U2 is reauthorized

Irish court tosses ruling barring concert

DUBLIN — In a landmark judgment, the Irish Supreme Court has permitted U2’s Dublin concert to go ahead Aug. 30, after an earlier attempt to host the homecoming gig in the capital was refused permission on the basis of planning regulations.

Last month, city authority Dublin Corp. was by law obliged to issue an objection to an event of this nature, which was determined in planning terms to be an “unauthorized development.” The Irish Supreme Court granted the concert organizers leave to contest an earlier refusal by the High Court to allow the concert to go ahead, effectively greenlighting the event. The subsequent High Court hearing now will be a formality.

Dublin’s 42,000-capacity Lansdowne Road sports stadium sold out within two hours of tickets going on sale earlier this month, and tickets for a second date Aug. 31 go on sale this weekend. Support act for the two Irish dates is Northern Ireland indie sensation Ash. Tix prices range from $31 to $46.50.

Concert deemed unprofitable

The original concert, skedded for the same date in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, was aborted after it was deemed to be unprofitable by original promoter Jim Aiken due to the absence of any kind of event infrastructure at the venue. Although the band had played there in 1983, there had been a racetrack pavilion with food and toilet facilities in existence then, which since has been demolished.

New promoter Oliver Barry, who has organized Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra concerts at the same venue before, said the reskedded venue is perfect, as the “normal usage of Lansdowne Road has been for major sporting and concert events.”

Problems had arisen since a 1996 court decision prohibited large open-air concerts on the rolling agricultural lands of Slane Castle, scene of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Rolling Stone concerts in the mid-1980s. Legally, the use of agricultural land for concerts constitutes a “material change” of the land, and it now seems that future open-air concerts in Ireland will have to be in purpose-built venues.

U2’s European tour kicks off today in Rotterdam. The 20 dates in Europe are part of a worldwide 80 on five continents.

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