Sunday 21 October 2018

Irish support act for The Rolling Stones at Croke Park has been announced

The Academic
The Academic

Sean O'Grady

There's big news for The Academic today as they're revealed as the support act for The Rolling Stones's Croke Park gig.

The group, made up of Craig Fitzgerald, Dean Gavin and brothers Matt and Stephen Murtagh, will open for the iconic rockers on first night of their No Filter tour on May 17.

Originally from Mullingar, the group told how they discovered they were personally chosen by The Rolling Stones themselves to be their opening act.

"We found out last week when we were on tour in Paris. Our manager called us and was like, 'anyone who is not in the band, leave the room'. He told us over speaker phone. Minds blown. We couldn't believe it. It was insanity," they said.

"[Music promoter] Peter Aiken told us that the Stones, of all the acts that were put forward, picked us. They said they wanted an Irish band and that's just insane, to be picked personally by them."

The gig will be the biggest performance of The Academic's career so far, although they are not too nervous just yet.

"We have been lucky to support some of the most influential bands before like The Strokes but this is on another level. We're more excited than nervous, but nerves will probably kick in on the day," they told independent.ie.

The group, who are currently in the middle of a sold out UK tour, will play for about half an hour on stage from 7pm before The Rolling Stones perform.

They are keeping their fingers crossed they will get a chance to meet the group and thank them "endlessly" for the opportunity.

"We heard they have an entourage of about 200 people and ten trucks so it will be mayhem backstage. But we hope we get to meet them. 

"It's a big opportunity, to get in front of so many people. We have been playing in Ireland for so long now and to play such a big place, it can only do good. So long as we're not terrible on stage," they said.

The Academic join a long list of heavyweight support acts joining the Stones on their No Filter tour.

Liam Gallagher has said it is a “dream come true” to open for them with Florence + The Machine, Elbow and The Specials also opening at various venues.

Gallagher wrote on Twitter: “It’s a dream come true to be asked to open for The Mighty @RollingStones – the best Rock n Roll band EVER.”

He will play ahead of the band on the opening night of the UK leg of their tour at the London Stadium on May 22.

Read more: 'I wouldn't say we're cocky... just confident'

Florence + The Machine will open for them on May 25 at the same venue while fans at Southampton St Mary’s on May 29 will be treated to a special performance from The Vaccines, whose new single is titled Rolling Stones.

Florence Welch tweeted: “We are so excited to be supporting The @RollingStones, it is a huge honour to be playing with one of our biggest influences. Xx.”

The Specials will take to the stage at the Ricoh Stadium in their home town of Coventry on June 2 while Richard Ashcroft will open at Manchester’s Old Trafford on June 5 and Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium on June 9.

Elbow will open at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on June 15, while James Bay will perform at London’s Twickenham Stadium on June 19, as the UK leg of the No Filter tour comes to a close.

Bay wrote on Twitter: “IS THIS FOR REAL? It’s an absolute honour to announce I’m supporting @RollingStones at London’s Twickenham Stadium on 19th June."

Read more: Mick Jagger talks childhood, joining the Stones, being jailed for drugs, writing, and coming to Croke Park

'Rolling Stones always wanted to kick off tour in Ireland and Croke Park will be longest set,' says production manager

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