U2's third album War was the one that began the ascent after a promising first album in 1980 and a disappointing step back on their second. The album was released on February 28, 1983, but the news had already reached a newer, larger audience after the "New Year's Day" single had impacted radio and MTV that January. War would become the band's first album to reach #1 in England and would climb to #12 in the U.S., eventually selling four-million copies.
The process of selling all those records would take awhile, though, but as U2 arrived in America for the tour to support War, the campaign had already borne much fruit. "New Year's Day" peaked at #2 on the Radio and Records chart of the most-played rock songs in the country and MTV was featuring the striking video of the group performing in the snowy landscape of northern Sweden with ever-increasing regularity.
April 30, 1983 - down to Brown University in Providence to get a preview of U2's new stage show before the band arrived in Boston for two nights at the Orpheum Theater. Bono's voice had measurably improved and one third of the concert featured new material including "New Year's Day" and a powerful single followup - "Sunday Bloody Sunday." U2 closed out their set with another new song entitled "40," the band members slowly exiting the stage one by one until only Larry Mullen Jr. remained on the drums. After the last percussive crash, the recorded music of Clannad's "Harry's Game" filled the hall and signaled the end of the concert.
The show was so impressive that I took two weeks off and followed the tour around the east coast. On May 7th, U2 was featured at the State University of New York's Albany campus for Spring Weekend, which included opening sets from David Johansen and also Robert Hazard.
I had my camera along that day and took a load of shots. One of those became the cover of a latter edition of "Outside is America: U2 in the U.S.," my 1992 book, but the rest haven't been seen aside from the occasional Facebook post. At that point in time, U2 was a theater act, capable of selling, perhaps, 3000-tickets. The S.U.N.Y. crowd was a big one for the band in 1983; obviously that's something that would change dramatically in just a few years.