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U2 hit all the wrong notes after leaving the stage

DUBLINERS angry over the around-the-clock dismantling of U2's monumental concert stage mounted street protests yesterday, disrupting the Irish band's plans for the next stages of their European tour.

Residents around Croke Park stadium said their aim was to embarrass Dublin City Council and the Gaelic Athletic Association - which authorized the all-night noise - not delay Ireland's most famous musical export.

But U2 managers said the protests meant more than 50 trucks carrying much of the band's 390-ton stage, TV screens, lighting and sound equipment missed their morning ferry.

Some trucks did leave the stadium several hours late as protesters stood aside.

But tour organizers said it was too soon to determine whether any of U2's concert dates in Sweden, Germany and Poland would be affected.

"We should all not be talking to you and on a boat," the tour's production director, Jake Berry, told reporters as several dozen residents protested beside three road junctions outside Croke Park, Ireland's largest stadium.

Berry said U2 did not want to risk accidents by driving any heavily laden trucks past protesters straddling roadways outside the stadium.

He expressed surprise at the protests, even though plans for them have been widely reported.

Croke Park Area Residents' Committee spokesman David Purdue said no one was "interested in any way in delaying U2 in any shape or form."

"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," he said.

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

He said the band felt "pure disappointment. It's just really put a damp squib on something that was a fantastic experience and fantastic show."

The U2 concert promoters, MCD Productions, delivered a legal letter to the protesters, warning they could be sued for any financial losses incurred by the promoters, U2 or others with a financial stake in one of the world's biggest musical ventures.


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