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[0] U2 to rock Slane; HEROIC RETURN FOR No1 GROUP.

Byline: PAT FLANAGAN

ROCK idols U2 are set to play Slane Castle - nearly 20 years after their last appearance there as unknown teenagers.

Industry sources confirmed last night that the supergroup will take the stage on Saturday, August 25.

It is also believed that the castle's owner, Lord Henry Mountcharles, already has the rest of the bill signed up for the concert.

The band are set to return to the Co Meath venue described by Bono as their "spiritual home".

In 1981 they played support to Phil Lynott's Thin Lizzy, who were one of the biggest rock bands in the world at the time.

It is well known that the band and their manager, Paul McGuinness, have wanted to play Slane again ever since, but have been unable to because of prior commitments.

However, a music industry insider said that a deal has been done to bring the group to one of the world's biggest outdoor venues.

He said: "It's on and it's going to be even bigger than Robbie Williams' gig there two years ago.

"Lord Henry has been trying to get them back to Slane for years. Now everything is in place for it to happen.

"It's the show that everyone wants. You won't even have to advertise this one, the tickets will be like gold dust.

"Everyone knows that the band and Paul love the place. They recorded there and virtually lived there for weeks.

"It's also a fitting tribute to Lord Mountcharles who has now brought the castle back to its former glory after the disastrous fire which almost destroyed it.

"Slane should be all but finished by the summer and the concert will be the perfect way of saying to the world that Slane is back as Ireland's rock 'n' roll capital."

Two years ago more than 80,000 fans watched former Take That star Robbie Williams in what was considered to be one of the best Slane concerts ever.

Bono and his wife, Ali, turned up to enjoy the sell-out performance.

Due to safety issues it is believed a similar number of tickets, due to go on sale in the spring, will be available for the U2 event.

But insiders believe the band could attract twice that number.

U2, who have just released their latest album, All That You Can't Leave Behind You, will be following in the footsteps of rock greats including Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Queen and REM.

US rockers Guns 'n' Roses, the Verve, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young have also played there.

U2 are set to begin their world tour in Florida in March and will perform at dozens of stadiums with capacities of around 10,000.

CAPTION(S):

DREAM: Bono wanted Slane gig; WARMING UP: U2's Adam Clayton, the Edge and Larry Mullan Jr, bottom. Slane is their 'spiritual home'; HISTORIC: The venue at Slane
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2000
Words:479
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