As a huge live music fan I am getting rather bored of going to the same old concert venues. There are only so many times I can see a gig at the same arenas and theatres. After a while an arena, which is by definition already soulless, becomes more and more boring and ordinary. I think that seeing the same old stage, seeing the same old ticket prices, seeing the same old rip off bars, seeing the same old blocked toilets, seeing the same old grumpy security guards, seeing the same old...same old...well it has just all got a little bit dull and I need a change...
Crowd Picture - John Lund (http://johnlund.com)
I actually believe that arenas are becoming more and more soulless as time goes by. Yes they are efficient but rock n roll shouldn't be played in ‘efficient venues’ it should be in cool old theatres and sweaty clubs. While going to an old classic theatre can add greatly to the concert experience, the same cannot be said of gigs at an arena sponsored by Labatt’s / O2 / Diet Coke / Shredded Wheat /or some brand of diet yoghurt.
I think I have done Dublin venues to death…time for a change of scenery…which is good because we are moving…
A Brief History of Time…and a Move To London
- I was born in Yorkshire 40 years ago this December
- The last twelve years I have lived in Dublin
- The last seven years I have spent with the Mrs
- The last five years have been in our own house
- The last three years we have wanted to move
- The last two years we have wanted to move to London
- This year we decide to finally do it
- September 29th 2013....London here we come…
Yes I am dragging my wife (hardly kicking and screaming it must be said) to England’s famous capital. In just three weeks we will be finding our way tentatively around London’s streets, while hopefully not actually living on them…
‘Why Do You Want To Move To London?’ is a question we have been asked many times and people never seem satisfied with our answers. It’s as if, because they would never move there themselves, then they don’t understand why anyone else would want to. I find that strange; each to their own after all. Yes London isn’t for everyone but nor is any place. I for one could never live in Yorkshire again. It just isn’t for me. Friends who live there say they could never live in London. There is no right and wrong…just personal preference.
In truth there are many reasons why we want to move to London however most are boring sensible ones such as work, family and financial. Yet there will be other benefits to the move as well. There will be a whole new city to explore...and yes I will get to experience new theatres, new clubs and well ok yes new arenas as well...
I have been to one hundred and forty one concerts in Ireland in the twelve years I have lived here…most in Dublin. I have seen those gigs in thirty-two different places…
Academy / Ambassador / Aviva Stadium (Previously Lansdowne Road) / Brazen Head / Button Factory / Cassidy’s / Crawdaddy / Croke Park / Dublin Castle / Dundrum Mill Theatre / Howth Summit Inn / Irish Museum Of Modern Art / Kilkenny Nowlan Park / Marlay Park / Maynooth Mantra / Naas Time / National Stadium / O2 Arena (Previously Point Theatre) / O’Donoghues / Olympia Theatre / Punchestown Racecourse / Rathmines Music City Records / Ratoath Fairyhouse Racecourse / RDS Arena / Slane Castle / St James Gate (Guinness) / Toners / Tower Records / Tripod / Village / Voodoo Lounge / Whelan’s
Dublin O2 Arena
That’s quite an impressive list, indeed thirty-two seems like a lot but the problem is that seventy-five of those gigs have been at just four different places. These have included ten visits to the RDS Arena (with Springsteen making up six of those) and eight trips to Vicar Street. I have seen twenty-nine gigs at the Olympia Theatre and most have been fantastic. The problem is there aren’t many other places in town of such magnificence. Now as much as I love the Olympia (it is after all the best place in the city), I need more variation…much more.
I think my main issue is that I have been to twenty-eight gigs at the O2 Arena (the Point Theatre as it used to be called). Every fucker and his son plays there these days. Part of the issue is that in Dublin there is little variation in size. There are a few stadium gigs each year, a few festivals, a lot of theatre gigs, and far more gigs at the one arena than there should be. There are some artists that shouldn’t be playing the O2 but because there is no real middle ground between 2000 and 10,000 seaters, and as some artists don’t want to play more than one show in Dublin, then they do play at the arena...and don’t fill it.
I must point out that I have seen many excellent gigs at arenas over the years including my very first in December 1989 at the Birmingham NEC. I have also seen many great concerts at O2 Arenas. O2 Arenas are generally well run. I have just got to the point where I am fed up of the sight of them (this isn’t an anti-O2 post as I can safely say that some of the O2 sponsored Academies are top notch).
London Venue Wish List and a Farewell to Dublin
I am very much looking forward to living in London and all that it will bring. Music is a big part of my life and so I really can’t wait to go to gigs at so many different venues…for starters I won’t rest until I have ticked all these off…
100 Club / Alexandra Palace / Barfly / Borderline / Brixton Academy / Dublin Castle / Electric Ballroom / Forum / Hammersmith Apollo / Hyde Park / Koko / O2 Arena (yes, yes I know….but if needs must) / Ronnie Scott’s / Roundhouse / Shepherds Bush Empire / Union Chapel
As it happens I have already seen twenty-three concerts in London but over half of them have been at Wembley Stadium (including four Bon Jovi and three Rolling Stones) which probably shows that I have only really been to ‘event’ concerts in the capital. I have also been to gigs at Royal Albert Hall and Earls Court but I look forward to many a gig at other iconic places like the 100 Club and the Roundhouse. I want to be there, I want to be at the front moshing away making a fool of myself…as I often do...
So farewell Dublin but I will be back soon I’m sure (with an Irish wife it is a given). I will miss your pubs, of which there are no better. I will miss your Guinness, of which there is no equal. I will miss your people, of which there are few friendlier. I won’t however miss your music venues...I've been there and yes I got the T-Shirt...until next time.