From the earliest ticket in my collection to the most recent. First things first though - this is not my actual ticket for the gig. The ticket here is one I collected from a member of staff on the way out so that I had something for the collection. Tragic eh? A visit to a gig at the O2 entails you surrendering your ticket on entry in exchange for a wristband, see exhibit A:
This was the first time I'd been to see Elbow and my first visit to the O2. The date coincided nicely with the GLW's birthday and our wedding anniversary so we decided to push the boat out and booked into the Radisson hotel on Canary Wharf. This photo was taken from our room after the show. The O2 looks like a spaceship when it's all lit up. Apologies for the poor picture quality, it was taken on my iPod.
As for the venue, I liked it. Easy to get to, especially if your hotel is on the opposite bank of the Thames, plenty of choices for pre gig food and drink but avoid Union Square, the service was lousy - our waitress took our order and then went on a break without placing it with the kitchen or bar staff - and too many items on the limited menu were unavailable. The food itself was okay but by the time it arrived all the enjoyment was long gone. And they made us miss the support act. All the venue staff were smiley and helpful and the view and sound from our viewpoint on the floor was very good. Drinks in the arena itself though were silly money - £3.20 for a 500ml bottle of Coke, sheesh.
The show itself was a triumph. The majority of the setlist was taken from their two most recent albums, both of which are very close to my heart. Guy Garvey's lyrics speak to me in a way that no others do and songs like Starlings and Open Arms can reduce me to tears in seconds flat. He's a very engaging avuncular stage presence and the crowd were putty in his hands. And to see these songs performed live with my best girl by my side left me feeling like my heart might burst. Just gorgeous.
Video is Open Arms live at the O2 28 March 2011