Irish rock band U2 are pretty darn big, in fact, they are probably one of the biggest rock bands in the world right now with tickets of their world tour selling very well and for pretty high prices but that doesn't mean they won't do the occasional freebie every now and then.
They will be in London this weekend to be honored by the MTV Music Europe Awards that are being held in the British capital where they will pick up the global icon prize in an event on the Sunday and as a part of that they will be filming a free gig at Trafalgar Square, parts of which will be broadcast the following evening.
MTV and The Mayor of London's office are running a ballot for free tickets to the 7,000-capacity event, with the mayor himself, Sadiq Kahn, saying: “It is fantastic to host the EMAs in our city for the first time in 21 years. I’m delighted that Trafalgar Square will host this special MTV Presents performance — an iconic venue for an iconic band. I have been saying, loud and clear, that London is open to talent, creativity, and business. What better way to showcase this than one of the world’s greatest rock bands performing to Londoners from all backgrounds, for free, in the heart of our great city?”
There is a worry that the event may seem some protestors though as recent Paradise Papers revelations have seen that lead singer Bono, known for his charity work, has had funds diverted through offshore accounts in Malta to avoid paying taxes on a Lithuanian shopping mall that he invested in. This isn't the first time the band has been in hot water over their tax setup after they officially relocated their business practices to the Netherlands to avoid paying higher rates of tax in Ireland. It is unlikely though that fans indulging in a free concert will be too bothered about this.
Bruce Gillmer, head of music and music talent for Viacom, which owns MTV, said: “Their performance for Londoners in historic Trafalgar Square is just the beginning of the electrifying celebration of music where artists from every corner of the world will unite in this extraordinary city.”
U2 first formed in 1978 and have gone on to sell more than 170 million records worldwide over a period that included 13 studio albums and have won 22 Grammys, more than any other recording artist. Other artists to win the MTV Global Icon award include Whitney Houston and Queen.