Social distancing pods, face masks, and an absence of booze- the primary gig in Eire for the reason that starting of the pandemic may be very totally different from the crowded concert events of the pre-Covid world.
ut because the solar shines down on Dublin’s Iveagh gardens life feels considerably regular once more as associates chuckle with each other and dance of their pods of 4.
The ambiance is calm however buzzing on the identical time. It is effectively organised and as one reveller says, they “really feel secure”.
As I stroll inside the very first thing I’m stunned at is the pods. They’re not the steel stands that I anticipated from viewing different international locations pilot occasions. They’re simply patches of inexperienced grass spaced out with poles and twine, a lot much less intimidating.
The opening act Sorcha Richardson describes completely what the primary pilot gig in Eire is like: “It seems like a Sunday 1pm at a pageant,” she says. “However I don’t assume you’re hungover.”
Not solely are the fortunate 500 who managed to nab tickets for the primary reside live performance almost definitely not hungover, however they’re additionally not drunk.
There’s no alcohol on the market at this pilot occasion, nevertheless it doesn’t dampen spirits. Everybody appears to simply be elated to hearken to a little bit of reside music. In any case, it has been nearly 500 days since any of us have been to a gig.
Additionally, to melt the blow on the no-alcohol rule there may be an ice cream and crepe van.
Not solely have the fortunate 500 received “the starvation recreation of live performance tickets” as Sorcha calls it, however additionally they take part within the largest celebration of the yr as the gang sings Joyful Birthday to one of many Irish singer’s band members.
Sorcha’s band member Cian isn’t the one one celebrating a special day, Adam, from Drogheda, is celebrating 15 years of marriage along with his spouse on the gig and his forty sixth birthday.
“It’s pure luck that I received tickets when there was solely 500,” he says. “I like James so I comply with him on-line and noticed in regards to the tickets.
“I’m comfortable out, I’m simply right here to have an excellent time.”
Julie from Wicklow says she’s delighted to have scored tickets for the much-anticipated gig.
“It feels bizarre,” she says about being on the first gig for the reason that pandemic. “It’s a bit overwhelming, however we’re so comfortable.
“They’ve accomplished an incredible job, it’s actually secure, I really feel actually secure.”
And he or she’s not mistaken, it does really feel secure. To manage the variety of individuals coming into the grounds, staggered occasions got on particular person tickets and for contact tracing functions the one that purchased the ticket must be the one attending.
Inside, everybody has to put on masks whereas going to their pod, going to the bathroom or shopping for meals, and as soon as contained in the pods masks may be taken off.
As we anticipate the primary act James Vincent McMorrow to return on stage, Swedish Home Mafia blares from the audio system. And though individuals aren’t leaping up and down as is common for a tune like this, it’s each unusual and refreshing to listen to.
However as quickly because the Irish singer-songwriter takes to the stage each single individual stands up and roars.
“I’ve by no means been as nervous for something in my total life,” he says. “It’s been a very long time since individuals have gotten to listen to songs in a subject with different individuals. It’s been a tough yr for everybody.
“It’s been so laborious to have [music] taken away nevertheless it’s so good to have it again. Clap for the time we’ve misplaced collectively.”
And Clap we do. Earlier than singing his beautiful single Larger Love the musician begins with an upbeat tune.
The primary tune captures the temper of the evening perfectly- enjoyable, however not loopy, with a complete lot of hope.