It all started after the O2 gig last July. Having been to see our idol more than 50 times over the years, we still get that high during and after each concert where we just want to carry on partying and can’t wait for the next one. The buzz continues for a couple of days, and then withdrawal sets in and we are looking to see when Rod will be touring again. When the Brighton tickets came on sale we couldn’t get any good seats, but finally, in November we managed to get our seats, even though we had to pay twice the face value – but hey, who cares, it’s Rod. My sister booked an overnight stay in a Brighton hotel and parking, and we started counting down the days.
We travelled from Benfleet on Friday morning and arrived in Brighton around 11.30. After a great day out and a lovely meal we went back to the hotel to get ready for the gig. We booked a taxi from the hotel and from then on things started to go downhill. The traffic was horrendous and the cab driver had to keep diverting to try and get us there. When we did arrive, he dropped us at the University instead of the Amex, telling us that it was “only a minutes walk”.and charged us £21.50 for the privilege! After trekking across open ground and up and down numerous flights of steps we finally got there, and found our ticket entrance. A woman there told us to speak to the lady on the desk when we got in, because they had upgraded us to better seats. We though, oh great, that’s really nice of them – until we saw where they had put us, right at the back of the stadium, when our original tickets were close to the side stage. We immediately went back and asked what was going on. We were told that the stage had been moved forward 12 ft since we booked, so our original tickets would have been restricted view. Not happy at all, we asked where else we could sit, and were told “anywhere in D section, take your pick. When we got to D section, it was behind the stage so we couldn’t see anything at all. By now we were fuming and we went back and demanded they find us seats as good as those we had originally paid for, and they eventually gave us suitable ones. Not a good start though.
The way the venue was laid out was terrible. The stage was far too small for Rod to work it the way he normally does, and the seats were all higgledy piggledly and people were wandering aimlessly around; it was chaotic.
The warm up band were a Jazz band from Norfolk – jazz is not my cup of tea anyway, but we were not overly impressed with them to be honest, wish they had stayed in Norfolk.
By the time Rod came on at 8.30 we were becoming really impatient. Once he burst onto the stage with fireworks and started belting out Infatuation, we forgot about the hassle and just enjoyed the show and danced all the way through. Rod was looking really fit and was in good voice. He sang all the old favourites and the audience joined in as usual. His two boys joined him on stage again for sweet little rock n roller and stole the show. Would have liked to hear Having a Party or Twisting the Night away, but I guess there is only so much he can fit into a 2 hour show.
Rod really cannot do any wrong for us, but we really felt that the size of the stage and the people forever walking in and out and across the pitch spoiled the whole atmosphere of what should have been a brilliant concert. I’m sure Rod must have felt it himself, and for the first time in all of his shows, he didn’t do an encore. He went off stage at 10.20 and despite everyone shouting out for more and singing out the chorus of Do ya think I’m sexy, he never came back on. Mind you, he did say that it took him 3.5 hours to get
there with the traffic too, and said “sort it out Brighton and Hove” so he was probably worn out and fed up too.
After the show, we asked where we could get a taxi and were told to join the queue. What a joke that was. We were queueing for over an hour and about 3 taxis turned up in all that time. We would have thought that with a concert that size the organisers would have had them lined up waiting outside. Then we realised that people were waiting by the entrance and hijacking the taxis as they came in instead of queueing. We were so angry, and the stewards were not doing anything about it, just letting us stand there like idiots. So then we decided to try for a bus. We walked over to the bus stop and couldn’t get on the first bus, but were told by the stewards that the 25 into town was very frequent – Really?? We waited another half an hour whilst about 12 park and ride buses went by empty, and finally a 25 came along that was out of service. Everyone was so fed up by then that people ran into the road and hijacked the bus. They demanded that the driver take us into town, so he let us all in and said he would drop us at the depot where he was headed for, but would not stop on the way. We got dropped near the pier and had to walk for another 20 minutes back to the hotel. We finally arrived back at 12.30.
The total disorganisation at the venue spoiled what should have been a great night. I do not think they were prepared or equipped to host such a huge gig and I would certainly never go to a concert there again.
Despite all that, can’t wait for the next tour – come on Rod, where next?
Review by Eileen Worrow
Top Picture By Sharon Brown
Bottom picture By Yve Paige