Irish rock band U2 are unlikely to play a show in the UAE this year, according to Flash Entertainment, the Abu Dhabi-owned entertainment company which has been in talks to bring the music giants to the capital.

U2 will play in New Zealand and Australia in November, with further dates in Japan, Singapore and South Korea in December. It was hoped that the band might be able to organise dates around that tour, but Flash Entertainment CEO John Lickrish said it’s not looking likely. 

Speaking to Arabian Business, Lickrish said one of the reasons U2 will not perform in the UAE this year is due to the lack of an indoor venue big enough to host the band, with the cost of transporting their stage having previously prevented U2 tours from coming to the country.

“Rumours are always out there for U2. There are many discussions with them but I don’t think it’s going to happen this time around, to be honest. [I’m] not really sure [why]… scheduling is one of them. The second thing is timing – obviously we don’t have that indoor facility yet. That’s coming online in March, we have a lot of content that we’re going to be putting through there,” he said, referring to the Yas Bay Arena project that’s currently under development. 

Claw stage

Lickrish told Arabian Business last year that U2’s ‘The Claw’ stage on their 360 tours which ran from 2009-2011 was too expensive to bring to the UAE.

“Interestingly, they tried to sell it [The Claw stage] to me afterwards. It would have been nice to have if we’d had €3 million spare, but I don’t know what you’d do with it,” Lickrish said at the time.

He added: “Nobody [from the U2 team] could get in their head about how we could actually do that outdoors. It’s not an engineering miracle – we have a thing called the Burj Khalifa here in the UAE – but they hadn’t done it yet so that put them off.”

‘A-plus-plus’ artist

Flash Entertainment is the force behind the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and the Yasalam entertainment program as part of the Formula One in Abu Dhabi. It has also hosted the FIFA Club World Cup in the UAE.

The firm has brought high profile artists to the UAE, including The Rolling Stones, Paul MacCartney, The Who, Rihanna, Andrea Bocelli, Coldplay, Christina Aguilera, George Michael, Alicia Keys and Shakira.

For New Year’s 2020, it will bring an “A-plus-plus artist, somewhere around the Cold Play stature”, Lickrish said.

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