This weekend's gig in the 3Arena proved that Ireland is ready to dance again
The first gig in the arena in 20 months brought big live music back with a bang.
We should've known the night was going to be a little bit crazy when Marty Cintron, the lead vocalist and guitarist of No Mercy, appeared on stage on his own. Who is No Mercy, you ask? Remember 1996 global smash hit 'Where Do You Go'? Them, that's No Mercy. Usually a trio, but some research afterwards showed that Marty does the European stuff solo.
Anyways, Marty comes on stage alone with his guitar, the entire 3Arena bathed in a sexy blue light, and proceeds to kick off an acoustic cover of Everything But The Girl's 1994 smash hit 'Missing'. And the crowd went absolutely wild.
Halfway through, it blended seamlessly into the 1995 Todd Terry remix of the same song, Marty still going HAM on the vocals and guitar, and the roof nearly blew straight off the venue. He hadn't even gotten to his own famous song yet. Yeah, Dublin was ready to dance again.
Still cant fully comprehend this happened last night... pic.twitter.com/8GZ94nl2Q3
— Rory Cashin (@roarEcashin) October 24, 2021
As the first gig in the 3Arena since early March 2020, it certainly set a tone. One day earlier, with the bars and clubs officially allowed to fully reopen their doors again (kind of), the public responded as would be expected: with lengthy queues into pretty much every possible establishment.
But while the Gen Z crowd went all out for the clubs, the millennials brought their particular A-game just as much. Somewhere in between a themed Halloween party and the world's biggest combined hen/stag do, a stroll around the bars near the 3Arena while people were pre-gaming the gig presented a cavalcade of neon and fingerless gloves and glowsticks. These people weren't just going out. They were going OUT out.
Once passed the queues and covid cert and ID checks and inside the arena, the buzz was immediate. Everyone was just there to have a good time. Strangers nodded and smiled at each other. Punters queued in an orderly fashion to bring back four pints to their chairs, bulk buying so as to miss out on as little as possible.
Almost every ticket checker and security person and bartender said the same thing, to customers and to each other: "We're back!"
In the main auditorium, before the gig kicked off properly with a decent Spice Girls tribute act, a short video played out on the huge screens. Clips of Micheál Martin (who got a lot of boos from the audience) and Leo Varadkar and famous Irish reporters giving the news of the pandemic and the lockdown from the last 20 months, before revelling in the fact that, yes, we're all back for this gig. Unsurprisingly, the crowd lost their collective minds.
After that, it was nostalgia blast after nostalgia blast after nostalgia blast...
Yes, everyone had to stay at their seats - the exact opposite of what you'd expect from a disco - and yes, the line-up was both brilliant and absolute chaos, but it almost didn't matter.
No shade against the acts, who came out and did their thing with all of the energy and love for the songs even these three decades on, but you get the feeling that the crowd would've been happy no matter what was playing.
When the Rednex - of 'Cotton Eye Joe' fame - brought the tempo waaaaaaay down with a sad ballad, nobody blinked an eye. The crowd was out and they were having a good time and they knew, within just a few minutes, they'd be attempting to barn dance next to their chairs, asking strangers "Where did you come from, where did you go?"
To steal a quote from Whigfield's hit song 'Saturday', the vibe of the night was very much: "It's party time and not one minute we can lose". And who can blame them?
Main image via Twitter/@3Arena