Arguably the biggest stadium draw in the world at present, the North Dublin contingent continue their global Vertigo tour in Europe before returning to the United States in the fall.
The massive Dublin concerts, which sold-out within minutes earlier this year, did not fail to live up to expectations delivering U2’s usual brand of passionate rock music combined with political and social comment.
Bono told Bertie Ahern, who was in attendance on Saturday night, that the Irish government needed to deliver on its foreign aid obligations. Ahern, whose name was welcomed by some booing, was told to “stand up for Africa.”
“We ask you to stand up for Africa,” said Bono. “We know you want to, we know you can.”
The two men had met the day before in Ahern’s nearby constituency office.
The appeal was Bono’s main reference to his campaign to eliminate chronic poverty on the continent. He is closely involved with fellow Dubliner Bob Geldof in helping to publicize the “Live 8” concerts later this year.
The Dublin concerts attracted fans from across the country with some estimates putting the number of people having traveled from the North on the opening night at around 30,000.
The three gigs also showcased the recently completed work on a stadium that last rang to U2 songs a couple of years ago at the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics.
Speaking in a newspaper interview Monday, Croke Park manager Peter McKenna said: “the band carry all of the costs for the clean-up, pitch cover, and the cost of gardai, but we’ve been responsible for food and drink, DVD rights and a percentage of the merchandise.”
However, the money paid to the sporting organization is not likely to cause U2 any sleepless nights with their tour shaping up to be one of the most lucrative in concert history.
With estimates that the tour will eventually gross $300 million, the band are likely to top the all-time concert draw list.
Their 2001 “Elevation” tour was the second highest grossing ever — only second to the Rolling Stones — and, according to manager Paul McGuinness, this one is proving to be even more rewarding.