So there I was 16 years old, dressed in three-quarter-lengths with spiked solid hair and sweating in a crowd of 8,000 people in my brand new Blink 182 hoodie. They were the first band I ever loved, this was my first ever live show and I didn’t really know what to expect. At 16, I’ll be honest, I thought a mosh pit was somewhere the bad kids were taken, like a sin bin, I thought crowd surfing was some sort giant hug between lots of friends, basically I knew nothing, apart from my love for the music of Blink 182.
Standing in that crowd as a teenager getting pushed, punched and loving every sweaty minute. I remember looking up to the high balconies, where groups of nameless faces would sit comfortably sipping cold drinks and nodding their heads to the pop punk sounds of Blink. At that age I wasn’t interested in being up there, those important people weren’t real fans, I’d still be in this pit at every concert, not up there with those snobs, I’d be listening to Blink when I was 30, that would never change.
Fast forward six years and how things do change so quickly. Returning to Blink 182 for the first time, only this time, I’d be watching the band as part an ever popular VIP package, courtesy of Amplify event hospitality.
Upon arrival we were greeted and escorted to one of the Showcubes (basically a little room full of snacks, cold beverages and important looking people). When the band hit the stage we were treated to a fantastic view, a great sound and a comfy seat (not that I sat on it much). I can’t deny it, no matter how much my juvenile roots will kill me for saying this, this really was a great way to watch a live band. Of course you can’t beat being in the mix, in the middle of eagerly anticipating crowd ready to watch a headline band. The atmosphere, the tension, the sweat and tears is something a comfy seat, a great view and sub-standard snacks just can’t compete with. But as a one-off treat and being a little older and to some degree wiser, this was a great way to spend an evening enjoying the soundtrack of your teenage years.
At the end of the night, after drummer Travis Barker had basically single handedly dragged Blink 182 into 2012, (he really is incredible) we returned to our hotel.
As part of the Amplify package you can opt for a night in a city centre hotel. We were lucky enough to be put up in Birmingham’s four star Hotel La Tour which really was the highlight of the evening. As quite a new complex, La Tour is perfectly situated in the city centre, walking distance from everything important including transport links. Our room was luxurious, with more touch screen gadgets than an I-phone orgy, a comfy bed and a spa-like shower and bathroom. The bar and restaurant were relaxing and business like, with moody lighting, laid back Zero 7 and Air seeping through the speakers while we sat on excessive, art-décor seating and sipping a prestigious beer called Carling. The staff were polite, friendly and courteous, catering to your every need and just as Hotel La Tour advertises, “A four star hotel, with five star service”.
As an evening and rare treat the whole package was extremely impressive. Good service all round and a different and welcome way to experience a live concert. But it’s still hard to recreate that exciting and dangerous buzz you get from watching a live band, in the middle of a baying crowd, loving every minute.
- Great views and sounds
- Avoided mass crowds
- Everyone deserves to feel a bit important sometimes
- Quality and comfortable hotel
- Great food and courteous staff
- Great location
- Sub-standard snacks
- Avoided mass crowds
- The support bands
- No free hotel car parking