All good things come to an end, but first they come from a beginning
Last week I blogged about a U2 concert
I have seen them in stadiums like Croke Park, Wembley, Twickenham and even the RDS.
The couple of times I saw them indoors were particularly special. But at some stage their concerts were all indoors.
During their recent Belfast show, their singer Bono talked about their first time playing in Belfast – it was in the university student bar, and they were the support act to Squeeze.
The first time I saw U2 was about 6 years after that, and Squeeze were the support act to them (yes, Jools Holland was still with them at the time) and the audience was about 100 times bigger (57,000). For what it’s worth, the other support acts were In Tua Nua, The Alarm and REM (when Michael Stipe had hair).
But it all had to start somewhere. Legend has it that it was in the drummer’s kitchen after he put up an advert on a notice board at school. The bass player was the original manager.
Many bands start and fail to become stars. They go back to normal jobs, or non-famous jobs in music. If they’re lucky they become cult heroes and have an annual reunion that is attended by an audience about the same age as they are.
I saw In Tua Nua last year. They were joined by members of Aslan, Four of Us, Cactus World News and An Emotional Fish. Names that any fan of Irish music in the 80s will remember with a smile, and it was magnificent.
Some bands start and succeed to varying degrees. Some become massively successful, some make a living out of it.
REM went on to become an enormously successful international band and did the rare thing of separating while still “big”. Squeeze and The Alarm still have a loyal following and can still tour theatres annually, but U2 kept getting bigger. A fortnight after I saw them, they would play Live Aid, one of the most memorable performances of the day because Bono decided he wanted to join the audience.
U2 increased their audience by a factor of 100 in 6 years. Over 6 years, not 1 in 100 bands would become as big as In Tua Nua, never mind Squeeze or The Alarm.
I’m not a great guitar player, so it was probably best that I followed a career in dentistry and orthodontics. Besides, no one wants to see me in leather trousers.
Providing a patient with treatment to get them a great smile that they would be delighted with is a lot more predictable than starting a successful rock band, so I leave the rock stuff to the professionals and I work on creating great smiles. But that treatment has to start somewhere – you have to get in touch with us and ask for an appointment, same as those four guys assembled in that kitchen.
Many things start and fail.
Some things start and succeed.
Nothing succeeds without starting.