Today in 1983, U2 unleashed the powerful and moving Live at Red Rocks concert, recorded June 5th, 1983 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, United States on the group's War Tour.
The concert itself was affected by weather that was so bad, it’s was touch and go for the show to take place at all. Larry Mullen Jnr remembered "There was a lot of money riding on this; everything that was in the bank, basically. We were well organized, camera crews all over the gig. We brought extra lighting, searchlights, all kinds of stuff. And then it started to rain. Those were nail-biting times. Many of the crew were advising us to pull out, but in true U2 style, we carried on regardless”
After the two opening acts pulled out (including the Divinyls) due to the worsening weather, U2 and their manager Paul McGuinness thought that too much money had been invested to abort the concert, and they sympathized with the fans who had travelled to the venue in the poor weather. Accordingly, they decided to proceed with the concert as planned.
Many of the crew were not in agreement and wanted to walk off the set until McGuinness dissuaded the crew with an impromptu speech. where he said in no uncertain terms that the show would proceed as the band's entire livelihood was riding on this, and that this was one of the most pivotal moments in their career.
Bono went on the local radio that day to confirm that the Red Rocks concert was still taking place, and to promote a concert that the band planned for the following night at the CU Events Center to accommodate fans who were unable to attend the Red Rocks show. Adam Clayton said during the band's radio interviews, "We know it's raining now but we're sure it won't be when the show starts, so please come."
Two hours before the concert, the downpour subsided and settled into a misty drizzle. The 9,000-person venue had sold out, but because of the inclement weather, only about 4,400 fans attended.
However it still remains a pivotal moment in U2 history and arguably one of the most famous concerts ever stages at Red Rocks.
And here’s how the show started.