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  • Northside East

The most memorable Croke Park concerts ever staged

Friday, 20th May, 2016 2:50pm

Story by Tony McCullagh
The most memorable Croke Park concerts ever staged

PHOTO: PATRICK O'LEARY

The most memorable Croke Park concerts ever staged

PHOTO: PATRICK O'LEARY

CROKE Park has seen a lot of action over the years, not least on All-Ireland final days. But apart from being the spiritual home of the GAA, it has also served – sometimes controversially – as one of the country’s top concert venues.

U2 (1985)

Just weeks before their show-stopping performance at Live Aid on July 13, U2 played a triumphant concert in Croke Park in front of a capacity crowd. Fresh from the global success of ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ album, the band were fast becoming the biggest act on the planet, a feat that would be cemented a couple of years later with the release of ‘The Joshua Tree’. Support acts on the day included REM - whose set was met with mild indifference by the audience - Welsh rockers The Alarm, Squeeze and domestic favourites In Tua Nua.

U2 (1987)

Dubbed ‘Rock’s Hottest Ticket’ by Time magazine, U2 made their celebrated return to Croke Park as world conquering heroes. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

 U2 (2005)

The band’s third visit to Croker saw U2 bring their award-winning Vertigo tour to the capital.

U2 (2009)

In 2009, U2 treated fans to a three-night run during their 360° Tour, securing their place as the band that has played Croke Park more than any other act.

Simple Minds (1986)

One year on from their Philadelphia performance at Live Aid, Simple Minds brought their ‘Big Music’ to Croke Park, delighting fans with hits such as ‘Waterfront’, Alive and Kicking’ and ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’. Also on the bill were The Waterboys and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. A guest appearance from Bono was the icing on the cake! The quality of this footage is poor but we’ve included it for posterity.

Garth Brooks (1997)

The country and western superstar played three nights in Croke Park, attracting more culchies to the capital than a December 8 shopping trip. In fairness, there were a few Jackeens there too, including our photographer Darren Kinsella who took this snap.

The Police (2007)

Once considered the most unlikely band to ever reform, Sting, Stewart and Andy regrouped for this sell-out tour in 2007, which included a date in Croke Park. Reviews of the performance were mixed but most fans went home happy.

Take That (2011)

Take That’s 2011’s Progress Tour gig was the first time in 16 years the band toured as a five piece and marked their biggest show to date. The concert saw the return of Robbie Williams to the Northside venue.

Red Hot Chili Peppers (2012)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have a reputation for being one of the best live bands around. This legendary Croke Park performance proved why.

Westlife (2012)

Yes, this was finally the end of the road for the boyband as they took to the stage in Croke Park to say farewell to their fans. Not surprisingly, tears were shed.

One Direction (2014)

Runways, ramps and raised podiums brought the One Direction lads closer to their screaming fans as a spectacular display of fireworks illuminated the sky above Jones Road. In many ways, this performance was all about local hero Niall Horan’s homecoming.

The Script (2015)

There was a lot of pressure on The Script to deliver for what was the biggest gig of their career to date. The Dublin trio, egged on by their enthusiastic fans, did themselves proud with a blistering performance of all their hits.

Ed Sheeran (2015)

Ed Sheeran’s two-night run in Croke Park in 2015 was a musical highlight of the year for those lucky enough to secure a ticket. The one-man band sound of Sheeran and his guitar still managed to fill every crevice of the vast stadium. He was aided and abetted by Kodaline, while Glen Hansard brought a bit of Irish folksiness to proceedings with a rendition of ‘The Old Triangle’. Two great parties, really.

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