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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 June, 2005, 00:13 GMT 01:13 UK
U2 thrill 80,000 at Dublin venue
Bono on stage
U2 played songs from their early career as well as latest hits
Thousands of U2 fans from around the world gathered to witness the Irish band perform a homecoming concert at Croke Park in Dublin.

Friday's performance was the first of three sell-out gigs at the venue, expected to be witnessed by a total of 250,000 fans.

Singer Bono yelled "hello, hello" to the crowd as the band took the stage, to the roar of around 80,000 fans.

Some fans had camped out overnight to be the first inside the stadium.

The band opened with Vertigo, their recent number one hit, before delving into their back catalogue with I Will Follow.

'Apprehensive'

Pouring rain had failed to dampen the spirits of the excited crowd as they waited for U2 to take to the stage and a Mexican wave glided around the stadium.
Fans
Some fans queued in tents for days to get tickets

A German fan, who said he waited four weeks to obtain tickets, called it "one of the biggest days for me".

The band's manager Paul McGuinness said they were "apprehensive" but "very confident" about playing their home city.

"Playing Dublin is always extra excitement, extra pressure," he added.

Superstars

U2 were supported by Snow Patrol and The Radiators, while The Thrills and Paddy Casey will be performing with them on Saturday.

Monday's final concert in the Irish Republic's capital will see The Bravery and Northern Ireland band Ash share the bill with the veteran superstars.

Tickets for the three gigs have been going for as much as 500 euro (330) on the internet after they sold out within hours of being released.

Hotels in Dublin have been sold out in the run-up to the concerts, and extra traffic measures have been put in place around the Croke Park stadium.


SEE ALSO:
Excitement builds for U2 Dublin gigs
24 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
U2 mania for homecoming gigs
24 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
U2 get lifetime achievement award
17 Jun 05 |  Entertainment


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