- 17 Jan 17
U2 fans will get the chance to party away in the company of a great tribute band at a special two night event being organised at The Church Bar venue in Dublin on the weekend of the historic Croke Park gig to celebrate the seminal classic album 'The Joshua Tree' in July, it has just been announced.
The U2 tribute gig to celebrate their 40th anniversary last year at The Church Bar was such an overwhelming success that the man behind the event, Stephen Browne, is now planning another celebration of Dublin’s favourite band – with the upcoming two night celebration to coincide with the Croke Park gig.
The two gigs – with the hashtage #WelcomeToTheNorthside – will be held at The Church Bar to welcome U2 fans from across the country and indeed the world on Friday 21 July at 10:30pm and Saturday 22 July at Midnight, following the U2 gig at Croke Park.
In what has become a fan favourite, The Church Bar, which is one of Dublin’s busiest bars and tourist attractions, looks set to be the place to be over the weekend of the U2 Joshua Tree gig at Croke Park.
The U2 tribute band U2Baby promise to entertain the dedicated fans going to the Croke Park gig and also those who were unlucky not to get tickets to the real thing.
“With The Official U2 Fans Touring Group and various other fan groups involved this is sure to be another special event,” says its organizer, Stephen Browne.
The U2Baby tribute band, who were nominated for UK National Music Tribute Awards 2016, will fly into Ireland to play live on Friday 21 July at 10:30pm and Saturday 22 July at Midnight for the after-gig party.
Last year, to celebrate U2’s momentous milestone of 40 years together as officially the greatest band on the planet, a special tribute gig by cover band U2Baby was held in a packed to capacity Church Bar on Jervis Street. The crowd knew all the lyrics and it sometimes felt like an rare U2 club gig setting. But it was more than that too!
“The band will play a full set of U2 Classics spanning 40 years and include some rare gems. A fully synchronized and impressive light show will also enhance the U2 vibe for the performances,” says Stephen Browne.
Having played The Church Bar for U2’s 40th Anniversary fan party the U2Baby band received great praise from former U2 band member Ivan McCormick who attended the gig. “And I had to do a double-take when I saw these guys take to the stage in a crowded, hot and sweaty bar... With a few pints of Guinness blurring the edges - no pun intended – I was transported back to '78 and the Dandelion Market gigs,” he told Hot Press.
And longtime friend of the band Guggi – seen below with a U2 fan Trish dressed up as “Mrs Macphisto” for the occasion – quipped: “I thought U2Baby were amazing. I think I prefer them to U2 – and it was much easier to get in!”
There will be lots more than just music to look forward too. “Over the weekend we will also have #WelcomeToTheNorthside Cocktail Specials and some U2 prizes to be won. It promises to be a great Irish Welcome to The Northside of Dublin, to all who are travelling from across the globe to celebrate the Greatest Band in The World, U2,” says Stephen Browne.
The Church has a musical history that dates back to April 1742 when George Frederic Handel practiced his music from Messiah, before its first public performance on Fishamble street.
"There's no cover charge for any of these events, so get there early.The gig accepts bookings for Groups Of 10+. To Reserve an area in our Restaurant or to reserve group area to see the band live contact us at [email protected] Or Call (01)8280102," said a spokesperson.
The man behind the event is music fan Stephen Browne – who runs a unique professional photography service called Party Snaps which takes photos at events. A gallery of his photos from last year's party can be seen here. He is also a music promoter and is now the new manager of the Brilliant Trees since the band reunited after two decades out of the limelight. Stephen told Hot Press that he was so overwhelmed by the success of the U2 gig that he is now planning to make it an annual event.
“I came up with the idea #WelcomeToTheNorthside in November 2015 when U2 took up residency in the 3 Arena. I set up a pop-up U2 Bar / U2 Gallery and had live tribute acts at the Church on Jervis Street, and on some nights we had to turn away hundreds of U2 fans as we were at capacity before and shortly after the U2 gigs finished," Stephen tells Hot Press.
“There was great feedback from the fans who made The Church their base on their “pilgrimage” to Ireland. They had indeed received a great #WelcomeToTheNorthside of Dublin and they were all keen to return.
"This is mainly why I organised the events for the September U2 40 Celebrations. Again, after #U240 events received great feedback from the fans – and also close friends of the band who dropped by to give the ‘Cedarwood Road Sign of approval’ – I decided this will be a yearly event. I plan to grow this to a U2 festival to celebrate the greatest band in the world and more importantly to show a band called U2, formerly The Hype, who are proud of being from The Northside of Dublin that The Northside of Dublin is proud of them too.”
