My boyfriend and I went to see The Killers with special guests Franz Ferdinand in the RDS Dublin last week. Both are fantastic live bands and the crowd got almost 4 hours of amazing live performance. We bought the tickets last winter and when I realised it was going to be an open air concert, I envisaged myself getting drenched. Fortunately the weather was fantastic 24°C, a heatwave as far as Irish summers go. This post is more about my experience attending the concert as a fan with vision impairment. For a music review have a read of this excellent Hot Press article.
We got the DART to Sandymount where the crowd was directed out of the station by security staff. We used our canes and followed people to the venue. The RDS is a massive complex. I had been in the main arena for a graduate fair before, but never in the open air area. We are still able to see the security people in their high vis jackets, so we asked the first staff member we saw for assistance. A lady called Emma looked at our tickets and brought us to the right gate. We had to walk around the outside wall for over 10 minutes,, which is no problem but would have been difficult without assistance due to the crowds and the fact that we are unable to read the signs.We were allowed to skip the queue where the bags were searched. Emma told us about some of the concerts she gets to see and showed us a place near the back where we could stand.
We arrived early to hear Franz Ferdinand. I know some of their songs and they are a great live band. We put our canes away and went a bit further into the crowd. People will probably not notice them anyway when it is packed and dancing along to the music with a cane looks a bit silly, unless you are trying to use it as a limbo stick. During the break we asked another staff member to guide us to the toilets. We walked to the main arena, thus avoiding the massive que outside the provided WC containers. Again, it would have been hard to find our way there and back without help.
“Somebody Told Me” live at RDS Dublin on YouTube
The Killers came on stage around 9. We stood somewhere in the middle and for the majority of the concert it was not too packed. We couldn’t really see anything on stage or the big screen, but a good band for me is mainly about the music. Some of the green light effects when it got dark were cool. The Journal .ie reported the next day, people found the concert really loud. I try to avoid loud noise and I´m one of the first people to put tissue in my ear at concerts, but I didn’t find it loud at all. On the contrary, I couldn´t understand some of the announcements.
Irish Fan Danny playing drums on YouTube
The concert was brilliant. I love the band’s first 2 albums “Hot Fuzss” and ´”Sam´s” town. Some of their later stuff is still good, but I feel they got a bit too electronic and poppy for my taste in the last years. Live however, even their newer songs I don ´t know that well sounded great. They played more guitar and drumm riffs. Brandon Flowers´ voice is very distinctive and he is a fantastic live-performer who gets the crowd to sing along. People loved when he called a fan holding a poster saying he is a drummer up on stage to perform with the band. He was brilliant, whether the part was pre-arranged or not.
We were delighted that they played many of our old favourites like „Somebody told me“ „Jenny was a friend of mine“, „Smile like you mean it“ and of course „Mr. Brightside“. It was a great experience to sing along with the rest of the crowd. It got a bit messy towards the end and especially when people were leaving. We didn’t buy the totally overpriced drinks, but by the end of the evening my clothes were sticky with spilled drink. People were generally polite enough. One girl though had an umbrella hat and one of the spikes got entangled in my hair. That was dangerous and I´m surprised security let her in with that.
“When You Where Young” The Killers live at the RDS Dublin on YouTube
When leaving everyone got stuck in a bottle neck and I had to hold on to my boyfriend otherwise I would have been rushed along. It was much harder to find a staff member on the way out. We followed the crowd, not exactly sure which gate to go to. When we got to the gate and asked security staff for directions to the DART a guy came out of the crowd and said he was going there too and we could go with him. Turns out he works at one of my boyfriend´s previous workplaces and recognised him. Without help we would probably have missed the last train. Only in Ireland you meet someone you know at a concert with 20,000 people.
Overall, we had a great time and whenever it got tricky we got help from staff members or other people. I generally find the security people at concert venues extremely helpful. But of course there will be crowds and some pushing at every concert. If you are worried about that you could try to contact the venue and ask if you can stand in the wheelchair accessible area, which is often less crowded. I have heard that some ticket providers give free tickets if you bring assistance, but I have never tried that. Here is a great article by Holly over at her blog Life of a Blind Girl on how to make concert venues more accessible for blind and visually impaired people.
I would definitely recommend going to The Killers concert.
Has anyone else been there and what are your experiences with the accessibility of concert venues? Please feel free to leave a comment.