It was the best of times. It was the drunk of times. It was Snow Patrol. It was Metallica. It was Malahide Castle. It was Slane Castle. It was Heineken. It was more Heineken.
I’ve never been a regular concert-goer. Over the years my friends and peers have gone to acts such as Green Day and Metallica when I wasn’t allowed to go/ had no money for my own ticket! They’ve been to festivals like Oxygen and EP when I’ve been too young, dumb or broke to procure entry. It was a frustrating existence when the summer rolled around as groups would inevitably form to go to gigs and concerts and I’d settle in for another night watching Made In Chelsea.
I make it sound as if I was a recluse and a loner. While that might be somewhat true now it couldn’t have been further from the truth back then. I had many friends and many opportunities to attend events in Dublin or Cork. I couldn’t go either because I was too young or I was too broke.
I don’t have any regrets in this life. I do wish that I had gone to see Metallica in Marlay Park in 2009 when my friends all went up with one of their older brothers. I wish I had gone to see Green Day a few years after when they played in Dublin. I wish I had saved more money when I was that age instead of supporting the BFS in Blarney by buying chicken rolls any chance I got. Alas, these are not regrets. If I ever perfect time travel, and God knows I’ve been trying, I’d go back, ruffle my hair and say, “Eat those chicken rolls Cian. Your metabolism is fast and you’re strong. It won’t be like this in ten years.” And I’d respond, “STRANGER! FAT STRANGER! HEEEEEEEELLLLLPPPPP!!!” And I’d swiftly teleport back to 2040 Cork, where traffic hovers above the city, the river Lee is but a speck in our digital glasses and the Events Centre is still under construction!
I went to a good few concerts in New York and loved ’em all. Vance Joy in Prospect Park was probably my favourite. Although I knew all of the songs from his new album we kept shouting “Play Riptide ya prick.” While I’m confident Vance himself would probably find this funny, the American couples surrounding us obviously didn’t, and we received enough side-eye for another pair of glasses!
A number of us attended a gig in Brooklyn where Florence and the Machine played alongside Muse and AJR for charity. That was really enjoyable. We all got fairly drunk, though, and I apologise to the girl sitting in front of me. I did not mean to spill a whole can of Brooklyn Lager down your back. You were a good sport.
Snow Patrol were really, really good. I attended with the lovely Katie and we had an absolute ball. Malahide Castle was a cool venue, and it let me feel like I was at some part of a festival for the first time.
I couldn’t get over how smiley Gary Lightbody, the lead singer, was up on stage. Katie told me that the band had taken a break due to his problems with alcohol and he was now completely sober. Despite the fact that I knew perhaps three of their songs and had only listened to their new album about twelve hours previously, I was privileged to attend a concert where the artist was so visibly happy with what they were doing.
The next day, still drunk from Coppers and whiskey n’ gingers, I made the long trek from the Green Zone Car Park to the entrance to Slane Castle. An hour and a bit later I arrived at my destination, two bottles of water and three cigarettes in, where I was ready to finally see Metallica. I hadn’t listened to their music in years, bar the day before where I scrambled to see would I still like them. And I did. I really did.
I could go into massive detail about the concert itself and the venue and how great it was and how we all let out a massive roar when the main act came on. I could tell you how nobody took their eyes off the stage and the hush before each song followed by a swelling shout will never leave my memory. I could tell you about Whiskey in the Jar and One and Master of Puppets and all the other classics they laid on us. I’d rather just say that the crowd, the fans, the people who attended the concert made it the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. Ever little interaction me and Sarah had was so delightfully wholesome; two lads from Tipp, where one worked in Blackpool, told us of other metal concerts and European cities; two young fellas who gave Sarah a card for his podcast; Jerry from Wisconsin who came all the way from the States to see the band; the rocker from Ennis who really didn’t like where he was from; the Polish lady in the queue for the food who had a Northern Irish twang; and the countless others.
The band was great.
The atmosphere was terrific.
The crowd stole the show.
If you want to take anything from this piece I wrote today it’s this…Eat all the chicken rolls you want.