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    A rare 1978 image of U2 at Limerick (click on image to enlarge)

    An historic set of photographs of U2 at the Stella Ballroom, Limerick, during the Limerick Civic Week Pop ’78 Competition, on March 17, 1978 is due to come under the hammer at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London on June 23, 2010.

    It was the first time the band appeared under the name of U2. There was a prize of £500 and the promise of a record deal. They had entered the competition under the name they were using at the time, The Hype. However, they felt that if they did well in the competition, they would be stuck with this name and so changed to U2 at the last minute, a choice they had been considering adopting for a while.

    On the evening of the event the band found themselves up against a number of other, seemingly more experienced entrants and felt there was little hope of success. Bono recalled in the book ‘U2 On U2’, ”There were bands there that could play in time and in tune and with great confidence, all of which we couldn’t pull off. But, you know, some bands have everything but ‘it’. We had nothing but ‘it’.” They played three tracks, ‘Sweet Missions’, ‘Life On A Distant Planet’ and ‘The TV Song’ and, much to everyone’s astonishment, they were awarded first place. It was a pivotal moment for the band and Larry has commented that ”…We had no real idea how winning in Limerick would change our lives.”

    One of the images has been used in the photographer’s own publicity material in the past but the remainder are unpublished. The photographs, comprising thirteen strip negatives and a corresponding set of prints, 20.5 x 30.5cm (8 x 12in), to be sold with copyright, are estimated at £10,000 – 15,000.

    UPDATE:  The images failed to sell.

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