Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Eating at the O2 before a gig...

I was back at the O2 a short while ago for the War of the Worlds show, I couldn't help but notice how long the queues for the restaurants still were.

When I went to my first "proper" event at the O2 Arena, Andrea Bocelli, I did eat at a restaurant but only after a fairly long wait.

There were two factors with that concert though, first was that a fair number of the food places weren't yet open. The other was that the top level of seating wasn't in use and the floor was seating. So less places to eat, but less people to feed.

The War of the Worlds show seemed to be playing to a packed arena, though once again the floor was seating which will mean less people than a standing show.

I got there early because I was out and about that day so had plenty of time to mooch around and see how it was doing. A lot more places to eat are now open, but they still weren't coping at all well. There were huge queues and lots of seemingly fed up people trying to find somewhere to eat. And this was at about 5.30pm, an hour before the doors opened, two and a half hours before the show.

It's confirmed my opinion that to try and eat at the O2 before a concert is madness and something I'll never want to try again. Thankfully for this most recent visit I'd had a big lunch in town and was just after a hot dog, or two, which were in plentiful supply without an epic queue.

There's still so much room at the O2, presumably where the Super Casino was meant to go, and I wonder why they don't open more restaurants. A lot of potential trade was being lost and bad feelings generated by the lack of facilities.

As for the show itself well I thought it was great. It was a touch too loud (consider that I love seeing bands like Motorhead live when I say that), the band overpowered the singer(s) through many of the songs. It was an impressive spectacle though, the huge video screen, floating Richard Burton head and the martian walker over the stage. I'm not sure I'd want to see it again but I really enjoyed it. The LP was such a part of my childhood and it was wonderful to see it all presented in a new way.

It also got me wondering... At times it felt like watching a movie with a real orchestra providing the soundtrack. I would love to watch Star Wars like that!


Neil Reddin said...

I wouldn't generally even plan to eat at a venue like the O2. Even when you can find somewhere half-decent, you're likely to be paying silly prices because you're the captive audience.

Granted I haven't got to the O2 for anything yet, but if Earl's Court, MK Bowl, Wembley Arena, etc. are anything to go by...

Charlton Average said...

The O2 is much better than any of the venues you list, it really is a world apart from them in terms of what it can offer. It's not just an arena, which itself has a good variety of take away type places, but it has "proper" restaurants within the O2 as a whole.

If you look back at my other postings about the 02 you'll see that I've eaten at the Spur Steakhouse and it was actually pretty good with reasonable pricing.

Amongst the other places it's got are an S&M Cafe (I've eaten at their Islington place a few times and it's fantastic) and a curry house called Raan which had a very favourable review in one of the free papers last night.

My complaints about the O2's restaurants aren't about the prices or the quality but just about the availability when there's not even a maximum (i.e. standing) gig in the Arena.