It was a Saturday night and Kip Moore was in town playing at O2 ABC Glasgow. I had been looking forward to Kip’s return ever since he supported Lady Antebellum last March at the Clyde Auditorium and I couldn’t wait to see him again.
Although I was a little disappointed when his UK tour dates were first announced and I realised that he was going to be playing at Oran Mor. If you haven’t read about my nightmare of an ordeal at this awful venue you can read about it here. I promised myself that I would never step
foot wheel in that venue ever again no matter how amazing the artist and that went for Kip Moore too.
I began looking through the rest of Kip’s tour dates for the next nearest venue I could travel to and was relieved to see Manchester on the list. We don’t mind travelling 500 miles round trip for a gig as we’ve done it so many times in the past and love a good road trip. So I booked tickets for Manchester Academy, which I had attended the year before to see Gavin DeGraw.
Booking tickets for Manchester Academy was simple and straightforward. I booked one standard ticket online and then completed an access requirement form and emailed it to the venue. This ensured the venue were aware of my access needs and that I required a free carer’s ticket.
A few weeks later it was announced that due to high demand Kip Moore’s Glasgow show was being upgraded to another venue and I couldn’t believe it. He was now going to be playing at O2 ABC Glasgow, which is a venue I’ve been to many times and always liked for its accessibility. Amazing!
Without hesitation, I booked my ticket for the new venue even though I had tickets for Manchester. I emailed O2 ABC to inform them I’d be attending, gave my access card details and asked for a free carer’s ticket. The ticket booking process is really easy and hassle-free, which I love.
I didn’t want my Manchester ticket to go to waste and I knew that someone would have an amazing time seeing Kip perform if they had my ticket. That someone was my friend, Hannah who is also a massive gig-goer, accessibility campaigner, and blogger. I knew that Hanna and her friend would have the best time at the gig and they definitely did.
We arrived at the venue a little later than we had hoped. It was a combination of various things, which included finding a parking space in Glasgow’s city centre and then rolling to the venue. We were greeted by an unpleasant door steward who gave the impression that we were an inconvenience as he asked what gig we were attending. There were another two gigs happening within the venue. He walked away when we told him Kip Moore and we weren’t sure where he was going because he didn’t say a word to us. We were left waiting as he made his way to the other door to let us in through the barrier. Once over the barrier he asked to see our ticket and once again he walked away without saying anything to us. This time, he walked outside leaving us wondering what was happening and whether he was finished with us. He then comes back and walks us to the lift, telling us someone will get us at the top.
We get out the lift and discover there is no one there. Dread then runs through us as we hear Kip Moore is already on stage belting out the massive ‘Wild Ones’ song. It was 8.25pm and he was on already. No way!
We were stuck outside the lift and blocked off by barriers and another mini lift to go up, but no staff waiting like we were told. I began shouting down the stairs like a complete idiot trying to get someone’s attention. A few mins pass and someone finally comes up the stairs to help us through and up the lift.
The security steward then explains that we should have arrived early because it was going to be difficult getting through the crowds to our ‘reserved spaces’. At this point, I explained that it wasn’t our intention to arrive at this time, but equally, it wasn’t noted anywhere on the venues or Kip’s social media that it was going to be an early show. Typically the main act comes on stage around 9pm. I hate how some venues state people with disabilities must attend gigs early whereas non-disabled can arrive whenever they want. I get sore if I’m sitting too long and sometimes it can be a nightmare using public toilets, which means I need to limit the amount I drink when out, often limiting it to a few sips over a long period of time. So arriving 2-3 hours before the headline act comes on isn’t always an option for me and many others with a disability.
I also explained to the steward that I requested a seat for my boyfriend when I emailed the venue with my access requirements and was informed it would be provided. He tells us he’d try his best to get him a seat.
