So Taylor Swift was in town last week. I must admit I was pretty quick off the mark getting my tickets for the show when I saw that she was coming to Glasgow and I even dragged my boyfriend along…
Taylor Swift at SSE Hydro Glasgow
I’ve been to the SSE Hydro in Glasgow quite a few times since it opened almost two years ago. It’s an impressive arena with a massive 13,000 capacity and it was clear that T-Swizzle was completely at home playing to the sold-out crowd. While explaining how excited she was to be playing her first ever gig in Glasgow, she tells the crowd about an email she got from her Dad. He told her to let us know that they have Scottish roots. This received an incredible roar from the thousands of Scottish fans. Taylor then went on to tease them all a little more by saying “I happen to love Scottish people, personally”. A not so subtle reference to her boyfriend Calvin Harris. They all loved it!
A Sea of Pretty Twinkling Lights
Taylor performed all the new songs from her 1989 album and some of her previous hits such as I Knew You Were Trouble and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. I only started to get into her music a few years ago and more so with her current album. It wasn’t until seeing her perform live at the Hydro that I started to appreciate her songwriting and all-around talent.
We were given light-up bracelets that were synced to her music. This created a sea of pretty twinkling lights all around the arena, adding to the atmosphere during her ballads to which she played her guitar and keyboard.
Accessibility at SSE Hydro Glasgow
What I like about the Hydro is that there is no fuss at the doors. Every time we go, it’s just a case of quickly showing our tickets to the steward who then points us in the right direction. All the stewards we have come in contact with have been great and friendly. This was a refreshing experience compared to a recent not-so-pleasant experience with a steward at another venue.
I find the Hydro extremely easy to get around in my wheelchair due to how smooth the floors are and the wide spaces. The lifts are also great and we’ve never experienced any problems with queues or overcrowding. We headed up to the 2nd floor and were greeted by a lovely woman who doubled checked our tickets and let us through. Another woman escorted us to our seats and removed a seat to allow me to position my wheelchair. We had a side view of the stage, but it was great and we were pretty close.
The Dreaded Stand Up
Before Taylor comes on stage two girls directly in front of us were standing up waving their arms around and having a good time. Dread runs through me and I worry that I won’t be able to see the show if the girls remain standing the whole show. We spoke to a steward who was standing next to us and we politely explained that I couldn’t see the stage, and asked him if he could possibly make them aware I was sitting behind them.
I felt awful having to do that and potentially spoiling their night, but I had to remind myself that I had the right to enjoy the show that I paid a lot of money to see. The steward was very helpful and the girls were completely understanding about it all. The steward told us that it is a big problem at the Hydro for people in the accessible seating area when people in front of them stand up.
I don’t understand why this wasn’t thought about during the planning and designing stages for the Hydro, especially as it is such a fancy new build. Or is it because disabled people are in the minority that it’s not given much thought.
We weren’t the only ones having problems seeing the stage. Unfortunately, a girl sitting beside us had to move further down the row to be able to see the stage due to people standing up in front of her. She was also in a wheelchair so could not stand up to see over their heads. There were a few people that had wheelchairs that raised them up higher allowing them to be able to see the stage even if people were standing in front of them.
Time to Shake it Off
The steward was attentive and during the show, he came up to me to make sure I could see as the girl in front had held up a sign. It was only held up for a brief moment so it wasn’t a problem. At the end of the show, Taylor performed her hit Shake it Off. It was obviously her favourite song as the girl in front of me left her seat to stand on the stairs and immediately turned and asked if I could still see. This was very nice and understanding of her. This shows that some people aren’t aware of the situation or the problems disabled people have at gigs until it’s explained or brought to their attention.
I think that stewards should be trained to have an awareness of the issues disabled people have, which would make us feel more comfortable and one less thing to worry about.
Overall Taylor Swifts performance overshadowed the tiny glitch we had and on the whole, the SSE Hydro Glasgow is a great arena. I’ll definitely return again!