My First Trip To Slane

So over a week and  half ago, I went to Slane for the first time, to see the amazing Foo Fighters live in concert. Yes, I know this is late. Yes, I realise people no longer care.

Anyway, this gig? It. Was. Phenomenal.

Amazing.

I am being deadly serious.

I left at 9:30am to get the Concert Travel bus to Slane, and arrived shortly before 1pm. Unfortunately, my companions for my Slane adventure were not on that bus. I had to hang around for over an hour for them to arrive, but when they arrived… it was time for the magic to begin.

As I said, I’ve never been to Slane before. It is HUGE. Way bigger than I expected. Also, I knew there was a hill, but it never occurred to me that traversing the hill when it’s wet and mucky and people are falling around the place and dodging other people’s falling pints could be a problem. It was a slight problem, but no matter, it’s an outdoor gig. You expect to go home a little wet (except we went home like drowned rats!).

Unfortunately, I missed The Strypes, but they sounded great while I was walking to Slane. It took about 15 minutes to walk from the car park to the actual venue, and once we got inside we found a nice little place to sit and enjoy the weather. That didn’t last too long!! After Ash’s performance, we went for food, and midway through the Kaiser Chiefs, the heaven’s opened and thousands of people wept for their soggy chips and even soggier than usual noodles. We battled the slippery slopes back to the bottom of the hill, burgers and chips in hand (I would also like to mention that I managed to make it from the food stands at the top of the hill back to the bottom by the pit WITHOUT spilling my bottle of Coke. This is impressive when you consider how mucky the slopes were and they took my bottle cap.)

(Actually, that’s a valid point. Why did they take my bottle lid? Like, I know they say I could throw it at the stage, but surely I’ll do more damage with the open bottle than the lid???)

Since I only saw the last 20 minutes of Ash’s set and I don’t know much of their stuff, I won’t review them.

Hozier was…interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I love his stuff. I adore his new album and Jackie and Wilson is on repeat on my iPod. I just didn’t understand why he was selected for Slane of all places. I would have always associated Hozier with smaller, more intimate venues. He played well, but even “Take Me To Church” couldn’t incite too much of a reaction from the crowd. He seemed dwarfed by the massive stage, with not enough presence on it to make the main crowd sit up and take notice, which is unfortunate, because I was so excited to finally see him live, even if it wasn’t a venue I would have picked. His cover of “1 Thing” by Amerie, got a bit more of a reaction – probably because it was more upbeat than the rest of his performance. Sorry, Hozier: you’re great, but Slane isn’t for you. Overall rating:  5/10

Kaiser Chiefs on the other hand, were surprisingly great. They played a great mix of old stuff to keep everyone bopping, and even their new stuff was upbeat and got the crowd going. While it was a bit of a cheesy performance (especially the rounds of FOO! FIGHTERS! FOO! FIGHTERS!), the Kaiser Chiefs know how to get the crowd going and keep people interested, even in the pouring rain. I think the one thought that passed through everyone’s minds that night was, Hey, I know more of the Kaiser Chief’s songs than I thought I did!” Old favourites “I Predict A Riot”, “Everyday I Love You Less and Less” and “Ruby” were definite highlights, and I understood why they were selected for Slane – when I originally heard they were playing, I honestly had to check when their last album was released (March 2014). Definitely the biggest surprise of the night!
Overall rating: 7/10

And we move to the main act: the one, the only, Foo Fighters.

And oh man, did they live up to every expectation I had for that performance. Dave Grohl is the ultimate showman, parading around the stage and up down the small section they built leading from the stage, interacting with the crowd and launching into mesmerizing solos that left the 70,000 people in Slane stunned. They maintained that they were going to keep playing because they had so many songs to get through, and one of my few gripes is that they could have played an extra 3 or 4 songs if they hadn’t kept mentioning it!! Still, I’m nitpicking. Highlights for me were the very start with Everlong, Breakout, Arlandria, and of course, Best of You. I jumped and bopped and possibly took several people with my umbrella during the amazing 2 hour set. Covers of AC/DC, Queen and Thin Lizzy were notably amazing moments from the gig also  – and I think the crowd appreciated Dave Grohl walking out from the main stage to join us in jamming out in the pouring rain. I feel like I’m repeating myself but seriously: phenomenal doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Worth the blisters? Worth the lashing rain?
Definitely.

Overall rating: 9/10

At the end of this, I offer you my top 5 tips for navigating Slane/Outdoor Gigs:

  1. Get there early to get your place.
    There’s usually pit passes available for the early concert goers, so if that’s what interested you, make sure you’re there when the gates open. Even if you aren’t interested, getting a good space is often difficult – so find somewhere than you can stand and watch the gig comfortably.
  2. Even if it’s nice before you leave, bring rain gear. GOOD rain gear.
    I’m not talking about a Penneys mac in  sac. Bring an actual waterproof jacket, and a poncho does no harm either. They might not be stylish, but better to have one and be dry going home than be one of those people stripping off their wet clothes on the bus home.
  3. Make sure you have your travel up and down organised.
    Seems basic, but know how you’re getting home. Know how to get back to your car park/bus/train. People enter the festival in groups but everyone leaves at the same time, and it’s pure madness if you don’t know where you’re supposed to be going.
  4. Make sure your phone is charged and you have credit.
    There is nothing worse than getting lost and not knowing what to do and discovering your battery is dead. Try to bring a camera if you want to take photos, and stay off Twitter and Snapchat! Enjoy the gig while you’re there – don’t spend it on your phone!
  5. Toilet Paper and Hand sanitizer.
    I’m serious. Outdoor gig toilets = portaloos. If you can hold it, hold it. Those toilets are fine at the start at 2pm, but by 7 or 8pm, they aren’t so clean any more. There’s also no hand washing facilities available and while some may offer hand sanitizer on site (Electric Picnic did in 2014), many won’t.

That’s it for now folks!

Until next time,

Ciara x

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