Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Leonard Cohen is playing in Belfast this summer but it is unlikely that I'll get to see him. The cheapest tickets for his concert are apparently around £82. Is he worth it? Yes, very probably from what I have heard from those who saw him in Dublin last year.
The problem is I've blown my concert budget for the year. When my brother-in-law asked if Sinead and I wanted to go with him to see U2 in Croke Park in July we thought why not. It has been a long time since I actually liked them, but you know U2 - Dublin. Its as much about the spectacle as the music and anyway I've great memories of some fantastic performances by the them in Croke Park back in the mid-1980s.
I first saw U2 play in Maysfield Leisure Centre in Belfast in 1982 when they were still relatively unknown. I remember Bono ranting on for ages about a song they had just written and which they were going to play for the first time. It was about the North and the Troubles and despite its title he was adamant that it was not a rebel song and if the audience in Belfast that night didn't like it then they would never play it again... but most definitely "this song is not a rebel song..."
Anyway the Belfast audience gave 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' their seal of approval and it and U2 moved on to bigger venues. Next time I saw them play was in Phoenix Park in Dublin when the hairdos where bigger and the songs were more bombastic. Support that day came from Simple Minds and The Eurythmics. Then came a concert in Croke Park with Squeeze and The Alarm and a little known American band called REM at the bottom of the bill.
A year or so later I saw U2 in Dublin at a concert called Self Aid (must have been around 1986) where a who's who of Irish acts played and acts who were Irish by association - Rory Gallagher, Van Morrison, The Pogues, Clannad, De Dannan, In Tua Nua, Paul Brady, Christy Moore, The Chieftains and Moving Hearts and Elvis Costello... even Chris de Burgh (God help us) was there singing about Patricia stripping and the like. Bob Geldof had just been beatified following Live Aid the previous year and The Boomtown Rats played for the last time that day. The finale, after U2 had left the stage, was former members of Thin Lizzy - Gary Moore, Brian Downey and Scott Gorham - coming on to pay tribute to Phil Lynott who had died earlier that year, with Bono and Geldoff helping out with the vocals.
U2 at that point had become superstars and were on the verge of releasing the The Joshua Tree. The following year I saw them back at Croke Park with Lou Reid and the Pogues warming up. It was more than a decade until I next saw them in Botanic Gardens in Belfast and I'd long stopped buying their albums, but still they put on a great show.
So anyway, when the notion of going to see them in Dublin was mentioned I thought fine, why not for old times sake? What I didn't realise was that my brother-in-law, being much more pragmatic than I am, realised that they only way to secure tickets was to apply for as many options as possible and ofcourse, as luck would have it, secured the most expensive tickets going.
Anyway, 131 euro to go and see a band I used to quite like is the upshot... that is 131 each for me, Sinead and her brother. We are paying - 393 euro.



Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080

Hi "Hallelujah",

On behalf of Exile Productions, Exile Publishing, Exile Films and Lion Records, many thanks for plugging Van Morrison and, if you / your readers would like good quality, non-pirated previews from Van's latest album and forthcoming DVD - "Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl" - then footage of “Sweet Thing” from the Hollywood Bowl is available for fans to view and link to (ONLY please – not for embedding) at Up-to-the-minute news on the “Astral Weeks Live” album and film releases and Van’s 2009 shows is, of course, available on and An increasing archive of exclusive film footage of Van Morrison performances is also available for fans and YouTubers on Exile’s official channel at ... .. and keep an eye on these official sources for details of further preview material and on-line promotions.

Thanks again for your plug.



Phil said...

I saw U2 at Botanic too - I believe it was the Pop tour in 1996. I wasn't a fan of the band but went with a bunch of mates for the atmosphere and as far as I recall had a great evening.
The Joshua Tree is a great album but I wouldn't really rate anything else afterwards as they became a more singles orientated band.
Still, I'm sure the gig will be a spectacle even the newer songs don't hold much weight.

Fionnchú said...

Well, I hope the lads pass some of your euro on to a deserving charity, "Red" or otherwise shaded. I've never seen U2, as I am not a dyed-in-the-wool-beanie (that The Edge wears?) fan, but I do admire their stamina, intelligence, and ability to remain atop the pop game thirty years on, unmatchable by any other performer unwilling to trot out the oldies parade.

I guess I also blame them for the ruination of Temple Bar and its concomitant gentrification! Dublin would not look the same now without 'em, for better and worse.

Have a great time; I hope that amount of cash tossed out garners you decent seats!