If I were a shark, then Paramore was a delicious drop of thick, sweet blood seeping through the water like ink. I had acquired a taste of the good stuff, now I was on the hunt for prey. It wasn’t until almost two years later that my thirst could next be satiated. In that time I had finished school, moved towns and acquired a job. Freshly equipped with some funds and totally excited to pick up where I left off in 2013, it didn’t take long for a target to pop up that caught my attention. When I heard that The Script were going to be playing a stadium concert in Croke Park for their No Sound Without Silence tour, there was no hesitation about it. My ticket was bought within the hour, seated in the stands as unfortunately the standing tickets were sold out.
This was going to be massive, and I was ready to embrace it to the fullest. It was clear early on that I’d be in for quite a different experience to Paramore. There would be no tag-along dad for this event, nor were any of my friends going to be attending, so I was entirely on my own in this endeavor. This didn’t bother me too much, I was still just excited to be going and knew I’d have a good time regardless. Much of the difficulty of the planning process was removed as the ticket outlet was selling tickets for a bus-hire travelling to and from the concert.
Thus rolled around the 20th of June, and I was off. An early start to the day saw me getting a bus before the sun was out in order to make it to Cork City where the bus travelling to the concert was going from. Arriving in Dublin with time to spare, the first order of business was to find the nearest pub and get a pint down. The atmosphere for the Paramore concert paled in comparison to the scale of electrifying anticipation coursing through the streets of Dublin on that day. From businesses blasting The Script’s songs beyond the thresholds of their establishments, to flag bearers and countless stands of knock-off merch (None of that for myself this time, thank you very much), it was a big deal to have an Irish super band on home soil filling out a stadium concert.
I didn’t particularly know the directions to get to Croke Park, but as it turned out that would prove to be no trouble at all. It quickly became apparent that there was a mass of bodies converging on the stadium from all directions, and all I needed to do was follow in the path of anyone I saw walking and sure enough, street by street, the crowd of like-minded individuals was growing and growing as we collectively made our way to our destination. After getting through the process of entering the venue, I found myself in the laid back atmosphere of the lounge area connected to the stands where I would be seated. Naturally, I immediately gravitated towards the merchandise counter. I made the decision to pick up the shirt and the hoodie, and quickly donned them before entering the stands.
I was pretty pleased to find that I had a fairly decent position to view the concert from upon discovering where I was seated. It was a fascinating and breathtaking sight to watch the place fill up to the brim, the flow of people seemingly never ending through the multitude of entrances onto the stadium grounds and into the stands. The Wailers, of Bob Marley fame, were the first to take to the stage and commence with the evenings entertainment. They proceeded with their reggae set to the still ever growing crowd and kept overall spirits high.
Next up was Pharrell Williams, another artist I was fairly pumped to see. With his energetic, crowd-pumping songs to get everyone into their groove, and his accompaniment squad of dancers, Pharrell delivered a fantastic performance while bringing us one step closer to seeing the Script take the stage. Among the lengthy music repertoire at his disposal, he dropped the then new and just about to be released single Freedom which stands out to me as one of the most memorable songs he performed that day.
Without further ado, with the light in the sky fading away gradually into twilight, the grand entrance everyone was waiting for began. To the fanfair of the crowd, a steady rhythm being pounded out on a drum, and a procession of large green flags, front-man Danny O’Donoghue and the rest of the band began the long walk on a pathway cutting through the crowd to the stage. Upon reaching the stage, they kicked off the show with an energetic display of one of the most Irish songs in their arsenal, Paint the Town Green, quickly setting the pace for what would be a phenomenal concert and one of the most memorable experiences in my life. The Script continued to put on a highly impressive show for the next couple hours. At times strange but intriguing, like when Danny asked an audience member to dial an ex on their phone for him to perform down the phone to them, to moments of the pure awe-inspiring beauty of watching the band play to an entire stadium of lights waving back at them, and the mesmerizing technical displays from the stage lights, pyrotechnics, fireworks and great big confetti cannons to bring the evening to a close.
And then, the exodus. The great migration of bodies that had drank their fill of live music and adrenaline and now had to return to their normal lives. This is where my night turned a bit… awry. Firstly, I was still very much unaware of my surroundings in Dublin and thus had a bit of a difficult time remembering the directions to get back to the bus, zig-zagging my way through several different streets, over and over again to try and get a sense of it. Eventually after perhaps an hour of this, I managed with some amount of success to get my bearings and reach the agreed destination. However it appeared there were some problems and the rendezvous point had been relocated. I was then to learn that while we had been inside Croke Park having the time of our lives, a bit of an incident had occurred with the bus.
I should note at this time that most of the passengers, myself included, opted to leave our rucksacks upon the bus with whatever we deemed unnecessary to bring into the venue. For myself this meant a few pieces of clothing, 2 books I was reading, a little bit of money stashed in one of said books as I didn’t want to overspend on merch, my return bus ticket from Cork to West Cork and my retainer. The staff of the bus had opted to park up and head into a cafe/restaurant and get some hot beverages, and across the road from them doing this, on the blind-spot at the other side of the bus, nefarious activities were taking place whilst they were unawares. A group of lads had broken into the bus, and 3 things were robbed: The bus attendant’s bag which had a lot of the bus companies cash in it, and 2 randomly selected rucksacks from the middle of the bus. One of those rucksacks being mine. Talk about putting a downer on the end of the night, I was a mix of conflicted feelings. I was still pumped to the brim with the elation and adrenaline from the concert and now I had an addition of panic and a some amount of despair.
The bus was making an immediate return trip to Cork City that night, so off we went once the whole kerfuffle was over of reporting it to the gardaí and ensuring everyone had made it back to the bus. Picture the scene, if you will: I’ve just rocked up in Cork City again at roughly 4:30 AM, have just taken on one of the biggest solo endeavors in my life thus far and had nobody with me. I’ve just had most of my travel possessions robbed, leaving me with a phone that has just died, a very tiny amount of cash left, and several hours to kill before the first bus departs that can bring me back to the safety and comfort of home and my parents to offload what I’ve just been through. In one of my less proud moments of my life so far, I ended up spending a number of those hours sat in the back of a McDonalds having purchased just a coke and resting/sleeping at the table surreptitiously. A glance across at the only other occupied table of someone doing much the same thing at least took away some of the guilt of the action. Around an hour before the bus station would re-open, I was awoken by a member of staff, and I murmured my apologies and an excuse about falling asleep by accident, and darted out. Eventually the bus station opened and I scraped together the very last vestiges of cash and coin I could muster up and repurchased my stolen ticket and made my way home.
As with my Paramore concert, there was much to take away from the experience afterwards in order to improve upon how I could approach future occurrences and avoid hurdles that I wouldn’t have been aware of initially. Now as I’ve babbled on for far more time than I imagine you value my experiences at, this is where I conclude today’s blog post. As always, I’ll leave you with the merchandise in question relating to the events of this post. And remember, keep on merching!