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The Unforgettable Fire — The 80s were my rebel years!

U2 and me in the 1980s

Lj Ryan
5 min readDec 23, 2020


Well, I hope you enjoyed my little nostalgic trip down memory lane and my first encounters with a band called U2. My life in the seventies was slightly different to those entering their teens, but I loved and appreciated the freedom and trust provided by my Dad.

The eighties were different for me too, or do I just think that? They were my rebel years, lets put it this way, black was my favorite color to wear, arguing with my parents was a common pastime and a few jaunts working abroad was a regular summer habit.

As U2 evolved from a post-punk band of the late seventies to commercially viable rock demi-Gods in the eighties, I too grew from a rebellious teenager to a married woman in her early twenties, at the end of the 80s decade.

As I wrote about my second U2 concert in the RDS Main Hall, we’ll move on to my next encounter and their first concert in the “hallowed” grounds of Croke Park, Dublin. I actually can’t believe it was 35 years ago!

U2 was becoming one of the few bands to show interest in making great albums as well as hit singles. There were many bands out there that produced an album with say one or two hit songs, but with U2 each song on their albums released that decade, was guaranteed a hit if they chose to release it. Not many bands could keep up.

In Croke Park that sunny June day, the support acts included REM — yes, REM were U2’s support act and attempting to break Europe.

I decided early on to stand back at the lighting/sound stand (unsure of the technical name) which was based in the centre of the pitch. As I was of short stature, only 5’5”, and unable to wear heels on the grass pitch, I knew this crowd of 57,000 was bigger than any concert I was lucky enough to attend. So, I decided the stand would be safer, providing a clear view of the stage. My friends decided to wander around for a better view, but I was happy with my find. Little did I know that my future husband was somewhere in that crowd too, maybe I should’ve wandered around the pitch more…

As the support acts finished you could feel the atmosphere building, there was no such thing as recording the concert on your smartphone, etc. You…



Lj Ryan

Working in Sales Admin but practiced life under many other careers. Proud member of The Independent Irish Authors Collective, writing is Lj’s life after family