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Film fans in Cannes got a surprise tonight, when U2 played a two-song set outside the Palais des Festivals, minutes before the screening of the new 3D movie.

Arriving to the incandescent flash of the massed ranks of the paparazzi, band and film director Catherine Owens left their car to stroll the red carpet into the Palais, the centre of the film festival.

To the unrestrained delight of hundreds of fans who had turned up on a hunch they might be in for something special, the band then climbed a stage and turned in blistering live versions of Vertigo and Streets.

Speaking in French, Bono wished a happy 60th birthday to the Festival.

Word had got out during the day that the band might be doing more than walking the red carpet to the premiere - hundreds of fans had turned up during the evening, chanting and unfurling banners.

After the performance the band headed inside for the screening. More news and photos on the way.

Latest: YouTube has the live set here

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