I’ve been a fan of The 1975 for such a long time so when they announced dates for their UK tour I was straight online to find out more. I was even more excited to see they were coming to Scotland to perform at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow the week before Christmas. All I wanted for Christmas was tickets to this show. Thankfully, I did, and now I’m happy to share my experience of seeing The 1975 live at the Hydro and my thoughts on the accessibility of The SSE Hydro. Spoiler: The 1975 are better than ‘Chocolate’.
Unlike a lot of gigs at The SSE Hydro that I’ve tried to book tickets for, booking tickets for the 1975 was surprisingly easy. It was nothing like the nightmare of trying to get Adele tickets. I honestly think that experience has stuck with me and I’ll always dread booking accessible tickets for high demand gigs at The SSE Hydro unless the process of booking these tickets changes. Being stuck on hold for over an hour to then be told all accessible tickets are sold out is not acceptable when others can simply book their tickets online.
As I said, on this occasion it was fairly easy and I didn’t have to wait long on the phone before I was able to speak to someone and book my tickets. Although the arena was packed out on the night, there may not have been a stampede to get tickets when they first went online, which could explain how easy I found the booking process this time around.
As a side note: A few days ago I tried booking accessible Ed Sheeran tickets for the Hydro and was unable to get any. Seems like it was a similar situation as Adele all over again.
The SSE Hydro offer a free PA ticket to disabled people attending an event with a companion. This is reassuring to know that the venue understands the importance of having someone with us who understands our care needs.
Getting to the Hydro
Whenever I go to the Hydro or the SECC I always park at Finnieston and walk through the tunnel. It takes roughly 10 minutes to walk through the tunnel, but it may take a bit longer on the way back due to the crowds of people heading for the train after the gig. You’re more than likely to see some buskers performing in the tunnel and people selling posters and other merch.
Arrival at the Hydro
The entrance of The SSE Hydro is just at the end of the tunnel so it’s really easy and convenient. There were a few people in front of us as we approached the entrance, but we didn’t have to wait long before getting our tickets checked. We were shown the direction to head in to find the block our seats were in, which turned out to be straight ahead in Block A.
Our tickets were checked again and then we were let in. There was a ramp up to the accessible section. We passed an accessible toilet on the way up the ramp so it was good to know that the toilet wasn’t far from our seats. It’s a seamless, stress-free process from the moment we entered the tunnel until we took our seats (although I’m already in my seat for the show haha).
Here is a short (and rough) video of arriving at The Hydro, getting our tickets checked and making our way to the accessible seats in Block A. You’ll see how quick it is for us to get to our seats. Please excuse my knee creeping in on the action!
Our accessible seats in Block A (section 052) were great. Although our section was ground level we were raised higher than the floor standing section, which meant our view of the stage wasn’t restricted by bobbing heads and waving arms. As our accessible seats were slightly more to the left of the stage rather than in the middle we felt we were closer to the stage. This gave us a good view of the stage.
I’ve been to The SSE Hydro many times and always had a good experience. I find the Hydro extremely easy to get around in my wheelchair and I love how spacious it is. The lifts are also great and we’ve never experienced any problems with queues.
I’ve been seated on both Level 1 and 2, but if I had to pick my preference I’d probably say Level 1 (where I was seated for The 1975). On a few occasions, my view was restricted by people standing in front of me when I’ve been on Level 2, which is always frustrating and disappointing.
There are accessible toilets on the ground level and Level 2. There is also a changing places toilet in the West lobby of Level 2. All accessible toilets are operated by a radar key, which can be issued by a steward or purchased from the Information Desk if you don’t have your own.
There is an infrared loop system available at The Hydro in various blocks on Level 2, but it is important to email ([email protected]) the venue for more information as each event can vary in terms of how it can be operated. To borrow an infrared receiver make sure you head for the Information Desk on the ground floor.
Early bird or Fashionably Late
One of my pet peeves about going to a gig and having a disability is that some venues require you to be there before doors open. I understand why they do this because it allows you to enter the building and be in your spot before the crowds come in. I get this I really do and I understand this works for some disabled gig-goers, but personally, for me and others, it doesn’t.
What if I want to arrive fashionably late before the headline act? What if I have other commitments beforehand or simply cannot make it hours before the bands even take to the stage? I want to be able to decide when I arrive without feeling pressured by the venue that I’m going to inconvenience anyone by arriving shortly after doors open.
My main reason for not wanting to arrive before doors open is that I get very uncomfortable and sore when sitting in a fixed position for a long time, especially at a gig, so by arriving a few hours before the support and main act even comes on is way too long for me. I’d much rather arrive just in time for the support acts or just before the main band and therefore reducing my level of discomfort.
Now I know that was a long-winded way of getting to my next reason for liking the hydro, but I wanted to fully explain my thinking behind it. So The SSE Hydro, if you hadn’t guessed yet, doesn’t require you to arrive before or for doors opening. Yay! I’ve been able to arrive when I want and always been accommodated. Don’t get me wrong I’ll always be there to see the support acts or just after (if I’m already sore) but I like the relaxed feel to the Hydro when I arrive.
The Importance of Support Acts
The 1975 picked the perfect support act and we were really happy to catch their performance at the Hydro. The Japanese House set the tone for what was in store for the rest of the night. They were brilliant and one of my new favourite bands.
Each song was performed with so much feeling and the atmosphere was amazing. They are a perfect example of why a support act is so important before the main act. We enjoyed them so much that we ended up buying all their EP’s. Go check them out if you haven’t already.
The 1975 – Better than Chocolate
As if that wasn’t good enough The 1975 then hit the stage and had the whole arena mesmerised, excited, dancing, singing….you get the idea. This was my first time seeing them live and what an insanely brilliant live band they are. The sound was incredible as each song was layered with a mix of onstage instruments and premixed samples.
For every song came a different light show full of super bright neon’s in sync with the beats. Something I’ve never really seen before. That teamed up with the music made for such an exciting and unique atmosphere. The whole band are amazing and lead singer Matt certainly knows how to work the crowd. Girls in the audience went crazy each time he appeared on the big screens.
The SSE Hydro Glasgow offers great accessibility for disabled customers and I’ve always had an amazing time at every event I’ve attended. The only downside is the process of booking accessible tickets for events in high demand, which can be impossible. Luckily that wasn’t the case for The 1975 and I was able to get tickets fairly easy.
The 1975 were fantastic and one of, if not the best gig I attended in 2016. I loved everything about it and would definitely go to see them again. We even saw Stewart from the Scottish band The Prides standing in front of us in the audience. I recommend you check them out as well if you haven’t already.