Posts Tagged ‘ phoenix park ’

News In Brief: Leaving Cert, Dirt And Horse Hurt

Just a man, in his pants, rolling turf (Image: gardenplansireland.com)

Just a man, in his pants, rolling turf (Image: gardenplansireland.com)

A Donegal GAA team stopped their bus on the way home from a match this week, not because the lads needed to make use of nature’s services, but to help a man turn his turf in Galway. Despite having lost their match against a Donegal team, the junior semi-finalists were feeling charitable, with 30 of them as well as management and helpers hopping off the bus to lend a hand. Ahh lads as if you weren’t already the golden glow in Irish mammies hearts.

They may have offered the RTE lads a lift though! Turns out RTE staff have been told to ‘get the bus’ in an effort to slash the broadcaster’s spending. Apparently the news room is pretty peed off about it, as they’ll no longer be able to book taxis to take them to their “important meetings” (read as expense account lunches). Don’t expect to be moving over for Sharon Ni Bheolain though she only travels by unicorn and magic carpet. Continue reading

The Killers Rock Phoenix Park

The Killers in action in the Phoenix Park

The Killers in action in the Phoenix Park

Last year, a series of concerts were held in the Phoenix Park consisting of acts such as Stone Roses, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg and Snow Patrol. As we all now know, the second night which hosted the aforementioned Swedish House Mafia and Snoop Dogg was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. Several audience members suffered stab wounds and were hospitalised before the concert had concluded, others died from drug related incidents. The promoters shirked as much responsibility as possible, but as someone who attended the Saturday and Sunday night gigs last year I can say that the organisation was absolutely horrendous. Nobody was searched in any adequate fashion, I myself was in fact not searched at all. The stewards on site were children with no power to stop the violence, violence everyone but the organisers seemed to know was possible well in advance of the gig. What was more blatant was the difference the next day, when Snow Patrol and Florence + The Machine played to another packed Phoenix Park and no incidents were reported. Thankfully, The Killers last night ran more along these lines and has helped to re-establish the Park’s potential as the summer venue for concerts in Dublin. Continue reading

Phoenix Park Revellers Can Learn Much From Hot Rod

rod-stewartPeople my age scoffed. “Why are you going to see Rod Stewart?” they asked me, their faces and squeaky inflection reflecting sheer confusion and genuine bewilderment. With Justin Timberlake having played here recently and The Killers and Mumford and Sons descending on the Phoenix Park this week many people my age seemed unable to comprehend why anyone would opt to go see an ageing performer when they could simply wait and bask in the festival atmosphere that is sure to descend upon the Phoenix Park this weekend. Why, they persisted, did I choose to see a man facing the onset of his seventies over artists whose songs were all released while I was actually a living breathing occupant of the world? Continue reading

Florence & Snow Patrol Close Out Phoenix Park

It was a mixed weekend in Phoenix Park for this mini festival MCD threw together. Mixed in publicity, music and reception. But all in all it was three days of fantastic music for every shape and size, and though it was marred by the mindless and senseless acts of a minority, for those like myself who actually had some interest in the music it was a great weekend.

The final day of the Park Fest was a double headliner of Florence + The Machine and Snow Patrol, plus Temper Trap and a late addition in Bressie. First off the mark I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how good a show Temper Trap could put on. They have a great energy on stage coupled with good upbeat tracks and it was a pity that they couldn’t grab the attention of more of the crowd. Their big hit of course, Sweet Disposition, closed their set and injected a good dose of spirit into the muddied and wet crowd.

Ah yes, the mud. Before elaborating any further on the main acts, the condition of the park has to be addressed unfortunately. MCD have many calling for their heads after what seems to have been a total lack of foresight when organising these gigs. Most  of these calls are in relation to the acts of violence that occurred on the Saturday, but the sheer conditions people were forced to inhabit for 6+ hours were absolutely third world. There was speculation after the destruction from the Swedish House Mafia gig that the ground would be lined more adequately but unfortunately all that remained was the bare sparce dressing of the ground with plastic boarding which had sunk by about the midway point. The rest of the uncovered areas were horrendous and based on the odour, none too hygienic. Mud baths these were not. Nobody expects and outdoor gig to be clean and polished, least of all me, but this was worse than even  any Oxygen festival I have attended where it would rain non stop for days at a time. There was simply no effort made by the organisers and no amount of money received by the OPW could be worth the damage the Park has now suffered.

On then to the star turn of the night that was Florence + The Machine. Florence Welch is musical Marmite to many, a lot of people turning away at her outgoing, loving outbursts for her fans when performing live and her slightly wacky persona. Personally, I’ve never had much opinion either way but I have to say that on the day that was in it, given the madness that had come before, it did feel good to be back in that same spot hearing messages of all kinds of lollipops and happiness come from the stage. It’s a weird one, I’m fully confident that I may have found her stage play annoying under different circumstances but on the day, it was great and set a great mood in the crowd. Highlights of her set were the massive reaction from the crowd to the single note drone intro of “Shake It Off” and the closer “No Light, No Light” bringing a massive close to the set, but the Ceremonials-heavy setlist didn’t leave room for her cover of “You’ve Got The Love” which was a personal loss for myself as I had hoped to hear it. No biggie though, still a fantastic performer and a great first half to the show.

Then came an act that, to be honest, I had much higher expectations of. I had not seen Snow Patrol since 2004 at Oxegen and the following summer supporting U2. At that point they were still breaking through and they played with a genuine sincerity at showing how much they appreciated where they were. What worried me was whether or not they still had that too them. While its true though that Gary Lightbody has maybe got a little Bono-esque in his stage persona and the band’s reliability on power ballads wears a little thin, they still do commit themselves to putting on a great live show. The opener of “Eyes Open” was perfectly chosen, being an ideal “we mean business” type of track. Moving on then they treated us to a fantastic, as always, rendition of “Run” and a beautifully subtle version of “Set The Fire To The Third Bar” featuring Maria Doyle Kennedy, a big surprise given how many like myself would have simply assumed Florence Welch was the obvious choice for the track. The highlight of the night though, and contender for highlight of the weekend, was the anthemic “Chasing Cars”. It was a no brainer assumption this would bring the house down, but I could have never imagined how powerful this track becomes live. With just a few seconds of the guitar intro, the entire crowd launched into the verse and Lightbody was no longer needed. It wasn’t until the final chorus that I can remember actually hearing him sing it, and even that was just barely above the crowd. It was a fantastic moment and capped of the weekend fantastically, so much so that the remainder of their set fell slightly flat if I’m being honest. They couldn’t do better than themselves, not a bad complaint I suppose.

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.