“I seem to know an increasing number of people who refuse to go and see any live music. I understand where they’re coming from. Going to a gig is basically like going to the pub, except there’s only one beer on tap and it tastes like farts, there’s nowhere to sit, it costs to get in and some attention-seeking numpty is screaming in your ear the whole time.”

“Going to the O2 is unlike any other concert experience. You can sense the anticipation as soon as you step off the tube at North Greenwich station. Musky wafts of cologne that have been rush-bought in Duty Free on the way back from Kavos rush up the stairs. Everyone is in their finest. High-heels and thick layers of Max Factor for the girls. Button-up shirts and a faint sense of disappointing their parents for the boys. Young people dress up for the O2 the way old people dress up for the theatre – there’s no real need to, as you’re mostly going to be sitting in a dark room with all the lights on someone else, but you do it anyway out of a sense of occasion.”

“But what are the other options? A lot is made of this country’s small venues, these supposed shrines to real music where bands learn their craft and cut their teeth. But a small venue is like a Spectrum computer, a 2D display in which there are only so many variations on which the same theme that can be displayed.

The O2, by contrast, is like a fucking jumbo 5000GB iPad being broadcast into your brain. It can be anything you want it to be. I’ve seen Rihanna straddle a tank there, Leonard Cohen command the silence of 20,000, Jay Z start mosh pits and Florence turn the whole thing into the set of a shoddy 70s debutante ball. It is a blank space with limitless possibilities. They’ve turned it into the Strictly Come Dancing Studio, an ice hockey rink, and a Church. It’s the Transformers of music venues, and you, the punter, are Shia LaBeouf, a handsome young Jew of French descent, taking your prize.”
  • The power of crowd mentality
  • The ability of large scale venues to provide huge spectacle 

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