Crowds brave rain, mud to see U2 Glastonbury debut

Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:44pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mike Collett-White

PILTON, England (Reuters) -A hundred thousand people braved rain, cold and mud to see Irish rockers U2 at Glastonbury on Friday in their first appearance at the famous music festival.

The band had been due to play a headline slot on the main Pyramid stage a year ago, but lead singer Bono hurt his back putting their debut on hold.

There was a small protest as promised against U2's decision several years ago to switch its operations from Ireland to the Netherlands for tax purposes.

But it did little to distract the crowd, which sang along to some of the band's greatest hits including "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" to "Where the Streets Have No Name."

"I'm sorry to have called in sick last year," Bono told the crowd, his dark glasses covered in rain drops. "This is a very, very great occasion for us - we don't do this very often."

U2 is in the middle of a record-breaking world tour, but rarely performs at festivals and has never played Glastonbury.

A pressure group called Arts Uncut had aimed to embarrass Bono and the band by highlighting their tax status, and a large white balloon covered with the words "U Pay Tax 2?" was held above the crowd.

One man wore a T-shirt saying "Bono Pay Your Tax," but the gestures were barely noticed by the majority of onlookers.   Continued...

<p>Bono, lead singer of Irish band U2, performs with The Edge (L) and Larry Mullins(R) on the third day of the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton</p>