High security for big outdoor concert


THE FIRST of three major outdoor concerts at Marlay Park kicked off last night with a double-header of current Britpop heroes Kasabian and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Punters arriving at Marlay Park were greeted by a bigger and firmer security presence, as both promoters MCD and the Garda made sure to prevent any potential repeat of the violence which marred the Swedish House Mafia concert at the Phoenix Park last month.

About 175 gardaí were deployed in and around the concert area, along with extra security personnel hired by MCD. Fans who tried to bring drink into the venue had it confiscated, while any fan foolish enough to tank up before the gig was refused entry. While under-17s had to sign in for last night’s concert, under-17s will be refused entry to tonight’s second concert, by French superstar DJ David Guetta.

Because he appeals to the same young demographic as Swedish House Mafia, and because the concert is completely sold out, it is considered a higher security risk.

Fans who did pass the tightened restrictions (including an airport-style search) enjoyed a double-whammy of guitar rock courtesy of the former leader of Oasis, and the band from Leicester who cite Oasis and the Stone Roses as two of their biggest influences. This is the fourth Irish visit for Gallagher’s new band following his departure from Oasis. He debuted the band at the Olympia theatre last year, headlined the O2 in February and backed the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Croke Park in early July.

It seems fans can’t get enough of recent Gallagher songs such as Aka . . . What a Life, If I Had a Gun, The Death of You and Me and Everybody’s On the Run, and if they miss his brother Liam on such Oasis songs as Wonderwall, Half the World Away, Little By Little and Don’t Look Back In Anger, they don’t show it.

The early part of the concert passed peaceably enough, Garda Damien Deegan said. “The crowd are well-behaved – the only problems have been the power going out a couple of times.”

There were 12,000 tickets sold for last night’s concert, but twice as many have been sold for tonight’s David Guetta show. “They’ll be a much younger crowd, and they won’t be able to handle their drink.”

Garda Deegan believed the extra security is necessary and not an overreaction to the Phoenix Park debacle. “The bottom line is, if it saves one person from being assaulted or stabbed, then it’s worth it. Ninety nine per cent of fans at these concerts are well behaved, we just want to make sure they have a safe and enjoyable time.”

When Kasabian hit the stage at 9.30pm last night, a half an hour behind schedule, they proved themselves worthy headliners, getting the party going with a blend of club-footed dance beats and hard-edged rock moves.

Led by singer Tom Meighan and guitarist Serge Pizzorno (who writes most of the band’s songs) the band swaggered onstage in darkness and launched into their trademark hi-powered lad-rock. The jogging beat of Shoot the Runner was swiftly followed by the snapping rhythm of Velociraptor, the title track from their current album. Clubfoot kept the crowd on its feet all the way up to curfew.