Green light for Obama concert line-up


Plans are coming together for Monday afternoon’s big concert in honour of Barack Obama on College Green in Dublin.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny requested a programme with an Irish theme from the concert promoter MCD, which is putting the gig together.

An early-evening start was originally envisaged, but the concert has been brought forward to mid-afternoon, and it is expected that the grand finale will take place at around 6pm.

President Obama is unlikely to attend the whole of the two-hour show, but he will join his hosts from the Government for the entertainment as soon as he gets back from the revels in Moneygall.

While the final line-up has yet to be finalised – apart from Jedward, savvy as ever in the advance-publicity stakes – speculation is growing that Bono, U2 or both may make a surprise appearance. Bono is an admirer of Obama, saying in a recent Hot Pressinterview: “There is nothing fake about this man.”

The band are currently on tour in North America, but their dates leave a window of opportunity: they play Denver tonight, then Salt Lake City on Tuesday. With the help of God and a private jet, anything is possible.

Meanwhile, we hear that Sharon Shannon, Mundy, The Coronas and Imelda May will be among those taking the stage.

A number of leading Irish actors will give readings, among them Brendan Gleeson and Gabriel Byrne. Top sporting figures, such as Pádraig Harrington, Robbie Keane and Brian O’Driscoll, will also take part, and the organisers are keeping their fingers crossed that the latter will arrive with the Heineken Cup trophy.

The show is scheduled to run for more than two hours, and gates into the concert will open at 2pm.

Members of the public have been advised to enter by the security gates at the intersection of Dame Street and Parliament Street.

The Taoiseach will introduce the headline act towards the end of the concert, when Barack Obama will address the crowd.

Then, if all goes to plan, the performers will gather onstage for a grand musical finale to send everyone home happy.