U2 bringing Experience tour to Belfast's SSE Arena
U2 are to bring their European tour to Northern Ireland in November - the first time the Irish rock megastars have played here in almost two decades.
A ticket frenzy is expected after the band announced late last night that their Innocence + Experience tour will hit Belfast's SSE Arena for two gigs on November 18 and 19, although they will cost up to £165.
"It is the first time the band will perform songs from their recent album Songs Of Innocence to a home crowd," a U2 spokeswoman said.
U2 guitarist The Edge had hinted strongly earlier this week that the band was eager to travel north for the first time since their appearance in Belfast's Waterfront Hall in 1998.
There, Bono held hands with John Hume and David Trimble to call for a Yes vote in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement.
The band's last public concert in Belfast was even earlier, in 1997, a sell-out open air gig in the city's Botanic Gardens.
There had been doubts over the suitability of venues in the Republic for the Innocence + Experience shows.
Over the weekend the band said they were doing everything in their power to take the tour to Ireland - with The Edge saying not playing to a home crowd would be a "huge disappointment".
He had hinted that Belfast's SSE Arena would be the only venue on the last homecoming stage.
But now the rock stars have revealed two dates in Belfast and four in their native Dublin, at the 3Arena on November 23, 24, 27 and 28.
"Finding venues to take this show is actually quite tricky and we're grateful to our overworked crew who finally cracked the reconfiguring to fit these venues," said The Edge last night.
The SSE Arena - formerly known as the Odyssey - is one of the few venues on the island of Ireland capable of hosting the spectacular set required for the current tour.
Fresh from a £3m revamp, it is Northern Ireland's biggest indoor venue with a capacity of around 10,000. The band's Innocence + Experience Tour kicked off in May in Vancouver to rave reviews and the US leg saw the band joined onstage by special guests including Jimmy Fallon, Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga, as they performed songs from their career catalogue.
Released last year, the album charts the group's earliest experiences of growing up in Dublin. It was influenced by Seventies rock, punk and early Eighties electronica and gives an insight into how U2 came together.
Exploring themes of home and family, it also deals with the impact of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the end of a time of innocence for all four band members.
U2 have played Belfast on nine occasions since the band's formation back in the 1970s.
Tickets go on sale at 9am on Monday, September 14, and will be limited to only two per purchaser. They are priced from £30 to £165 for Belfast and from €30 to €185 in Dublin, plus charges.
Tickets can be bought at the 3Arena and SSE Arena box offices and online.
The floor tickets are being sold using a paperless ticket system. For full details see www.U2.com/tour