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COMMENT: I'm getting too lazy for Slane gigs

Monday, 8th October, 2018 7:59am

Story by Tony McCullagh
COMMENT: I'm getting too lazy for Slane gigs

Metallica frontman James Hetfield. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

COMMENT: I'm getting too lazy for Slane gigs

Metallica frontman James Hetfield. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

THERE has been a lot of big music news in recent weeks, with Metallica confirmed for a Slane Castle appearance next summer and The Cure scheduled to play the same date in Malahide.

The ‘Trip to Tipp’ revival concert last month transported us back to a time when Irish rock music seemed to be in a much healthier state than it is now. Some of the bands from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s are still gigging, although they continue to mine their back catalogues for the nostalgia market rather than produce exciting new material.

I was never a huge Metallica fan back in the day, although I greatly respect what they do and admire the global success they have deservedly enjoyed. Over the years, I went to a number of big concerts at Slane, with a collection of headbands languishing in my attic bearing the names of Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and Neil Young, to name but some.

I recall the bitter disappointment of Bowie’s gimmicky and underwhelming ‘Glass Spider Tour’ performance in 1987. Up and coming local heroes, Aslan, who were also on the bill, were the highlight of the day for me.

Neil Young was brilliant in 1993, supported by grunge rockers Pearl Jam. For some strange reason, The Saw Doctors were also inexplicably on the same bill. Not my thing at all.

When news of Metallica’s Slane concert broke, my better half was already planning her 2019 pilgrimage to the County Meath village. A martyr to the cause, she had endured the trail of tears that was the Guns ‘n Roses gig in 2017 when the weather gods punished those who worshipped at the altar of rock.

As hard as it is to admit, my Slane days appear to be behind me. I don’t fancy driving due to the tailbacks in and out of the car parks and squeezing onto a bus full of happy drunks doesn’t appeal to me either. Add into the mix the queues for overpriced beer served in plastic cups and toilet facilities that are not for the squeamish and you’ll get a sense of why I’ll probably skip the Metallica gig.

It will be my loss, of course. Slane is an incredible venue, with its natural amphitheatre sweeping down to the River Boyne against the backdrop of the majestic castle. It has been the scene of some legendary performances over the decades and is on the bucket list of most successful bands and artists.

The Cure in Malahide, on the other hand, is a far more attractive prospect for me: a few stops away on the train; a couple of civilised pints and a bite to eat in the seaside village; then a short trek from there to the venue.

It’s a sad day when comfort and convenience become the deciding factors when going to see a band. One thing’s for sure: it’s not very rock ‘n’ roll.

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