Last week I was invited down to the O2 Apollo in Manchester, for an introduction to the venue and a bit of behind-the-scenes fun. The Apollo is one of those venues that holds a bit of a special place in my heart. It was where I went to see my first ever gig, I think in the year 2000 or possibly 2003, which was the legendary (hmmm) Craig David! I remember being excited and full of anticipation, but also desperately trying to remember the lyrics to all of his songs.
In my teenage years I managed to pop along to the ‘Get Happy’ tour, thanks to a free ticket, which meant I got to see my pop punk favourites Bowling For Soup, Zebrahead and Bloodhound Gang! I’ve also seen the gorgeous Adam Levine in the flesh, singing his heart out with Maroon 5, which has to be one of my favourite gigs to date.
So as you can see, I’ve kind of grown up with the O2 Apollo being the place to go to see great live artists. When I was asked if I wanted to go on a tour of the venue, have my makeup done by Gemma Aldous and experience the newly spruced up artist dressing room, I really couldn’t turn it down!
I was joined by fellow Manchester bloggers Irena from Irena D World and Laura from Smile At Style. We were shown around by the general manager Phil, who had some great knowledge of the venue’s history to share with us all. Apparently the building used to be quite the hive of entertainment in Ardwick Green, with the venue offering much more than just live music. It also used to be a place to dine, drink, dance and even watch films!
We were also taken into the O2 Priority Room (blue room in the photo above), which you can gain free access to on gig nights if you’re on O2, along with a couple of your friends. The room is seriously cool, with its own little bar, drums for tables, a pinball machine and lots of photos and video footage on the walls of bands that have played at the venue. Including some very retro footage of The Beatles, who played as a supporting act back in 1963!
Other O2 Priority perks include free cloakroom, fast-track queuing and early access to tickets. So even if you aren’t on O2, it can help to have a friend who is.
After our tour, we were taken to the new artist dressing room, which had recently been refurbished. It was clean and simple, with the classic O2 blue theme, and stocked full of goodies. Including my very own bag of all blue M&Ms that I had requested on my rider before the day! Spoilt or what?
We were then introduced to make up artist to the stars, Gemma Aldous, who has worked her make up magic on everyone from Eliza Doolittle to Justin Bieber. It was lovely to hear all her little tips and how she got to where she is now. Oh and also have an envious look at all her products, naturally.
The tour concluded with a walk down to the stage, walking in the footsteps of so many famous people, and standing on the stage like we’d turned up to perform to an invisible crowd! Not one person bought a ticket to our show, what?! I’ll definitely be having a word with my manager…