- Go to Wembley Arena
- See Guns & Roses
- Come home
... simple, right?
Exhibit A, from the Ticket
DOORS: 5:30pm (5pm for standing)
SEBASTIAN BACH: 6:40pm - 7:10pm
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE: 7:30PM - 8:00PM
GUNS AND ROSES 8:30PM - 11PM
If you have been following the Guns 'n Roses tour, then you will be aware that timings have been later than those originally stated, this includes later times for support acts as well.
"Later than those originally stated", eh? Well, Wembley has a curfew, doesn't it -- half an hour or so later wouldn't be a big deal. Hm, I'm surprised it doesn't seem to be quite sold out, but I guess this was the second date they announced (the first one being today, Sunday 30th)
We drive to Morden, we take the Tube to Waterloo, we change onto the Jubilee line to Wembley Park.
Digression: For those of my readers either not based in the UK or not familiar with the London area, Wembley is one of the three large concert venues in the London area (the other two being Earl's Court and the London Arena). It's not especially central; it's out in north-west London, and as such anyone needing to get back to other areas of London by public transport generally needs to go back into the centre of London and then out again. Generally concerts at Wembley finish in time to do this (though it's occasionally been last-train-all-the-way). While one can drive there, parking can be a bit of a nightmare especially when trying to leave after the concert -- it's taken me upwards of an hour to get out of the car park before now. So we usually take public transport for the majority of the journey; it takes a bit over an hour and a half door to door. (This may sound grim, but in fact it's only the second-worst of the three for us to get to -- the London Arena takes quite a bit longer, as it's right the other side of London as opposed to on the same side but a lot further north.)
Words You Don't Want To Hear, Part I At Neasden station, the one before Wembley Park on the Jubilee line: "We would like to advise anyone going to the Guns & Roses concert at Wembley Arena that the concert is likely to finish after the last train on this line."
Hm. That would have been useful information to have had before we left the house, but okay....
Words You Don't Want To Hear, Part II On the platform at Wembley Park station: "Oh... shit! Where are the tickets?"
There was a brief discussion about what to do at this point. Go home and skip the concert; go back and pick up the tickets, then drive back to Wembley -- missing the support bands, and possibly not getting back in time for the main act if the timings on the TM site were anything approaching accurate; since the show wasn't sold out, just go and buy some replacement tickets, chalking the others up to Stupidity Tax. We went for option 3. There were notices on the box office door saying (paraphrase) "we don't expect the show to finish until after midnight".
Replacement tickets acquired, we went in, sat down, and I called drown_not_wave's controlling entity to ask her to do some Internet lookups for me about other ways to get home if the concert really did run until after midnight. She came back with a list of options which ran, roughly:
- The last Jubilee line train is 0021, back to Westminster; walk from there to Waterloo and catch a train to Wimbledon; get cab from there to Morden (where the car was parked)
- If you can't get that, the last Bakerloo line train in towards town is 0039 (the Bakerloo line goes to Waterloo), catch train to Wimbledon, get cab as previous
- beyond that, there are night buses. Occasionally. Maybe.
She had also called Wembley box office to get better estimates of timing for the evening. G&R on stage at 9.50pm, off stage at a quarter past midnight. Okay, so Wembley Central for the Bakerloo line train is about a 20 minute walk -- we'll have to hustle a bit but it should be possible. (We also considered solutions involving cabs to the Ealing area and kipping over with our former DodgyLodger, but that would have been a bit impractical since we didn't have things like contact lens cases/solutions with us.)
First support act: scheduled 6.40pm, on stage 7.15pm. Despite drown_not_wave's condemnation of Seb Bach as a total prat (okay, not her exact words, but somewhat censored for a family audience), he wasn't that bad. (She suggested I should have reminded Brent Council that he was apparently banned from playing at Wembley after a couple of... incidents... back in the early 90s.) He played for about an hour (mostly old Skid Row stuff, with a couple of new songs; one of them, By Your Side, sounded a hell of a lot like Aerosmith's Don't Wanna Miss A Thing, which is not a recommendation).
Second support act: scheduled 7.30pm, on stage... hm, we missed the first half or so while trying to get something to eat, so on stage perhaps 8.45pm or so? They were a bit generic but the last track they played, their current single, wasn't too bad. And they certainly weren't anywhere near as dire as Funeral for a Friend, who we saw supporting Iron Maiden a couple of years back and who are currently our baseline for appalling support acts.
So, Bullet For My Valentine went off stage at about 9.25pm, twenty-five minutes before G&R were due on (by the revised timings).
The crowd waited patiently.
The crowd waited not so patiently.
The crowd managed to get the most participatory Mexican Wave I've ever seen going (well, those seats get hard after a while...)
The stage cameraman started randomly filming bits of the crowd for a few seconds at a time. This led to a spate of young women sitting on their partners' shoulders and getting their tits out for the camera (to loud cheers from the crowd)
The crowd continued to wait, with a rising level of impatience. (I think it's just as well they were confiscating bottles, even plastic ones, on the way in.)
Geological ages passed.
Civilisations rose and fell.
Entirely new species evolved among the concert-goers in the standing area.
Eventually... oh no, that's a roadie.
G&R finally took the stage at 10.40pm. Nice one, guys.
The gig itself was pretty good, in terms of them doing a lot of the old stuff, though it suffered somewhat from several lengthy guitar solos (well, it gave everyone time to go for a wee), and Axl taking time to read the names of those who had won tickets to some acoustic gig they were doing at about 3am (so, pretty much right after they finished at Wembley, then...). It got to ten past midnight and Axl started covering Rod Stewart ("Sailing") and somehow, at that point, the Tube looked so much more attractive than the Night Bus -- even if it meant we didn't get to hear Paradise City live again, oh well.
We started walking (fairly fast, for me ;)) towards Wembley Central tube, the 0039 tube fixed firmly in our sights.
It started to rain.
We arrived at Wembley Central, just missing a train. That turned out to be the 0029 to Euston -- bit of a shame that, we could have got a cab from there to Waterloo. Still, in plenty of time for the 0039... which only goes to Queen's Park (about half-way in to central London and of no use to us whatsoever).
("Bother," said Pooh.)
Another couple also trying to get to Waterloo had the same problem, so a plan was formed involving finding the minicab office we'd walked past on the way to the station and seeing how much a minicab to Waterloo would cost (£24, not too bad when split four ways).
We got to Waterloo around 0115 and waited for the 0142 train to places involving Wimbledon; it took an interesting route via bits of the Underground (I've never been on an overground train through Southfields and Wimbledon Park before...), but eventually deposited us at Wimbledon, where we found a cab immediately, and got back to Morden...
... and our car was still there. Given the rest of the evening, I was starting to wonder. ;)