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U2 Broadcasts 'Emotional' Homecoming Concerts Friday

Amid a week full of music-related TV specials, U2 offers U2’s Beautiful Day, a one-hour special from the homecoming concerts at Ireland’s Slane Castle in 2001. Besides footage from the shows on August 25 and September 1, the broadcast-at 10 p.m. ET Friday (November 29) on CBS-includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the band.

U2 guitarist the Edge said that the Slane concerts were among the most memorable moments on the lengthy tour in support of All That You Can’t Leave Behind. “They were very emotional, and came at the, towards the end of a very long tour, but playing your hometown is always, you know, special. I suppose my memory of both nights was just how amazing the audience were. The crowd were so into it, and really carried us. If there were any moments in the show that were not completely as we would have wanted them, the atmosphere made up for that, and, you know, I think in that respect they turned out to be some of the best shows on the tour.”

The Slane shows took place amid some controversy as well. When the first concert, on August 25, sold out of its 80,000 tickets in just minutes, promoters announced their intent to put on a second show on September 1. However, that plan ran counter to a local ordinance in County Meath, which prohibits more than one concert per summer at the facility. But after hearing appeals from both sides-including a request from the Irish prime minister’s office to allow the show to proceed-the county council voted to grant a permit for the second concert, marking the first time in Slane’s 20-year history as a concert venue that multiple shows took place there.

The Edge explains, “It wasn’t so much our struggle as the promoter, who was really desperately trying to make it happen. And in the end, the politicians decided to step in and make it possible-I think purely on the basis that there was so many people who really wanted to come and see the show and couldn’t get along. So the politicians just decided to change the law to allow this to happen on the basis that it was democracy at work. People really wanted it, so they, they rolled over.”

Some U2 fans have started a petition drive to have the Slane shows released on DVD, but the group has not yet made a decision on that.

U2 is currently promoting a new hits collection, The Best Of 1990-2000, and will release a video retrospective of those years on Tuesday (December 3).

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