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Swedish House Mafia Rock Phoenix Park

There was much to talk about after Swedish House Mafia’s gig in Phoenix Park last night, not least of all the persistent rumours of deaths from overdose and the confirmation of nine stabbings. Whilst these are grave concerns and everyone is obviously anxiously awaiting the outcome of the victims and the person in question responsible for the acts, I would rather if I could talk only about the performances for the majority of this review.

Arriving in time to see Snoop Dogg take the stage, the first thing I couldn’t help but notice was how much better the sound was in the park compared to previous gigs I had experienced there. Phoenix Park is not by any means an ideal venue for gigs but it has to be said they’ve got it right from the setup perspective. Snoop took the stage and I have to say, he didn’t mess around. A lot of the faffing about onstage and theatrics that can come with a Snoop set, and indeed came in bucket loads at his Oxygen set in ’06, were missing and he plowed through the hits quite efficiently. Biggest cheer of his time on stage had to have been his David Guetta collaboration “Sweat” which was fantastically received.

Next up was the set many were most eager to see, that of a certain Tinie Tempah. Tempah has slowly but surely been turning himself into the king of modern rap and pop this side of the Atlantic. This was fully evident in how he controlled the crowd for his set, injecting massive energy as he blasted out his hits, “Written In The Stars” as expected being one of the high points and he had the crowd in great form. One odd inclusion, given the presence of SHM on the bill, was Tempah deciding to do his collaboration with them “Miama 2 Ibaza” as part of his own setlist, when saving it for the main slot would have seemed more logical. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I thought it gave the impression that there wasn’t much relation between the acts on the bill, with Tinie seemingly staying separate from SHM given that they didn’t link up to feature this collaboration.

As the sun set it was then time for the headliners to take the stage for their last ever Irish show. Swedish House Mafia have had a good run of the last four years they’ve spent collaborating. It has to be said though that as farewell gigs go, this one was slightly odd given that they were barely together to begin with and it is highly unlikely that at least two of them won’t cross paths again in the future. But that aside, they certainly played as though it was their last show. There was one or two hit and miss tracks thrown in but for the most part they knew just what buttons to press, no pun intended, to get the crowd jumping. When they launched into Faithless track “Insomnia”, the light show and pyrotechnics coupled with the enthusiasm from the crowd really summed up the quality of entertainment on display for the night. Although Tinie Tempah arguably outshone them, Swedish capped of a great night of music that unfortunately doesn’t look likely to be seen here for a while to come.

And so we should discuss briefly the incidents that brewed from last night’s gig. We now have confirmation of nine stabbings and it seems there was indeed one death by overdose, with another two rumored. Ireland has a long standing problem with concerts, particularly those outdoors in the summer, where the main cause of the problem is children for want of a better word. 16 – 20 year olds who are experimenting with drugs, possibly even drinking for the first time, do not know their own limits and overdo things to the extreme. Every country is quite skilled at it, but we seem to excel at it. It looks now as though the stabbings were undertaken by one individual and the question on everybody’s lips is why would someone even want to do it? The question on mine is; how did MCD organise such poor security? When entering the gig I was barely frisked, so much so that I remained standing thinking a more thorough search was coming, only to find that lightly brushing my arms constitutes a search for weapons and narcotics these days. Even if these stabbings were taken out with a device acquired in the venue itself, where was the security? Having been at Oxygen last year and seen how well an event can be organised when promoters try hard enough, I was shocked at the lack of Garda and security presence inside the venue. Sign of the times? A sold out 45,000 crowd would beg to differ.

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