U2 Vertigo Tour
Vertigo Tour 2nd leg: Europe
: Millennium Stadium - Cardiff, Wales
Stadium supremo lands U2(published on 2005-01-25)
HE'S done it - again.
Only two days after putting together the biggest concert Wales has ever seen Paul Sergeant, general manager of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, has revealed that one of the world's most famous bands, U2, will play at the venue.
The coup has come hot on the heels of the Tsunami Relief Concert. In just three weeks, Mr Sergeant and a team of volunteers put on the greatest charity concert Wales - and the world - has witnessed since Live Aid in 1984.
High-profile bands and performers gave their services free on the day, performing in front of 61,000 paying fans and a potential world broadcast audience of millions.
More than £1.25m was raised for the relief effort.
While arranging that, Mr Sergeant was also secretly busy trying to secure the U2 gig.
'Getting U2 here has taken months to pull off but I'm thrilled we can bring one of the biggest bands in the world to the Millennium Stadium and to Wales,' he said yesterday.
'We've been in negotiations for months and it's great to finally have the date in the diary. With a band of U2's calibre, we expect the tickets to sell out in a day.'
Although Mr Sergeant said before the first chord had even been sounded that the gig wasn't arranged to garner positive publicity for the stadium but for purely altruistic reasons, the pure quality of the show - particularly the crystal clarity of the sound - was noticed by some promoters of big stadium rockers looking for alternative large-scale venues outside London to tout their wares.
And yesterday one of the best in the world announced they would play Cardiff as part of a world tour. U2, who last played in Wales at the old Arms Park in 1993 as part of the Zooropa tour and before that in 1987, will perform there on June 29 at the end of the British leg of their Vertigo tour.
Kicking off in San Diego in March, it promises to be as exhilarating an experience as its acclaimed predecessors.
Vertigo 2005 will visit 13 cities across North America before arriving in Brussels on June 10 for the first of 24 scheduled European performances.
Mr Sergeant admitted the stadium had 'suffered in the past' from not having enough live music. 'That's been for a number of reasons, but we've been making changes, particularly over the last year, and we're now in talks with various promoters to get more music from big name acts to the stadium,' he said.
He said ''music industry decision makers' who were paying guests at the show were all impressed by the venue.
'That helps to attract the big names,' he added.
'The bands loved performing there and the people in the know who are able to bring these acts to Wales now realise we have a first class venue and that it just happens to be outside London. Word gets around.'
Paul McGuinness, of U2's Principle Management, said, 'Now that all the logistics are worked out, the band are really looking forward to getting on the road.
'I've heard the new songs in rehearsal, they sound really great and the new production is going to blow everyone away.'
Arthur Fogel, of tour promoters The Next Adventure added, 'We are thrilled to be involved in what will surely be an amazing touring year for U2.
'We know the huge success of the Elevation Tour in 2001 and their brilliant new record, How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, has created tremendous anticipation around the world.'
As well as enticing the likes of guitar legend Eric Clapton, Feeder, Manic Street Preachers and Snow Patrol to the venue last weekend, other big name acts have played the stadium in the past, including Tina Turner and Robbie Williams.
The roof will also be raised on July 10 when American rockers REM play there.
Tickets for U2's Welsh date go on sale at 9am on Friday.
To book contact:
- For all UK shows – 0871 230 2646 / 0871 2200 260 /www.getLIVE.co.uk
- Cardiff Credit card line -02920 224488 / 02920 230 130 / 0870 100 0000, and
- person -Cardiff International Arena box office (no booking fee for cash or cheques).
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