Ronan McGreevy, Irish Times
U2 MAY have suffered the indignity of having their new album No Line on the Horizon knocked off the top of the charts after just one week but they remain incomparably the biggest draw in live music.
All 164,000 tickets for their first two shows at Croke Park sold out yesterday morning in under two hours.
Pairs of tickets were gone within 51 minutes of going on sale at 8am, single tickets by 9.30am and the sold-out sign on the Ticketmaster website was displayed by 10am.
Given U2's reputation as a live act, sell-outs for the U2360 concerts on Friday, July 24th, and Saturday, July 25th, were seen as dead certs, but it still came as a relief to lead singer Bono.
"As my friend Gavin Friday says, 'insecurity is your best security'," he told RTÃ‰ Radio 2FM's Gerry Ryan Show yesterday morning.
"That's just the way we are. We don't take anything for granted. The album went to No 1 in 31 countries. We had a big celebration. Then we discovered it had not gone to No 1 in Finland and we were depressed.
"That's the kind of band we are," he said, speaking from Morocco where he is on a video shoot for their new single Magnificent .
The sold-out shows now means that a third concert date on Monday, July 27th, is increasingly likely.
Croke Park has planning permission for three events and U2's tour schedule could accommodate it.
First in the queue at the Ticketmaster outlet yesterday morning were U2 fans Martin Shanahan and Vincent Kearns, who surely own the franchise as the band's most dedicated fans.
They purchased six tickets each, but noted that the queues for this year's tour dates were not what they were in the past.
"The queues for Vertigo were much larger. I reckon there was between 1,500 and 2,000 fans then.
"I'm hoping it is a case of it being a younger audience and four years later they being a lot more cool with the internet," said Martin, who sported a ginger beard having camped outside Ticketmaster since last Sunday.
While fans clamoured and queued for tickets for the band's forthcoming U2360 tour in the round, they have been decidedly lukewarm about the new album.
No Line on the Horizon , which has received mixed reviews from both fans and critics, dropped down to No 2 in the Irish charts after just a week at the top, and replaced by Lady GaGa.
In the US Billboard charts it dropped from No 1 to No 3, having sold 484,000 copies in the first week.
Its predecessor How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb sold 840,000 copies in its first week of release.
Â© 2009 Irish Times.