U2 Confirm 6 Irish Dates In Dublin and Belfast For November
U2 are coming home! The news many U2 fans have been waiting to hear since the band announced their current iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE world tour at the end of last year.
“We are coming home … we just had to make it happen.” Bono tells Brian Boyd of The Irish Times.
U2 will play Dublin and Belfast in Novemver
This morning, Wednesday 9 September, the band’s official website, U2.com, announced a run of six shows for the Irish fans. U2 will play two nights at Belfast’s SSE Arena on 18 and 19 November and four shows on hometurf at Dublin’s 3Arena on 23, 24, 27 and 28 November.
U2 tickets for all Irish shows will go on sale at 9am next Monday, 14 September, while subscribers of the official U2 fanclub will receive an email invitation for a special pre-sale.
The band will donate €2 million raised from the new Irish dates to Music Generation, which is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme that the band has been supporting for quite some time.
Like an Irish wedding
The sold-out tour has already played across the North American continent and is currently mid-way through its European leg. The band have explained on several occasions that the lack of Irish shows was not intentional but down to logistics.
“We are coming home … we just had to make it happen,” – Bono (2015)
Always ones eager to impress with grand statements and even bigger stage productions, Bono revealed that the band had to literally reformat the show in order to fit into a smaller venue for Irish shows.
“I am so happy we are bringing this home,” said Bono. “These Irish shows will be like an Irish wedding. It is always tricky planning a wedding – who sits besides who could ruin it!”
Since the band launched their European leg last week in Turin, the media was speculating when the band would be playing Ireland. On Monday rumours started spreading on local Belfast newspapers about dates in Belfast, some cited U2 guitarist The Edge as their source. Yesterday the fansite U2Start.com broke the news with a post to their Facebook of the two U2 Belfast SSE Arena shows.
The announcement of Irish dates is big news for U2, their fans and Ireland. Playing Belfast is even bigger news due to a long and close link between the band and their Northern Irish supporters. However, the upcoming November dates will mark the first time in 18 years that U2 return to Northern Ireland for a headline concert. The last time the band included Northern Ireland on their tour schedule was on 26 August 1997 at Belfast’s Botanic Gardens as part of the Pop Mart world tour.
The first time U2 performed to their fans in NI was part of their first-ever headline tour in 1980 when the band played to a handful of students at the Belfast Queen’s University. The gig was broadcast on TV and is one of the earliest live footage of the up-and-coming young punks from Dublin.
Watch U2 perform Out of Control on 1 February 1980 live at Belfast’s Queen’s University
No business like homeshow business for U2
These newly announced shows promise to be of epic proportions, and aren’t to be missed. Irish U2 dates are not like any other U2 concert for the fans and U2 fans expect the band to give special treatment to their homecoming concerts.
They first booked Dublin’s Croke Park back in 1983 when the band arrived home at the end of the WAR Tour, their first major headline tour, and they performed there on subsequent tours in 1985 for the final nights of The Unforgettable Fire tour and again in 1987 when the band was on their world-conquering Joshua Tree world tour.
Watch U2 perform Bad at their 1987 homecoming concerts at Dublin Croke Park
But it was the 1989 New Year’s Eve concert at Dublin’s Point Depot that made U2’s home concerts a real adventure and must-see event for fans from all around the world who would travel to Ireland just to see U2 live at home.
Before the Internet, U2 allowed the concert to be broadcast on radio to a world-wide audience and encouraged fans to tape and share the concert bootlegs amongst each other – 25 years before the free Apple give-away release, one might want to add here.
Watch U2 welcome the new decade during their 1989/1990 NYE concert at Dublin’s Point Depot (now 3Arena)
What do you want? What songs do you want to hear?
Considering the current tour is a celebration of the band’s early days as a band, the Irish U2 live shows are bound to be one of the best shows of the tour – if not their career. Anticipation is high. Let’s play ‘What Setlist Do You Want To Hear?’ – answers in the comment section below.