"It's an extraordinary thing, I will admit, to have [U.S. Sen.] Jesse Helms to throw a lunch for you. You know it's bad for both of our images."
U2 auctions best tickets to highest bidders
March 16, 2009
U2 are selling stage-front tickets for their summer tour to the highest bidder with part of the proceeds going to Bono's controversial Product Red charity.
The rockers are auctioning hundreds of the best tickets during the tour, with bidding starting at between (EU)99 and (EU)110 and prices expected to reach hundreds of euro.
Product Red, set up by Bono in 2006 to help fund the fight against AIDS, will receive a "proportion" of each ticket price, with the rest going to U2's concert promoter Live Nation.
The business has been criticised after brands, including Apple, Emporio Armani and Gap, created speciallybranded Red products but only donated between 1pc and 50pc of their sales to fight AIDS.
Singer Bono has helped to raise billions in aid for Africa. However, there have been concerns about fund-raising activities because traditional charity donations often see 100pc of proceeds given to good causes -- and not just a percentage.
A spokesman for U2's PR agency RMP was unavailable to discuss what percentage of the auction ticket prices would be donated to fight AIDS.
U2 will play Croke Park on July 24 and 25, Wembley Stadium in London on August 14, Glasgow's Hampden Park on August 18, Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium on August 20 and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on August 22.
Live Nation have been plugging the 10,000-plus tickets for each U2 gig available for (EU)34, but the tickets with the best view will be sold by the auction.
The auctions for the first concerts on sale, in Gothenburg and Amsterdam, close on Wednesday. Normal tickets for Gothenburg gigs on July 31 and August 1 sold out immediately after going on sale on Friday.
General standing tickets for gigs in Ireland are expected to cost (EU)60, with the cheapest (EU)34 tickets at the furthest point from the stage. Other tickets will cost (EU)92. They go on sale at 8am on Friday.
A statement from Ticketmaster said: "A proportion of the proceeds of the RED Zone Packages will be given in support of the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa."
© Independent, 2009.