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U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015 Belfast: Excitement builds ahead of supergroup's first appearance in city in almost two decades

U2 are playing in Belfast for the first time in almost two decades. The Irish rockers playing the SSE Arena stage for the first of their two concerts as part of their iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour.

The concert is the band's first appearance since their cancelled show in Paris over the weekend after the terrorist attacks in the city.

Prior to the gig U2 fans from across the world called for those attending both the shows to wear white in a mass demonstration for peace at the concert.

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U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015 Belfast dates: Excitement builds ahead of supergroup's first appearance in city in almost two decades  

U2 have played Belfast on nine occasions since the band's formation back in the 1970s.

"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 announcing the dates for the Belfast show.

U2 guitarist The Edge had hinted strongly earlier this year 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 this tour's shows.

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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 that could stage the show.

However, the rock stars later announced four dates 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.

Last year, the band chose the New Lodge area of Belfast for the filming of their video to the song Every Breaking Wave.

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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.

However, all were not happy when the band teamed up with Apple to gift the album to everyone with an iTunes account.

Exploring themes of home and family, the album also deals with the impact of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the end of a time of innocence for all four band members.

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The supergroup have included a musical and pictorial tribute to the victims of the 1974 loyalist attacks during their performance of Raised by Wolves.

Last week guitarist The Edge was adamant the band would not leave out the song.

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