U2 Sell Lemons But Fine Profit Out of Their Reach

The Australian by Matt Price (1998-02-19)

It must be an Irish joke. It’s $150 to get in the door, another $25 for the program and
a fiver for a pair of official U2 condoms, yet the four members of
Dublin’s most famous rock band insist they’ll not make a cracker from
their Australian Tour. “Charging these prices, we’re not making any money out of it,
I can tell you that,” pleaded lead singer Bono early yesterday morning
after the band’s Perth performance. “This is just to get all of this
shit down here. We’re not paid to play.” Admittedly West Australian fans paid a premium to see U2 in a
smaller indoor venue, but the best tickets in Melbourne, Brisbane and
Sydney are well over $100, around the cost of a “cheap seat” at
Tuesday night’s concert. Bono was furious when he discovered many of the plum seats at
the PopMart tour’s Australian premiere went to what he labelled the
“chicken-in-a-basket” crowd. “I found out somebody sold tickets in the front row for 300
bucks, blocks of them, in a deal with the casino,” he fumed. “That
stinks.” Manager Paul McGuiness admitted that since ticket prices were
“pretty steep”, he wasn’t expecting heavy sales of PopMart
merchandise. He may have been pleasantly surprised. One booth surveyed the The Australian had sold out of
official inflattible lemons ($15), sweatshirts ($65), posters ($15),
keyrings ($15), fridge magnets ($10) and computer mousepads ($20).
“Snow Globes” – small 1970’s kitsch plastic bubbles with snowflakes
descending on band members- had sold out at $20 each, nor were there
any condoms remaining on the shelf. Clearly, love had come to town, albeit clothed in distinctive
lemon latex. Most of the 16,000 who paid their money and took their chances
appeared to enjoy the PopMart spectacle, featuring a mind-boggingly
large television screen and a gigantic shining lemon, both prominent
and undoubtedly costly parts of the aforementioned excrement Bono
complained about. One Irish family in the good seats seemed to sum up the night.
Mum and her two adolescent daughters were having a wow of a time
dancing, singing and screaming through the two hour extravaganza. Dad spent most of the evening with earplugs in place bearing
the look of a man who had spent all his money on tickets, programs,
T-shirts and “Snow Globes“…and consequently couldn’t afford the

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