Slane '95 And The Happiest I Would Ever Be
Still undecided about Slane on Saturday (seeing the Prodigy perform tomorrow night in the park I used to play football in every day is too surreal a concept to miss and I'll be at Kasabian on Monday night) but the whole hype about Oasis returning to the castle has made me smile a great deal.
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You see, my first ever gig was Oasis at Slane on Saturday July 22nd, 1995. It still ranks as the best gig I have ever been to.
They were supporting REM. Now, REM were the first band I properly fell in love with - for about six months leading up to this show I pretty much listened to nothing but them. When I think about it now, I was actually making myself rather ill. I was ridiculously excited - like a bride before her wedding. I talked about nothing else, frying everyone's head who dared come near me. I also threw up a lot the entire week before we headed to Co. Meath.
The night before the gig, I decided I needed to queue. So myself and the eight of us who'd headed down went to the gate, with a few drinks. We sat down and started to wait. A few other enthusiastic punters joined us. One guy had a guitar and could play pretty much all of Radiohead's latest album 'The Bends' - but I wasn't interested. I kept asking him to try and play 'Fall on Me' or even 'Find the River'. When he couldn't work out the chord structures I just sang them a cappella. No one joined in.
At around 3am it got cold. Despite my protests, everyone started drifting off back to the campsite. You might not believe this, readers, but I stayed put. On my own. For the entire night. I was first in that queue and I wasn't giving up my space, no matter what my bladder was telling me.
At around 8am, my friends came back, as did a few other punters. The queue started to become... well, a queue. Before that it was just me, on my own, freezing cold, insulated (and possibly being kept alive) by nothing but pure excitement. I could have lasted the night on the north pole.
The gates opened and the guy who took my ticket wasn't sure which bit to rip off, so he kind of stalled a bit and asked his mate. As a result, my mate Kev actually ended up getting in first. But I was right behind him.
I remember having the quickest wee ever, before sprinting down the hill, launching myself on the barrier, where I would stay for around seven hours. To this day I have no idea how I managed without food or water - I definitely don't remember getting either. A fair enough sacrifice given a picture published in the Irish Times of the front row the next day had myself right in the middle, my proof forever of an enormous coup.
Then Oasis came on, 80,000 people pushed down to the front all at once and I was popped out into the pit like a champagne cork. I did eventually make it back into the crowd and kind of near the front, but when they played 'Roll With It' (which still hadn't been released at this stage), it got so crazy Noel actually stopped playing and told the crowd to start looking after themselves. I got scared and stopped pushing my way to the barrier, staying about five people back.
By the time REM came on, I think it's the closest any human has ever came to just... imploding with absolute joy.
I was sleep deprived, totally lost from my friends, starving and dehydrated - absolutely in pieces. But during the opening medley of 'What's the Frequency Kenneth', 'Crush with Eyeliner' and 'Drive (funk version)' I was the happiest I would ever be.
Slane's an amazing place to see your heroes. I think I'm going to go now.