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U2 fans from across country arrive in Navi Mumbai for the band’s first India concert

U2 India concert: Fans from all over the country, and perhaps beyond, are making their way to witness the first ever live performance by the iconic Irish rock band U2.

Written by Anushree Majumdar | Mumbai | Updated: December 15, 2019 2:25:57 pm
U2 concert, Mumbai U2 concert, The Joshua Tree Tour, The Joshua Tree Tour 2019, U2 concert Mumbai, U2 concert tickets, Mumbai news, city news, Indian Express Bono, Adam Clayton and The Edge at Mani Bhavan on Friday. (PTI)

It’s going to be a Sunday Happy Sunday at the DY Patil sports stadium in Navi Mumbai tomorrow, as fans from all over the country, and perhaps beyond, make their way to witness the first ever live performance by the iconic Irish rock band, U2. The event will also be the last gig of the extremely successful The Joshua Tree Tour, by the band, celebrating its 32-year-old iconic album by the same title.

On Thursday evening, band members — Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr — landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, about the same time as Partha Bhattacharya from Kolkata. “To see Bono perform live, and to watch The Edge do his magic on the guitar, and the overall U2 show tomorrow – it’s going to be magical,” says the 68-year-old retired IPS officer, who counts Sunday Bloody Sunday and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For as his favourite U2 songs. “I first heard them way back in 1988-89. Those were the days of audio cassettes, and bad sound. But the album, The Joshua Tree (1987), made a very strong impression on my mind and I really liked it. Since then, I’ve heard the band grow over the years… At this age and after so many years, when I heard they were coming to Mumbai, I thought why not? I’m looking forward to it,” he says.

As he should – Sunday evening, the band will take the stage in front of thousands of fans and perform complete album in sequence, as well as a selection of songs from its extensive catalogue.

u2 songs playlist U2 is performing in Mumbai on December 15. (Photo: Varinder Chawla)

Since October 1, tickets have been on sale for various sections of the stadium. To give the audience the memory of a lifetime, the band will use, what is considered to be the largest (200 ft x 45 ft) high-resolution (8k) LED screen used at a live concert.

The Joshua Tree Tour 2019 features a specially commissioned series of films by Dutch photographer and filmmaker, Anton Corbijn.

“I hope they play one of my favourite songs, Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, from the Batman Forever (1995) or Desire,” says Punit Gupta, 39, head of corporate strategy, Samsung Asia. Before boarding a flight from Delhi on Friday evening, Gupta said there was no way he was missing a live show by the band that saw him through his engineering degree. “I started listening to them while preparing for my board exams. Later, the engineering college years. I still listen to them when I’m preparing for a board meeting. They’re still good,” he says.

To give a range of transportation options for fans coming from across the country, festival organiser BookMyShow has collaborated with the Indian Railways to launch the first-ever special chartered local train service for the concert. The train will ferry passengers from Andheri until Nerul with limited stops at Mahim and Kurla on Sunday. “With thousands of fans expected at the show, we have been working towards making the experience of the evening seamless and memorable for them. Local travel options to the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai was an area that we looked at, as we explored easier transportation options across all public modes (trains, buses and cabs) for a hassle-free experience. We wanted to offer solutions that could cut short the travel time to the venue while simultaneously offering convenience and comfort to users across the city. For Mumbai, the local trains have been the most efficient transport service for years and we are thankful to the Indian Railways to support us with the launch of this customised train service option for thousands of consumers for the iconic event,” says Kunal Khambhati, head, Live Events & IP, BookMyShow. Travel package for the special train service is available on the company’s website for Rs 499.

35,000 tickets sold, 900 cops on duty

With around 35,000 tickets being sold for Irish rock band U2’s concert on Sunday, the Navi Mumbai Police is set to deploy around 900 personnel as part of its security arrangements for the event. “We will deploy over 300 personnel to manage traffic and another 500 to 600 personnel on crowd management duty,” said Rajkumar Vhatkar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Navi Mumbai.

bono u2 mumbai Bono struck a pose at the airport as he arrived for his first Indian concert. (Photo: Varinder Chawla)

The police have also earmarked three grounds in the vicinity of the D Y Patil Stadium — where the concert will take place — to accommodate around 4,000 cars. “We are expecting most people to arrive in their cars or in taxis. Space for taxi drop-offs have been earmarked,” said Vhatkar.

Also Read | Unable to attend U2’s concert? Here are the band’s best tracks you can stream right now

The police do not expect a lot of pedestrian traffic though the Central Railways has announced special trains between Andheri and Nerul for fans to attend the concert. No major diversions have been planned on roads leading to the stadium.

Sunil Lokhande, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said the concert is not likely to disrupt traffic around the stadium. “Traffic is as it is less on Sundays,” he added.

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