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Tue 4 Sep 2018 09:15 AM

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Could U2 play in Abu Dhabi?

Flash Entertainment CEO admits to discussions with U2 management

Could U2 play in Abu Dhabi?
Bono (L) and Adam Clayton (R) of the Irish rock band U2 perform during the 'Experience + Innocence' tour at the United Center on May 23, 2018 in Chicago.

Music giants U2 could play in Abu Dhabi according to Flash Entertainment CEO John Lickrish.

In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business, Lickrish admitted that the Abu Dhabi government-owned entertainment company has had talks with the Irish band’s management.

"There's always a space for U2. [Lead singer] Bono has been down here to hang out and say hello to everyone in Abu Dhabi. We've had numerous discussions with their management and touring company, so it's just a matter of it fitting in. I'd love to have them here. It was just logistics that stopped them in the past," Lickrish said.

U2 opened the European leg of their eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour in Berlin last week, with dates scheduled through to Belfast and Dublin shows in October and November.

The centrepiece of the show, which is being held at indoors arenas, is a central overhead screen that runs above the crowd across the centre of the venue. The only venues big enough in the UAE to host U2 would be outdoors.

“Nobody [from the U2 team] could get in their head about how we could actually do that outdoors. It's not an engineering miracle - we have a thing called the Burj Khalifa here in the UAE - but they hadn't done it yet so that put them off," said Lickrish. 

Flash Entertainment CEO John Lickrish.

He said the cost of transporting the stage had prevented previous U2 tours from coming to the UAE.

“'The Claw' stage on their 360 tour [from 2009-2011] made it too expensive to be feasible. Interestingly, they tried to sell it (Claw stage) to me afterwards. It would have been nice to have if we'd had €3m spare, but I don't know what you'd do with it,” said Lickrish. 

‘The Claw’, as the 360 stage setup was known, is now a permanent installation in the US at Salt Lake City's Living Planet Aquarium.

The second night of U2’s tour was cut short in Berlin last Saturday after Bono lost his voice a few songs into the show. He is expected to make a recovery for future dates.

In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year, U2’s Adam Clayton spoke about bringing the current tour to Australia, Japan and Southeast Asia in 2019, which would open the opportunity for a possible date in the UAE. 

Flash Entertainment, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, has a history of concert firsts in the UAE.

The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, The Who, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake have all played in Abu Dhabi at Yas Arena and Zayed Sports City Stadium, with attendances reaching 30,000.

Lickrish has previously admitted that he would also ‘love’ to stage an AC/DC concert in Abu Dhabi.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

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