Well tonight was the night of the O2 Preview, I did manage to get a free ticket so off I went down to see what it was all about.
Well let's get the bad stuff out of the way first....
It all felt a little bit disorganised and there were a few problems. Level's 1 and 4 were open in the arena but the only food and drink places that were open were down on level 1. There seemed to be a problem with the pumps or mixers for the soft drinks and there weren't any available. The queues for this were all a bit chaotic. They didn't seem to be able to take cards yet and quite a few people seemed to end up getting their food free either due to confused staff or apologetic supervisors. I hope they get all that perfected by the time of Bon Jovi on Sunday.
A lot of work was still going on. A huge area around the back was still empty and a bit of a building site. Even around the front where we went in you could see workmen working on things (as workmen are want to do). There was a lot of dust about too, staff were hurrying around with dusters trying to wipe everything down.
I'm 6ft tall and I felt a bit squashed in my seat. We were sat on level 4 right at the front. My knees were touching the wall at the front of that tier of seats, not too comfortable at all. It might have been better a row back, I certainly will be cautious choosing seats there in future. The view as good though, can't complain about that.
Now for the good stuff.....
It all seems really rather good. The arena itself, which seems to be the only thing open right now, looks and sounds good. They had four bands and a choir of school children and with seemingly no sound checks it all sounded fine. It's certainly a much nicer venue than even the refurbished Wembley Arena, which to be frank still feels like a bit of a barn to me.
Yes there were some teething niggles but I'm sure that's all that they were. I'm really optimistic about this and am very happy to have the venue so close to me. I really hope that this takes off in the way that it deserves to.
Oh, and there was a very funny moment too. The leader of the Council, Chris Roberts, put in an appearance. He claimed that they had sold out the preview tickets in about 2 or 3 hours. Er. No. If the Council were right when they fold us that the tickets were available at 10am on Monday the 11th of June that might have been right. However as I've said here the tickets actually were available at 10am on Friday the 8th.
I got my tickets at about 10.30am on the Monday so even by my reckoning they hadn't sold out 3 days later.
I spoke to someone else on the way out of the O2 and they managed to get their tickets at about 4pm on the Monday.
So 3 hours is a bit of a lie really, well not just a bit, it's a complete whopper. And it was told by our Council Leader in front of 12,000 odd people.
This person also phoned the Council to complain about the tickets being available before they were meant to be. Apparently the Council blamed the O2 for doing it and claims they were instructed to do it on the Monday.
Anyway it was all very good regardless and I'm feeling very optimistic and hopeful about all of this. So let's end with some photos.....
On our way into the O2.
Strange blue thing that you meet behind the doors. Pretty blue thing. Lovely blue thing.
Looking down onto one of the incomplete areas, I've got no idea what the blob thing is....
Yet more work in progress.
The first band to play to an audience at the O2! I've got no idea who they were but they played Dakota by the Stereophonics.
This seems to be the sort of executive suite that our Council is going to spend nearly £100,000 of our money renting for a year (click here).
Some nice young chap doing his thing, his name escapes me once again.
This "street" will have restaurants and at least one bar along it, at the moment nothing's open though.
Leaving at the end of the evening, I think it looks rather nice.