K and I head to Dublin on June 17th, having booked a B&B close to the venue. We spend three days dodging the rain doing touristy stuff.
The night before the band are already sound checking at the venue. I see Tim but bottle out of shouting to get his attention. We’ve bought tickets. It never occurred to me to ask for a freebie for such a big show.
On the day of the gig, which on the posters around town has been billed as “The Longest Day”, we get up early so K can go off on a jaunt leaving me to get my head together. I go into Dublin and go to the National Gallery of Ireland. It’s still raining, I go back to Mrs Birmingham’s B&B and wait until 3pm. The hordes are already descending. I join a queue but get too jumpy, I so do a circuit of the venue in an attempt to calm down or spot someone I know.
There are kids from all over Ireland in the queue. The doors open just before 5pm. There is a wristband system for the front area and you have to be over a certain height to get let in. I end up in the second row, until somebody who is already drunk needs to get out to puke, and then the front barrier is mine! I chat to some girls from Cork, chew gum and try not to think about how much I need the toilet or some sustenance. The rain stops.
Teenage Fanclub lift the mood, and we clap, sing and smile along with them. Massive Attack groove like a stoned thing and it feels too early in the day to be watching them. “We’re doing it for these guys because they are the best!” The rain holds off until there is five minutes to go and then we get soaked.
Radiohead make a big entrance to Fitter Happier. Lucky rocks into My Iron Lung and then Airbag. Colin doesn’t last long with the sleigh bells on a stick. They mostly play new stuff, some B-sides and Talk Show Host is particularly good. Karma Police has me singing along and contact seems to have been made. I blow a kiss to the stage and wave. I’m in love with it and it’s wonderful again.
It’s their biggest ever gig and they’re number one. Thom can’t think of much else to say. He’s playing up to the crowd and making everybody feel it. Paranoid Android makes sense now, it’s so much better than last time. Creep is pure karaoke and I’m the only person in the place not singing along to it. The only other Pablo song is You, played in the encore. It’s all adrenaline and guitar overkill, I’ve not heard it done like that in a long time. High and Dry is dedicated to the rain keeping off and then, just as the set finishes, it pours down again.
K finds me afterwards, she’s been at the back getting pushed about. Only the front was sectioned off, but the whole crowd would have benefited from more partitions. She got a nip from someone’s hip flask and somehow managed to stay on her feet. I purchase a Gucci Little Piggy T-shirt (all the rest have sold out).
There is a gate leading tantalisingly to the backstage area, but without a pass there is no way I’m getting through it, I keep an eye out for Caffy or Tim but they’re inside. K goes back to the B&B. I get talking to Atsuko, a Japanese girl who has been studying in Cambridge. She went to a warm up show in Belfast on the 19th. She’s another one of Thom’s pen pals. We bond quickly.
One of the security guys suggests that the bands are all at a hotel near by. We go for a walk to see how far away it is, as standing around here is getting us nowhere. We’re getting cold and wet. It’s not the right hotel. We go back to the exit gate at the back of the venue. A Renault space-vehicle pulls out, Thom’s in the back. I put up a hand to wave, and he mouths “Lucy?!” He’s grinning and blows a kiss. “Where are you going?” I ask, he shrugs. I blow a kiss back and wave as they pull out. It’s all happening too quickly. We run a little way after the car, waving and laughing…