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Revealed: the day U2 stars Bono and The Edge came to blows

They may have survived 31 years together in the world's biggest rock band, but that doesn't mean it has always been plain sailing for U2.

The Edge has spoken of how he once came to blows with his best friend Bono - and punched him in the face.

“It was one of those early gigs where you really feel your life depends on it being a great gig. Half way through the show Larry's drum kit falls apart and he literally has a set of spanners out trying to fix it. Bono didn't see what was going on, so all he knew was that Larry had stopped playing and he just lost it.''

Bono chimed in: “I looked down and there was no drummer. So I lifted the drum kit cup to have a look at what was going on and a proper little row broke out and then the Edge just caught me with one,” he said signalling a punch to the side of his face.

“He hit me very hard,” he added. To which the Edge simply shrugged: “He hasn't pushed me that far since.”

They were speaking on the BBC's Jonathan Ross programme ahead of the band's arrival back in Ireland.

While U2 will get an ecstatic welcome from the 240,000 fans who have paid to see their three homecoming concerts in Croke Park next weekend, it is nothing to the praise that is being heaped on them by the capital's business community.

Aebhric McGibney, policy director, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, said: “U2 are wonderful ambassadors for Ireland and their eagerly awaited return to Croke Park for these three concerts is a timely and much needed boost both in promoting Dublin as one of Europe's top cities to visit but also in injecting some much need money into the local economy.”

Frank McGee, CEO Dublin Tourism, joined in, saying: “They are the biggest band in the world and when they play their home town, it is extra special. The benefit that a U2 concert brings to the local economy is tremendous. In terms of tourism and promoting Dublin and Ireland you couldn't buy it and then there are the benefits to the local economy which needs all the help it can get.

“A U2 concert is the equivalent of Ireland winning the Grand Slam five times in the one season at home. More than 250,000 people will attend the concerts, all spending money on food, drink and accommodation. If only we could have one every year.”

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