Some 14,000 fans of Heroes del Silencio will by the weekend have seen the group "live" in concert, via cinema screens hundreds of miles away in a soccer stadium in the legendary Spanish rock band's home city of Zaragoza, northern Spain.

In what is an unprecedented initiative for Spain, 16 cinemas in 11 cities belonging to the 28-cinema Yelmo Cines group showed the Oct. 10 concert live via satellite to some 7,000 fans.

Yelmo marketing executive Mónica Sardina says about 80% of the tickets were sold on Wednesday, and she expects attendance to be 100% for today's concert. Oct. 12 is a public holiday in Spain to mark Ibero-America Day (Columbus Day).

Tickets for the 135-minute concert cost €16 ($22.55), compared to the €6 or €7 charged to watch a film. Prices for the Zaragoza tickets in the sold-out 50,000-capacity soccer stadium range from €40 to €70 ($56.40-$98.70). It is the first time in Spain that live concerts have been screened in real time at cinemas.

"We have long wanted to offer entertainment in our cinemas beyond showing films, and last year we screened some World Cup soccer games from Germany," says Sardina. "We shall definitely continue to screen live concerts by satellite, even though fewer people responded on Thursday than we expected. The pre-screening campaign was not very extensive, and maybe the idea is still too new for many pop fans. But I am sure it will take off."

Heroes manager Nacho Royo says the cinema screening is a "wonderful" idea. "The band told me that the initiative was really successful. To think that 14,000 fans who could not see the band live in Zaragoza can do so on a cinema screen at the other end of the country is tremendous."

The Zaragoza concerts come towards the end of a 10-gig tour of Latin America and Spain that marks a brief return 10 years after Heroes del Silencio split. The sold-out tour that started in Guatemala City on Sept. 15 and ends in Valencia on Oct. 27 will be seen by some 500,000 people. A CD/DVD of the tour is scheduled for release by EMI Spain in mid-December. Royo says it could be the No. 1 Christmas album in Spain and Mexico, the band's other big market.

The tour before Zaragoza also included sports stadiums in Buenos Aires, Mexico City (twice), Monterrey, and the Los Angeles Galaxy Stadium in the U.S. The two post-Zaragoza concerts are in Seville and Valencia.

Heroes del Silencio has sold more than 6 million copies of its 11 albums, says EMI Spain international exploitation manager Leticia Giménez. She adds that the group's most important territories before its 1997 breakup were Spain (2.8 million units), Mexico (1.3 million), Germany (975,000) and the United States (421,000).

The band's singer/leader Enrique Bunbury has enjoyed a fruitful solo career since 1997, and he insists the tour is a one-off. "Heroes is not reforming, and I am already writing material for my next solo album to be recorded early next year," he said after the tour was announced in early summer.