As we enter the room we are met by a sea of Kip Moore fans all having the time of their lives. The security steward tries to clear a path for me to drive through, but most of the people just look at him with confused looks on their faces until he shines his torch in my direction and lights me up like a circus act. People then start to realise and move a little to let me through, but not without drawing me dirty looks and staring at me like I was some kind of ogre with a contagious disease.
It felt like it took us a lot longer than it should have to get through the crowd. I believe if the security steward was more assertive in getting through, things would have been a lot easier and quicker. Instead, he had a defeatist attitude before we even entered the room.
The ramp to the viewing platform was crowded with people standing and empty beer cups covering the floor, completely oblivious to the steward. For a minute, the steward just stood not doing anything and I wasn’t sure what was happening, but it was like he was bracing himself to ask people to move.
Getting up the ramp was not a pleasant experience either and once at the top of the ramp I had to go through another massive crowd of stares, unpleasant looks while I tried not to drive over anyone’s feet in the dark. Surely all those people standing on the ramp (the only exit for wheelchair users and other disabled people) is a fire hazard?
We finally reached our reserved spaces, but practically had to fight for it as a couple who were standing in our space were not too happy when asked to move. The security steward said he’d bring Allan a seat and then quickly disappeared, never to return with the seat. Allan tried to explain to the couple that we reserved the space, but the woman didn’t care. Her husband stepped aside to let Allan in, but she refused to move. So the whole night Allan had to stand behind me because she wouldn’t let him in to stand beside me.
I look around at everyone enjoying the show with friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives, but if you’re disabled then forget it! You don’t get to experience this. You don’t get to feel part of it all. You don’t get to see the person you’re with during the gig. Well, that’s what it felt like at O2 ABC Glasgow. I felt like I shouldn’t have been there. I wanted to leave, but couldn’t face going through the crowds of people again.
The viewing platform for disabled is packed full of non-disabled people too, which I don’t really have a problem with as we want to feel included rather than stuck in a little section away from everyone else. What I do have a problem with is the huge crowd of people crammed in all around me and other disabled gig-goers with not even a inch to move. What do we do if we want to reposition our wheelchairs a little to see better or need to go to the toilet? Nothing! Because we can’t move freely or comfortably without causing chaos. This isn’t fair and alienates disabled people.
I felt uncomfortable the whole night and even though I could barely see the stage because of heads blocking my view, I didn’t have any space to move my wheelchair to see. I left the venue with a sore neck and back from trying to see the stage.
Despite the nightmare of our surroundings inside O2 ABC, we had a great time seeing (mainly hearing when my view was blocked) Kip Moore perform his amazing set. His raspy voice gets the crowd going and leaves everyone wanting more. Wearing a black sleeveless tank and a backwards red baseball cap he put on an energetic performance for his Scottish fans and played all the huge tracks from his new album including ‘That Was Us’, ‘Running For You’, ‘What Ya Got On Tonight’ and much more. Kip was loving it so much he decided to play on past the venue’s curfew, telling us he didn’t care that he was going to be fined. This guy is seriously cool and so dedicated to his fans.
At the end of the gig, Kip then surprised everyone by explaining that he was going to do an acoustic set outside the famous ‘The Willow Tearooms’ on Sauchiehall Street for anyone who wanted to go. This was amazing and a great chance to hear more from Kip and even get to meet him, but I was sore from twisting my back in the venue and I wasn’t dressed properly for how cold it was outside so we decided it was best to head home. It would have been pretty awesome, but definitely the next time!
Usually, at the end of a gig in the O2 venues, security will come up and escort us out, but this time, we were forgotten about. After sitting for a bit after the crowds reduced we decided to head out ourselves when one of the security stewards seen us and opened the barrier and took us to the lift.
Kip Moore was brilliant and did not disappoint, but unfortunately, O2 ABC Glasgow didn’t do so good this time. I’m heading back to this venue at the end of this month for another gig and if I’m honest, I’m a little anxious about how that’s going to be. Wish me luck!