Last night I saw The Pet Shop Boys at the O2 Arena, courtesy of Philips, who have an excellent centrally-located box. Not only was it my first time at the O2 (other than in its criminally expensive former guise as the Millennium Dome), but actually my first arena gig. This has been largely through choice, since I prefer live music in smaller venues for the more intimate atmosphere and proximity to the musicians. Even seeing major artists like Iron Maiden, I’ve been lucky enough to catch them in venues like the Brixton Academy rather than the arenas in which they tend to perform. The sheer scale is impressive, it must be said, particularly looking down on the sea of people filling the bowl beneath the box. However as a musical experience I found there was something detached and slightly soulless about it — at times it felt more akin to watching a DVD recording of a live performance than seeing it live oneself.
My main issue, however, concerned the O2’s clearly moronic policy on cameras. They have chosen to ban “professional cameras” which seems reasonable at first, except that they blanketly class anything larger than a compact camera to be “professional”. My entry-level dSLR clearly is not and, in fact, I imagine most professionals would be insulted by the suggestion. Yet because of this policy my camera was confiscated on entry and returned afterwards, so I have no photos other than of the outside. It wasn’t a safety issue due to its size, since I wasn’t in the crowd but up in a box. And there is no blanket ban on cameras either. So apparently taking pictures is okay, but any danger of taking good pictures must be quashed even if there is nothing commercial about it. Chatting to the polite but unhelpful security employees at the venue, they could not justify it either. This asinine approach is probably enough for me to blacklist the venue altogether.
Next post I’ll cover last week’s trips up to Cambridge, once I have some photos to illustrate it. Meanwhile, other bits and pieces:
- PvP comic provides an interesting alternative view on Ghostbusters.
- A beautiful, brilliant black-and-white advert for the Finnish Ilta Sanomat that imagines an alternate 1930s where the web and newspaper coexist.
- Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service) covers Avril Lavigne’s Complicated. I recommend it largely for his swift dissection of the song afterwards, “I really don’t understand what’s so complicated about the whole situation… it’s just this guy, and he doesn’t like her very much.”
- It’s now old news but Hulu, the on demand online streaming TV service, is due to launch in the UK in September with around 3,000 hours of US content.
- Penny Arcade have been trying out some new styles for a future story, the robotic noir Automata being my personal favourite. They also offer a compelling argument for buying Prototype.
- Shreena recently blogged about the practicalities of green living, mentioning two items of note: Ecover cleaning products as an alternative to bleach and the Eco Kettle.
23 June 2009 at 1:59 pm
The o2 feels a bit like a shopping centre inside sometimes. I saw Kylie’s tour there and in Paris, and the o2 show felt more detached – it was almost too spacious. Wasn’t too bad when I saw The Cure there a couple of months ago though. Will be watching the NIN gig from backstage because, as you say, the Brixton experience is preferable.