O2 rocks to sound of music
THE brand new 02 venue rocked for the first time last night. If those freshly renovated walls could talk, they'd be demanding an aspirin this morning after 10,000 teenyboppers screamed their lungs out for several hours during the Cheerios Childline concert.
Ironically, given The Point's new name, the one element in short supply last night must have been oxygen, as tweens and teens paused only to inhale deeply before resuming their relentless shrieking at their pop idols.
While Bono and the Edge played the first tunes in the shining new arena with an intimate recording for a Ronnie Drew tribute earlier this month, they stole nobody's thunder, judging by the deafening approval fans gave a bevy of stars last night.
While the U2 veterans played to rows and rows of empty seats, the first official show was a sell-out, raising about €400,000 for the children's charity.
'X Factor' finalists Eoghan Quigg and JLS wowed the audience alongside more established crowd-pleasers including Boyzone, Enrique Iglesias, Shayne Ward and Anastacia. Also performing at the concert were Scouting For Girls, The Script, Alphabeat and The Saturdays.
From early evening, young music lovers filed into the €80m amphitheatre-style arena for the fully-seated show.
Sean Walsh, from the city centre, thought the interior and stage area was "deadly". Deirdre Livingstone (17), from Knocklyon said, "The place looks brilliant" as she waited eagerly to see Eoghan Quigg.
Mother and daughter Eileen and 11-year-old Alannah Kavanagh from Laytown in Meath were equally impressed by The Point's facelift.
Only the three walls of the former Victorian train depot remain, topped with a dramatic multi-coloured facade and roof. Inside, seats fan out from the stage, ensuring no one in the audience is more than 60 metres from the main attraction.
Even during the sound checks, the music reverberated throughout the venue, vastly superior acoustically to concerts of times past but well-insulated from nearby residents.
But the sparkling new venue has one major flaw. The concert created traffic chaos for miles because many ticket holders did not seem to be aware that there is no parking on site.
Frustrated drivers called AA Roadwatch from Blackrock, Sandymount and Ringsend where they were delayed for up to 90 minutes. Tailbacks stretched all the way down the North Quays, beyond Heuston Station and back out St Johns Road West and only began to ease at 7.30pm.
However, those who used public transport were well-served by shuttle buses which ferried people every 10 to 20 minutes to the gig.
"The AA has repeatedly expressed its concern that there will be no major parking facility at the venue until 2009," said an AA spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, fans who were unable to get hold of the precious €40 tickets can watch a televised version of the concert on RTE2 this Friday at 7pm.
Everyone involved in the event gave their services and time free of charge.