OK, so what happened 25 years ago, in a small pub in London, that now millions of people, would love to have been there. In fact there are that many people that say they were there. The Hope and Anchor pub must be the size of Wembley! But 25 years ago in front of a couple of hundred a little known Irish band played their first live gig in London.

What a difference 25 years makes, they can now command thousands and their tickets sell out in a matter of minutes. When they are on tour they are called the Greatest Rock Band alive, and are known to put on the Greatest Show on Earth!

Who is this wonder band? None other than U2, as the saying goes from acorns do grow mighty oaks! Yes 25 years ago this year they played their first live gig in London, at the same time they released their first recording, on something younger people may not have heard of, vinyl. U2 –3 was their first single 25 years ago, only 1000 copies were made and individually numbered.

The first time I came across U2 I was a mere boy of 14 and we were sharing records around the lads when the War album came out, not long after New Years Day had been released in 1983. What a fantastic introduction to their music.

I never got to see them live until November 1984 during the Unforgettable Fire Tour. I saw them at the Apollo Theatre in Manchester and all I could say was wow. Here was a band that was playing live that actually sounded better than their studio recorded albums. There aren’t many bands today that can say they are great recording artists but even better live.

The reviews for the opening of The Elevation Tour in 2001 quiet simply reviewed the show as The Greatest Show on Earth. One could dismiss that as journalistic hyperbole, if you had never seen them live. I took a friend with me to the MEN arena in Manchester to see them, she had never been a fan and she came out and said she had just witnessed the best live band of all time.

I often wonder what the band would have said if asked “Where do you see yourselves in 25 years time?” in 1979. I have followed then and I will follow, I have thrown that brick, had that New Year’s Day. Over the years the band have developed, and so has their music, and you can never be stuck in a moment with it.

25 years after their first live gig in London and their first recording, U2 once again are in the studio and doing post-production work on their new album. I for one cannot wait to hear the new album. U2 have come a long way in 25 years, The Edge has learnt that there are more than three chords on the guitar (his words – not mine). I for one cannot wait for the new album and tour. You played the MEN last time, how about the City of Manchester Stadium this time?? And what’s the betting the 60,000 would go within minutes.

By the way – I am going to be at the front of any queue, so get in line behind me!