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BONO

U2 singer Bono tells EU to ‘buy Spanish’

Irish rock star Bono delivered a poignant speech at the European People's Party congress in Dublin, in which he spoke of the need for a "Europe-wide campaign to spotlight Spain".

U2 singer Bono tells EU to 'buy Spanish'
Irish singer and frontman of U2, Bono waves as he arrives at the Dublin Convention Centre in Dublin. Photo: Peter Muhly/AFP

U2's frontman was met by a deafening applause after his 20-minute speech on Friday, having addressed issues such as Ireland’s bailout, the troika and Europe’s immigration issue.

His discourse also focused on Spain's financial blues, with the pop star asking EU figureheads like Angela Merkel, José Manuel Durão Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy to think of Spain as a family member in need.

"You've got (Spanish) Prime Minister (Mariano) Rajoy just this week urging the EU to make structural reforms that will create liquidity in the Spanish economy," Bono said.

"Maybe you will. But beyond that, where is the family's response?

 "Where is our Europe-wide campaign to spotlight Spain, to encourage others to take their holidays there, to buy Spanish goods, listen to Spanish music?"

The singer-songwriter, who's also widely recognized for his philanthropic work, rounded off his views on Spain with a joke:

"Perhaps U2 should make a flamenco album?

"Well, maybe not," he added as the crowd laughed.

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MUSIC

Spain launches probe after U2 concerts sell out in seconds

The Spanish government said Friday it had ordered police to investigate why tickets for two upcoming U2 concerts in Madrid sold out almost instantly, forcing fans to pay inflated prices on resale sites.

Spain launches probe after U2 concerts sell out in seconds
(L-R) The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 perform during The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, Photo: AFP

The Irish band announced a second concert date in Madrid after tickets for the first show scheduled for September 20th at the 16,000-seat WiZink Center went within minutes of going on sale on Tuesday.

Tickets for the second show scheduled for September 21st went on sale on Friday and also sold out very quickly.   

Culture Minister Inigo Mendez de Vigo said he had asked police to investigate after the tickets for the first concert sold out so quickly.    

“It is not normal that a few minutes after tickets go on sale over the internet, there are none left,” he told a news conference.    

The minister said this hurts fans who must then turn to other sellers offering tickets “at a much higher price” online.    

A government commission was set up last year after similar problems occurred with other concerts, to look into what changes need to be made to Spanish laws to improve the fight against ticket scalping, he added.

Tickets for the two U2 concerts in Madrid, which sold at €35 to €195 ($43.5  to $242 ), are being offered for resale on classified ad websites in Spain for as much as €500.

Some adverts claim to be selling two pens for several hundred euros which include two “free” tickets for one of the U2 concerts in Madrid.   

The authorities suspect scalpers use software bots to snap up concert tickets, which they then resell at inflated prices.