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Gavin DeGraw at O2 ABC Glasgow | Wheelchair Access Review

Gavin DeGraw is one of my favourite musicians and his O2 ABC Glasgow gig was one I’d been excited about for a long time. The night finally came around and he didn’t disappoint his Scottish fans. Here is my O2 ABC Glasgow wheelchair access review.

Booking Accessible Tickets

Booking tickets for gigs at O2 ABC Glasgow couldn’t be easier. As this venue offers a free PA ticket to eligible disabled customers, all I had to do was book one standard ticket online. This ticket would be for me while my companion would get free entry to the gig.

Once the ticket was booked, I sent an email to the venue asking for my companion to be added to the guest list. I also have an Access Card, so I gave my card number in the email that way the venue knew my access requirements without having to explain it each time I booked tickets.

Getting to O2 ABC Glasgow

Parking isn’t the best at this venue as it’s located right on Sauchiehall Street, but we’ve always managed to find somewhere close by to park. Luckily we found a free spot to park between Pitt Street and St.Vincent Street. It was an easy and fairly straight walk, taking us less than 5 minutes to get to the venue.

Gavin DeGraw O2 ABC Glasgow venue entrance

Arrival at O2 ABC Glasgow

One of the things I like about O2 ABC Glasgow and its sister venue O2 Academy Glasgow is the door stewards outside. As soon as they see us approaching the venue they immediately offer to help and lead us into the venue.

We’re then quickly escorted to the new lift, which replaced the previously broken one that had been out of action for 9 months or so. In the meantime, myself and many other disabled people missed out on bands we really wanted to see.

Being in the new lift was a pretty amazing moment and a long time coming. Just look at my delight of being in the new lift and finally being able to attend a show at O2 ABC Glasgow after such a long time.

O2 ABC Glasgow lift wheelchair access

The steward who met us upstairs was incredibly friendly and helpful. Her name was Ina and although it was only her first night doing this job, we wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t told us. She was amazing and showed great disability awareness and understanding.

Ina assisted us the entire way to our reserved seats with confidence even though she was new to the role. In the past, there have been some stewards who lack confidence and authority when escorting us through the crowds.

To be honest, I was slightly hesitant about going back to O2 ABC after my last experience there, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it was fairly quiet inside the venue. I think this may have been due to being an early show (8:15pm), which is unusual, but good.

I tried calling the venue several times to find out what the stage times were going to be and I even tweeted the venue, but nothing. In the end, we decided to get there early just in case and I’m glad we did.

Venue Accessibility & Viewing Area

As we got to the accessible platform area we noticed there were people sitting in our reserved seats. Normally the steward would be hesitant about asking them to move, but Ina explained to them that we had reserved these seats.

Thankfully, it wasn’t a problem and they both left the seats. I was happy that the situation wasn’t left up to us to sort out, which has been the case in the past.

Before leaving us Ina explained that she would be standing nearby in case we needed her. This was one of the easiest hassle-free entrances we’ve had and that’s all thanks to the lovely Ina.

O2 ABC Glasgow viewing platform wheelchair access
Taken at the end of the gig showing the distance of the viewing area from the stage.

Everything was going great, I had a good view of the stage, Allan was sitting beside me, and we were really excited for Gavin. 

Minutes before Gavin came on stage one of the tallest men in the crowd stood right in my line of view a few rows in front. He moved around constantly the whole night so when he moved I moved. I was constantly having to mirror his movements, which was extremely frustrating and painful. I lost count of the number of times I had to re-position my wheelchair to avoid him.

This might have been easier if there wasn’t a huge crowd of people standing directly behind my chair blocking me in. By the end of the night, my back and neck were really sore from twisting and leaning my head to the side.

I really think the platform needs to be raised a little higher as the height is inadequate for its purpose. It’s uncomfortable and frustrating, but my worry is that it won’t be possible to make this necessary adaption due to the layout of the room.

Accessible Toilet

O2 ABC Glasgow accessible toilet

There is an accessible toilet at the bottom of the platform ramp. Although I didn’t use it, I had a peek inside as the door was left open. It looked okay size-wise, but it was quite grubby by this point (it was at the end of the show).

I was under the impression that the accessible toilet is operated by a RADAR key, but seeing it left open makes me wonder if that’s actually the case. It really isn’t ideal to leave it unlocked as it will just get abused by people who don’t need to use it.

At the end of the show, we waited as usual until the room cleared. Ina assisted us to the lift and couldn’t have been friendlier. We couldn’t thank her enough for making our experience at O2 ABC Glasgow so positive. Hopefully, we will see her again the next time we are at the venue.

Gavin DeGraw

Gavin DeGraw at O2 ABC Glasgow
Gavin DeGraw at O2 ABC Glasgow venue

If you’re not familiar with American musician Gavin DeGraw then I suggest you look him up instantly. His big musical break came from having one of his songs, ‘I Don’t Wanna Be’ featured as the theme song for US drama ‘One Tree Hill’ back in 2003.

I loved tuning in every week for the new episode and hearing that theme song. I’ve been a massive fan of Gavin DeGraw ever since and I’ve been lucky enough to have seen him each time he’s come to the UK. I also got to meet him at a Meet & Greet in Manchester a few years ago. It was amazing!

SimplyEmma meeting Gavin DeGraw Meet & Greet Manchester
Meeting Gavin DeGraw at Manchester Academy in 2014

Gavin’s UK and Europe tour was ‘An acoustic evening with’ which included his two bandmates, Billy Norris on guitar and Michael Baker on drums. These three guys are fantastic musicians with incredible amounts of talent.

Gavin DeGraw O2 ABC Glasgow
Gavin DeGraw at O2 ABC Glasgow May 2017

Gavin opened the show with ‘Chariot’ continuing into the set with a mix of older well-known classics like ‘Nice to Meet You Anyway’ and ‘Soldier’. Mr DeGraw is an all-around amazing man, always entertaining his audience with his stories about life and the tales behind the songs as well as having a bit of banter with the Glaswegian crowd.

At one point the crowd began to sing the very well-known Scottish/Glasgow chant “here we, here we, here we f*@king go” over and over again. Gavin loved it and when he came out to perform his encore of ‘I Don’t Wanna Be’ wearing a kilt, he began chanting this with the crowd. The entire crowd loved it and so did Gavin himself.

Not only is he incredibly talented, but he also has amazing energy and charisma both on and off stage.

Final Thoughts

O2 ABC Glasgow has good accessibility and as a wheelchair user, I generally find it a pretty good venue. I love how easy it is to book tickets and arrange access requirements. However, I dislike the viewing platform and not being able to comfortably move if needed due to the sea of people squashed in behind my wheelchair.

It would be amazing if the viewing platform was a bit higher to give a nonrestrictive view of the stage. Customer service from Ina was top-notch. She is a true example of how staff should treat customers, whether disabled or not.

Where Next: You Might Also Enjoy

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The Old Fruitmarket Disabled Access & Wheelchair Accessibility Review

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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2 Responses

  1. As you’ll know, it’s not really a viewing platform; merely a bar area which happens to be raised a bit. They could really do with putting a purpose built platform in front of that area.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the show regardless.

    1. So true! 100% agree that they should put a purpose built platform in front of that area. It would make such a big difference, but sadly I doubt they will 🙁 How did you get on at Arcade Fire?

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