O2 Arena

In Day to Day on October 31, 2010 at 11:35 pm


It was intended to be a landmark exhibition space, a destination for all tourists, somewhere you would want to go over and over again. The Millenium Dome bombed. I remember (as a primary school student) visiting the multi-million pound site almost every week as more and more free tickets were given away to Greenwich schools and residents. With the Body Zone the one I remember, the only other significant or newsworthy event at The Dome was the attempted burglary of the De Beers Millenium Star diamond, which if succesful would have been the largest robbery in the world. BBC correspondent Robert Orchard said at the time, “the Dome was to be highlighted as a glittering New Labour achievement in the next election manifesto” perhaps indicating the reason the project was increased to such a costly level by Tony Blair’s government. Political strife, robberies and school reminiscing aside, this post is about what the Dome has become: the O2.

Through various contacts, namely working sometimes at the O2, I have been privvy to tickets to shows in the arena; recently I have been to Mary J Blige, Santana and Guns ‘n’ Roses. I can safely say that I would not have been to any of these shows were the tickets not free so they fall very nicely into my remit of exploring new things in London. Mary was my favourite, mainly because her voice is so strong that despite not being a fan, I can’t help but admire it. No fancy staging, Mary relied solely on her own talents as a songstress and a small band to entertain the audience. It almost worked, but really this was for the die hard fans with Femi Omole, tweeting ‘What a performer! No tricks or gimmicks. Sheer class!’. She hasn’t released a record in the UK since ‘Be Without You’ in 2006 and mainly concentrates her career on the US market, currently working on her tenth studio album over there.

Mary J Blige

Through attending more concerts, and listening to different music compared to my normal playlists over the last few weeks, I feel that I have explored a few new areas. The feeling you get when you go to live music events is always different to hearing it on the radio, and I think that was key to me enjoying Santana and Guns n Roses as well as Mary J Blige.

Apart from the concerts regularly on at the arena, there are a few more developments around the O2 that make for interesting reading. Media college Ravensbourne have just set up a campus directly next to it, bringing with them a student body to carry the bars, restaurants and club (only INC club is left after Matter closed before summer – sob sob) when there is a dearth of shows come early next year. Add to this a business park, new retail units and, wait for it, a wagamama’s, perhaps the ghost of the Dome will live on in a more positive light in years to come.

The O2

Ravensbourne College



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