1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: U2 stage
Peter Morrison  /  AP
Workers take down the stage from the U2 concert at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, on Tuesday. Residents near the stadium attempted to delay equipment from reaching the band's next venue in Goteborg, Sweden.
updated 8/2/2009 11:08:40 PM ET 2009-08-03T03:08:40

Dubliners angry over the around-the-clock dismantling of U2’s monumental concert stage mounted street protests Tuesday, threatening the Irish band’s plans for the next stop on their European tour.

Residents around Croke Park stadium said their aim was to embarrass the Dublin City Council and the Gaelic Athletic Association — which authorized two straight nights of noise — not hang up Ireland’s most famous musical export.

Several dozen residents near the stadium called off their demonstrations after delaying U2’s initial convoy for several hours. More than 50 trucks eventually left with the band’s instruments, stage, lighting and sound equipment, and massive banks of television screens, behind schedule for concerts Friday and Saturday in the Swedish city of Goteborg.

U2 officials confirmed that the trucks missed their ferry and were playing catch-up, but expressed optimism that the band’s production would be fully assembled on time in Sweden.

“It will be tight,” said Craig Evans, director of the U2 world tour, currently midway through its initial 15-city European leg.

U2 tour production director Jake Berry had complained earlier that he and other key logistics officials were caught off-guard when residents began protesting overnight at key road junctions flanking Croke Park, Ireland’s largest stadium.

Berry said singer Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. were told of the Dublin disruption about 5 a.m. Tuesday as their private jet landed in Nice, France, where they are staying in between European gigs.

He said the Dublin-born band felt “pure disappointment. It’s just really put a damp squib (sponge) on something that was a fantastic experience and fantastic show.”

But Croke Park Area Residents’ Committee spokesman David Purdue insisted the protesters weren’t targeting U2.

“This is primarily to get Dublin City Council and the Gaelic Athletic Association to take notice of us and recognize the damage they’re doing to the local community,” Purdue said.

The protesters said authorities should never have granted U2 a license to dismantle its stage over a continuous 44-hour period starting at 1 a.m. Tuesday — right after the last of U2’s three Dublin concerts concluded before roaring crowds of 80,000.

  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts

      In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...

    2. Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
    3. See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
    4. Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
    5. 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom

The protesters called off the disruption after claiming that the stadium’s Gaelic Athletic Association owners had privately promised never to authorize overnight construction work again. Gaelic officials issued an apologetic statement with no specific pledges.

The protesters’ retreat also followed receipt of a threatening letter from U2’s concert promoters, MCD Productions, identifying more than 50 local residents by name and warning they could be sued for any financial losses incurred by the promoters, U2 or others with a stake in one of the world’s most lucrative musical ventures.

One protester, Barbara Ward, argued they succeeded in giving their loved ones a decent night’s sleep.

The 48-year-old mother of four said if they hadn’t blocked U2’s truck fleet overnight, the vehicles would have been driving “in and out, one every 3 1/2 minutes, right through narrow roads and both sides of the stadium.”

All sides agree it’ll be noisy from dusk Tuesday to dawn Wednesday as construction work continues.

U2 workers are still disassembling the “Claw,” a 390-ton, four-legged steel monstrosity that holds more than 150 tons of audiovisual equipment above the stage. Croke Park officials have also begun laying new grass turf for Gaelic football playoffs this weekend.

U2 is using three Claws on its tour — while one is in use, the two others are being erected at the next site or being dismantled at the last.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Joan Lunden: 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed with breast cancer

    From the moment you hear the words ‘You have breast cancer,’ it’s almost like you’re shot out of a cannon. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed.

    10/1/2014 10:52:45 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:52:45
  2. Want to help? A guide to breast cancer charities

    In the United States an estimated 296,000 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and almost 40,000 women and 410 men will die of the disease. That's one death every 14 minutes, according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

    10/1/2014 10:45:11 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:45:11
  3. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
  1. Texas Ebola patient had contact with kids

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a press conference on Wednesday that “some school-age children” had been identified as having contact with the man diagnosed with the first case of Ebola in the United States. 

    10/1/2014 5:37:52 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T17:37:52
  1. Getty Images file

    Duchess Kate pulls out of charity event due to morning sickness

    10/1/2014 1:20:02 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T13:20:02
  1. TODAY

    Derek Jeter dismisses 'most eligible bachelor' title: 'No, no, no'

    10/1/2014 11:43:39 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T11:43:39
  1. Getty Images file

    Brad Pitt loves 'being a father,' raves about kids, Angelina Jolie

    10/1/2014 6:16:00 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T18:16:00