No, it wasn’t a complimentary ticket (you hand them in on entry & collect them after gigs finished), i paid over £70 for a CRAP service, but to got see some good bands 🙂 * Let me just get this rant out of the way *
From the start, i knew this one would be a balls up.In their wisdom, they didn’t post out the tickets (a service i paid for). When i chased them up, they said could be collected from the box office from 11am on gig day.I then requested my postage costs to be refunded, as i paid for a service they didn’t provide. Got the reply : ” Unfortunately, we are unable to refund your transaction as this also covers the cost of placing your tickets for collection from the venue box office”. Oh how typical, anything to rip off their customers.Well,before we got there, Jim contacted me to say the box office wouldn’t be open until 12pm ! Yeah, just know how this is going to go….
When got there, had a little wander around & bumped into my old mate Dave Ling. Not seen him for ages. I asked him how he was & his reply was something like “More to the point, how are you?” That was nice of him. Next we had a little wander around the venue looking at the overpriced eating places 😉 Then i noticed a familiar face coming towards me. It was a lad from Sheffield, Tonito, who i’ve met at loads of gigs (Sheffield/Nottingham etc). Thought it was time we connected on Facebook, so we did 🙂 Went to join the box office queue & after a while, Eric & Sonia arrived. First thing Sonia said was “You’re looking well”. That was very nice to hear. It may seem small, but to me, that’s a big boost to my well being/confidence.
When box office opened, a few people in front of us came away with no tickets! Strange eh? Once it was our turn, they said that the tickets hadn’t arrived at the box office yet! Oh See Tickets/O2 arena are such professionals ! (sarcasm). Every subsequent customer was told “The tickets will be here in an hour”. So, the first act started at 12.20 & majority of us didn’t have tickets yet ! Personally, i don’t think these so called “professional companies” should be able to get away with this. We paid for a service which they did not provide, TWICE now. Cunts.
Eventually we get our tix & just hope that not many have gone in before us. Poor old Jim was STILL left waiting as his ticket (different company) had still not turned up. Now, i’d planned to go in the balcony & it seemed empty. Asked security & they said ” We won’t open the balcony until the main floor fills up”. I was still livid from the ticket B.S. so had a word with the production manager, a very nice American lady. She said i could have a seat. Well, it turned out it WASN’T in balcony, but in the disabled area, which wasn’t that great a view. So i went back to her & said we had crossed wires. She then told me ” The balcony is closed & only VIPs can go up there” (erm, so the security had totally sold me a bullshit line eh?!!) Well, i gave up on that goose chase & went back in. Place was busying up. Partly cos i was pissed off & partly as i didn’t think the place would get all that busy, i decided to go front row! Watched “Jackaman”, who were new to me & pretty good. Damn, can she sing !
Next up, it was the band which were the main reason for me coming here : The Virginmarys :-). I absolutely LOVE the latest album, ” Divides”. There’s not many bands i can say i like every track on the album, but this is certainly one of the special few. Songs such as ” I Wanna take you home” really resonate with me. It was a well thought out set list to hit hard & fast.
The set just seemed to fly by. Ally, as ever, showed his appreciation for the crowd turning up to see them. He also briefly told how they were delayed because of Alice Coopers snake 🙂 They were easily my band of the day.
To my utter shame,after all these years, i’ve still not got a VMs t-shirt ! (only got a beanie hat ). I didn’t see any merchandise for them around the arena ( The O2 probably wanted too big a cut to sell there 😉 ) so i sent Gareth a msg to see if i could buy one. Unfortunately, they only had ” Tent ” size in the one i wanted 🙁 So still haven’t got one…
Michael Monroe was running around like mad. He was making Dunc work hard as regards his microphone stand. I reckon MM does it deliberately 😉 Reminded me of the show at Camden Rocks in 2015. I was stood on the left & we had a moment where i could see the exasperation in the eyes poor old Dunc 😉
Well, whatever, MM played a typical upbeat set. A few times he came down to the barrier to meet his people. Thinking about it, i’ve never seen a bad show by him. He has a solid band behind him & they always seem to have fun. Great stuff.
Next it’s Therapy? Again, you know what you’re gonna get with them. Never seen a bad gig by them. Fun with a capital F ! 🙂
We then move to the main arena, where things are already quite busy. I must say, i really don’t think the organizers really thought things through as regards the Indigo O2 room. I mean, what would have happened if a lot of this crowd had wanted to see the acts in the smaller room ? It’s obvious not everyone would have fitted in & there was potential for even more unsatisfied punters…
So, first band up in the arena was ” Blackberry Smoke”. They were ok i suppose. Next it’s Apocalyptica. They were a great novelty act when they started about 20 years ago, because it was an original idea. I guess it was always going to be a limited potential though, when just playing the cellos. So along the way, they got guest singers for some songs. The standout one for me was when Sandra Nasic (Guano Apes) did “Path Vol 2” back in 2001 (If my memory is correct, she also had the honor of being the first person to add vocals to an Apocalyptica song). I’ve not really followed their career since then, but did notice they had some great guest vocalists/collaborations along the way. Can’t say as i like the band nowadays & if i’m honest, i’m amazed they’ve managed to make such a good career out of it all. However, i respect the fact they’ve worked for everything & are now even able to play a gig at Royal Festival Hall !
Somewhere during the night, i bumped into Adrian Hextall. I first met him at the Camden Rocks show a couple of years back. Again, such a nice chap that he asked how i was doing with regards to my tumors etc. Was really appreciated. Next it’s The Darkness. They’ve certainly had some HIGHS 😉 & lows over their career. I reckon one of my fave times seeing them was at the MTV birthday gig at Brixton ,back in 2003.(Along with “The Music” & headliners “Janes Addiction”). They were just starting to become well known at the beginning of their meteoric success. As with many bands, internal problems & drugs caused them to implode & they were away for some years. I wasn’t sure what to expect of them tonight.I could take it or leave it tbh. But, as it was, i mostly REALLY enjoyed their set. It was fun & a laugh. What i DIDN’T like though was when Justin started trying to guess audience members names! Just seemed stupid how he was rambling on. Maybe there was a reason for it ? 😉
Finally it’s time for Alice Cooper. By now i’m starting to feel tired as it’s been such a long day. I was enjoying the set a lot, but, after maybe 40mins or so, i just felt like if i stayed i’d pass out (or something worse). I know when to not push myself.
So i said goodbye to everyone & arranged to meet Ady back at Stanmore tube. Despite the initial tickets clusterfuck, the day did end up ok. Apologies for my initial rant, but, i just cannot take it when there is such incompetence !