MAC 500s throw light on U2 as they play impromptu
played a short set of songs in Dublin's newly refurbished Smithfield Market
as they received the highest award the city can bestow - the "Freedom of
the City of Dublin". On Saturday 19th March, as most of Dublin was recovering
from the previous night's biggest St Patrick's Day celebrations ever, 10,000
people descended on the Smithfield Market area to see U2 receive the award,
despite being told right up to the last minute that no concert would be
The Freedom of the City of Dublin 15 not lightly bestowed by the City,
past recipients include Nelson Mandela and J.F.K., the level to which the
band were touched by this honor was tangible. The award was given to the
members of U2, (Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen,) their manager
Paul McGuiness and the Burmese freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyl.
The 10,000 strong crowd squeezed into Smithfield Market, an area recently
redeveloped in order to become Dublin's premier civic space for the 21
st century. The cobbled square, steeped in history, is now bordered on
one side by 12 giant gas fired lighting masts. On the night the focal point
was of course the small stage, at the head of the square which used Martin
MAC 500s as its only source of intelligent-lighting. The MAC's were supplied
and operated by Lighting Designer Phay MacMahon of Bandit Lites.
The new and old architecture of the location, the small stage (flanked
by a giant TV screen) and the dramatic lighting helped create the fusion
of modern sophistication and historic symbolism that the event seemed to
call for. The occasion really was an odd mixture of major international
event and spirited community gathering, with Dublin City Council sat on
the stage behind the band, and U2s friends and family in the front row
of the huge, mainly local, crowd. Speeches were made that were both humorous
and emotive. Bono's speech was the last to be made, the words of which
were, as you might expect, poetically written and delivered, to the extent
that they almost resembled the lyrics of a song.
As Bono spoke his words the rest of the band found their instruments
and began playing a light refrain, the crowd realized they would after
all be treated to the concert they had hoped for.
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