HUNDREDS of U2 fans were duped yesterday in an elaborate April Fool's Day prank when they rushed to a shopping centre believing the band was playing a surprise rooftop concert.
The prank -- organised by Cork radio station RedFM -- fooled listeners, with early morning details of the impromptu concert and live news bulletins during which U2 were clearly heard playing in the background.
The station also carried audio clips of "U2" playing a rooftop concert at Blackpool Shopping Centre. But, in reality, it was the tribute band U2opia.
The station claimed the real band wanted to make a gesture to Cork, as they are not playing a gig there this summer, and that they had decided to recreate their famous concert from the rooftop of a Los Angeles liquor store in the late 1980s.
That concert has gone down in rock'n'roll legend, but this one will only go down in Red FM legend.
On first hearing of the U2 gig yesterday, fans rushed to the shopping centre from all over Cork city and county, with reports of some people running out of work to catch the impromptu gig and others abandoning their shopping to get to Blackpool.
By mid-morning, almost 500 people had gathered around the shopping centre to try and catch a glimpse of their rock heroes. The gardai and Cork fire brigade, who had been alerted in advance to the hoax, played along, and it was later broadcast that the concert was being shut down on health and safety grounds.
But hundreds of fans continued to mill around outside the shopping centre as a large crane hoist was used to bring security personnel to the roof, lending credence to the suggestion that Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam were being told to pull the plug and get off the roof.
Fans admitted they were totally taken in by the prank, and one woman said she had driven 30 miles just to try to get to see U2.
Red FM and Blackpool Shopping Centre said they were taken aback by the reaction, but added that those duped had taken it in good humour.