Fans literally came from over all over the world to the tribute gig last year to commemorate the day Larry Mullen pinned the legendary note seeking to form a band, on the notice board in Mount Temple Comprehensive.
U2 fans jetted in from the around the globe and some even dressed up on the night to participate in what was a fun tribute gig. There were fans in attendance from Holland, Sweden, Denmark, England, Germany, France and Colorado and Seattle in the USA. Even the young Canadian woman, Trish Weedon who famously joined Bono on stage in the post-terrorist attack concert in Paris, and appears on the U2 ‘Innocence + Experience: Live in Paris’ DVD, was there on the night. Trish, who was one of the unexpected stars of the Paris gig, when Bono pulled her up onstage to dance along to Mysterious Ways, was only there because she won tickets to the concert via U2’s fan club.
A couple of famous Dublin Northsiders also made it to The Church – including Bono’s mate Guggi, ex-member of the legendary Virgin Prunes and a fantastic artist in his own right these days, and Ivan McCormick – brother of ex-Hot Press writer Neil – who famously joined the band for the first few rehearsals in Larry Mullen’s kitchen.
Ivan McCormick, clearly in a nostalgic frame of mind spoke on the night with fans about his experiences of those early days. “40 years ago yesterday I joined my first band, they've done OK,” he joked, adding: “I went over to Dublin to celebrate their birthday in style.”
Some of the crowd, including Ivan himself, said everybody literally had to do a double-take when they first laid eyes on the band’s Bono doppelganger, Richard Peace. “And I had to do a double-take when I saw these guys take to the stage in a crowded, hot and sweaty bar... With a few pints of Guinness blurring the edges - no pun intended – I was transported back to '78 and the Dandelion Market gigs,” Ivan added.
The band’s singer told Hot Press it was an absolute honour for U2Baby to play the show. “It had long been our dream to do a gig in the birthplace of U2. The trip was long but so worth it due to the friendly venue and the amazing U2 fans that travelled from all over the world to celebrate. Hearing them singing every word and really engaging in the experience touched us deeply,” Richard said. “We also got to meet Guggi who was really complimentary about U2Baby and the look of the band. What a blast! We are looking forward to returning to Dublin soon.”
One U2 die-hard fan who flew from Canada, Sherry C. Green proffered: “ I flew in from Vancouver, Canada. Left Thursday 6:30 am – 17 hours of travel time, crossed eight hours of time zones and arrived in Dublin, 7 am. 48 hours of great music in The Church and The Grand Social. December was lovely; The Joshua Tree pretty great too; but the highlight for me was U2 Baby - not just a great band, but personal friends. Loved surprising them!
“Also loved getting a chance to see / hear Ivan McCormick's tales of early days. What a styling guy! LOL. Left 6:30 am Sunday morning. Total sleep for three nights: 6-8 hours. It was my first trip to Ireland, but I've already booked another trip in December for a week - I'll be a real tourist then and see the sights properly and hopefully sleep some too!”
Trish Weedon said she was pinching herself after being on stage with Bono – not once but twice: in Paris and Dublin.
"For me, it was the best day of my life. He came right over, pointed right to me and said: ‘Come on up!’ This was my second time onstage (with the band) — so I was a bit more chill with it. I just had fun with it,” she said.
“I waited in line all day. I kinda knew where Bono pulled people up, so I ended up there and all day, people were saying: ‘You have this look about you, Bono’s going to choose you’. I was like: ‘No, no, don’t say that, then I’ll be very disappointed (if it doesn’t happen)’. This is something I’ve wanted since I was 17 when I first saw it happen at a U2 concert. I thought: ‘I want to be that girl someday!’”
One Dutch fan revealed that the tribute band’s bass player’s actual instrument is a signature bass used by Adam Clayton. Ingrid Haan said: “I’d been to Dublin a few times now, mostly for U2 related stuff. My friend had never been there, so we did a lot of touristy things but also combined it with seeing some U2 landmarks I hadn't even seen myself yet.
“It was a great party in the Church, what an amazing venue! The band was very good, and also very kind people. The bassist let my friend and I – both bass players – hold his Adam Clayton signature Warwick, which was epic. They played very well on both nights, and the atmosphere was almost like a real U2 show. They obviously put a lot of work into their looks as well as their sounds. Great, great experience!
One attendee, Paul Collyer from Derbyshire – singer with U2UK, and pictured below with Trish – said on his Facebook page: “I and others I spoke to hope that this can be an annual event.”
Here’s looking forward to the July event…
Check out the full gallery from the evening right here.