Tuesday, August 02, 2005

U2 tipped for NZ concerts

In the name of love – and big ticket sales – Irish supergroup U2 are likely to play Wellington next year as part of their world tour.

Music industry sources in Australia told The Dominion Post that U2 were seriously considering playing New Zealand early next year once the band confirmed dates in Australia. U2 are touring Europe till late August, then the United States for the rest of the year. They plan to play Japan and Australia in January and February. The band has the pulling power to fill Wellington's Westpac Stadium, which sold more than 30,000 tickets to Neil Diamond's show in March. But sources said U2 had preferred indoor venues on their tours and this was likely to influence their decision. Wellington's biggest indoor venue, The Events Centre, can hold about 5000, which could mean more than one concert. Centre manager Neville Brown said he had had no contact about U2 playing at the waterfront venue. The boss of Auckland's planned 12,000-seat Vector Arena said in May that there was "more than a chance" U2 would play Auckland next year. Industry sources in Wellington said contracts had been signed in New Zealand to supply sound equipment for U2 shows in the capital. Westpac Stadium chief executive David Gray said he had not been directly contacted about U2 playing there next year. But it was possible promoters – without mentioning U2 by name – were considering bringing the band here. "There are a lot of inquiries about dates. It's the usual story, you get calls from promoters (and) you don't know what the act is. "We are not in direct negotiations with anybody, but we're aware that U2 is a possibility of touring this part of the world." Pacific Entertainment Promotions director Ian Magan had heard nothing about U2 appearing in Wellington, neither had U2's last down-under tour operator, Australia's Dainty Consolidated Entertainment. U2 last played Auckland and Christchurch in 1993, but Wellington did not have a big enough venue.


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