The other week, The Flatmate turned to me and asked what I was doing the upcoming Thursday. I answered not much but I did have a powerplates class booked in. She told me I’d be joining her in a box at the O2 to see Rudimental. I nodded and agreed. I’d do as I was told.
I’d never been to the O2 before and it’s been a weirdly long time since I’ve been to a gig. I can’t say I listen to a whole of Rudimental but their songs are good on a night out so I was looking forward to seeing them live. I figured I should get myself prepared by listening to some of Rudimental’s tracks so I flicked them on Spotify one day as I worked. It certainly did the trick but I think people may have thought I was weird as I bobbed along at my desk.
I had no idea what to wear to a gig that was going to be viewed from a box. Usually if I’m watching a concert it’s in the summer and a pair of frayed denim high-waisted shorts and aviators would be called for. But on this occasion, The Flatmate had got tickets through work so I figured that wasn’t quite the look I needed. Instead, I settled on a black turtleneck with black skinny jeans and my black heeled boots, decorated with my golden necklaces. That way, I was kind of smart but, at the same time, the designated fashion guru of my friendship group once told me that outfit makes me look like a popstar (I now therefore wear it all the time) so I thought it seemed appropriate.
I arrived at North Greenwich with The Flatmate to find that the O2 was located conveniently right next to the tube station so walking was kept to a minimal. That’s what I like. We wandered inside and were taken through security to the VIP section to find our box. I felt like an actual grown up adult. Instead of being jostled by a surrounding crowd, I was in a lovely room with a relatively small group of people, sitting at a table whilst digging into a tasty Indian buffet, sipping on champagne from our own bar and watching the arena below slowly filling up with people who would have to stand for the next 3-4 hours. Once upon a time, not that long ago, that would have been me. I didn’t know what it would be like to watch a gig from seating – and weather it would be as fun – but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little bit smug at this point.
The first supporting act, Anne-Marie, started up as we were having dinner. I could see lots of empty seats dotted around and the standing area was far from packed. As the next act came on, Gorgon City, the arena started to fill out more. I’d never heard of either act (I’m not down with the kids these days) but they both performed well. Towards the end of Gorgon City’s set, a tune came on I thought I recognised. Turns out they are the band that sings “Ready For Your Love”. I knew that one.
Finally, at about 9pm, Rudimental came on and by this time the stadium was nearly completely packed out. I have to say, I thought they were absolutely brilliant. Usually, when I pick a band to go and see or a festival to go to, I pick a classic – someone I’d love to say I’d seen even though they wouldn’t necessarily be the most amazing act to see live. Like when I heard that Bob Dylan was going to be performing at the Hop Farm festival close to where I used to live in Kent. I knew he wasn’t meant to be the best live performer these days but it was Bob Dylan – I loved him! To see him in the flesh would be amazing – and it was, even though I could barely decipher a word.
It was fantastic to see an act that can really perform well and that can get the crowd going with songs that everyone knows and wants to dance to. Even live, their voices were all on point.
The Flatmate and I settled down in seats at the front of the box but jumped up at various intervals for a good dance – particularly when we recognised a song, like “Not Giving In”, “Lay It All On Me”, “Bloodstream” and “Feel The Love”. Thankfully, the rest of our box did the same so I didn’t have to worry about obstructing anyone’s view. I did feel a little bit on show as I danced around on the balcony. I’m sure no one was paying me the slightest attention but I still tried to reign in my dance moves a little from the ones I would usually bust in a club on the dancefloor, which can be a little bit… Actually I have no idea how to describe me dancing but I think you probably get the picture.
When a slower song came on we sat ourselves back down. That was the main thing I liked about being in a box – I had a chair. I didn’t need to be on my feet the whole time. That may make me sound kind of old but, you know what, I kind of am. I mean, come on, I was wearing a turtleneck to a gig for goodness sake. Although, I did start to regret that decision as I got hot dancing around.
About 10 minutes before the performance was due to end, Rudimental disappeared from stage. A few people started to leave but the majority seemed to be staying put. The Flatmate suggested leaving, before the crowds upped and left and we were queueing for the train home but, based on my limited gig experience, I was pretty sure they’d just gone off for an encore. I kept assuring her and, obviously, I was right. Back they came. They started playing a song we didn’t know and once again The Flatmate suggested leaving while we still could but I had feeling there still one of Rudimental’s main songs we hadn’t heard. I couldn’t think what it was but I knew there was something so we stuck around. Then “Waiting All Night” struck up. I love being right. I would have been gutted if we’d left and missed that one.
As soon as the song wasn’t finished, The Flatmate and I grabbed our coats and bags and headed out. From our position, we managed to get out quite quick. It was slow moving getting through the station but not by usual standards. We were able to get on the first train we saw.
Overall, I think my experience at the O2 has probably spoiled me for all future gigs. There was good food and drink that I didn’t have to queue for ages for, I didn’t have to stand or sit on the floor between acts or when there was a song I didn’t want to dance to, and I could dance unimpeded by surrounding people. All in all, it was a very successful night.