that night were Ash, a successful young band with a Protestant
membership from Downpatrick. The kids lapped-up their offerings but to
my medieval ears it was pure noise. I had to leave the hall for a while
but full marks to Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory who lasted the
pace better than I did.
    A good proportion of the audience were young, middle-class
Protestants. Maybe it was the darkness in the auditorium that gave them
the courage but when Trimble and Hume stood side by side with Bono, the
cheers were deafening. It seemed like one of those ‘defining moments’
that the commentators like to write about. The kids seemed to be saying:
‘Right on!’

Teresa in Richmond
today's hot pick: Race Against Time (okay, okay, it's weird, but it's
still pretty cool. . . )

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