‘High Hopes’ for marquee’s future as Kodaline wow fans

Concert promoter Peter Aiken says he plans to stage Live at the Marquee in Cork city for the next few years despite the concert site being up for sale.

‘High Hopes’ for marquee’s future as Kodaline wow fans

By Eoin English and Joe Dermody

Concert promoter Peter Aiken says he plans to stage Live at the Marquee in Cork city for the next few years despite the concert site being up for sale.

Mr Aiken said his team has looked at other sites following confirmation earlier this year that NAMA is selling the former Ford distribution site on Centre Park Road - the concert venue's home since 2005.

Speaking last night ahead of Kodaline's opening gig of the 14th Live at the Marquee summer concert series, Mr Aiken described the docklands venue as the "perfect site" which has hosted some 1.3m concert goers who have attended standout gigs by stars like Rod Stewart, Diana Ross, Bob Dillon, Elton John, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Biffo Clyro, Roger Waters and Christy Moore since 2005.

He said several global stars have commented on the special vibe and atmosphere created in the tented venue.

"This site is perfect - it's great in this kind of weather but it's also great when the weather turns because it's all hardcore. As a promoter, you go year to year. But of course, with the sale, we've had a look at a few things," he said.

And while a sale of the site may be a long way off, he said he hopes to keep staging Marquee gigs in the city every summer for the foreseeable future.

Concerts this year run until July 24 with acts including Tommy Tiernan, a-ha, Don McClean, Bell X1, Gavin James, Chic and Nile Rogers, Picture This, Jenny Green and the RTE Concert Orchestra, The Script, James Bay, Dara O Briain, Christy Moore, Nathan Carter, Jack Johnson, Alanis Morissette, Kraftwerk and The Coronas.

Mr Aiken, the promoter behind the record-breaking Ed Sheeran tour of Ireland last month, also said that while a debrief of the Cork gigs revealed some operational issues that could be improved, overall, he was delighted with the events and with Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

"If I get the right act, I'll be back there. I think Cork will be busy over the next few years. It's a great stadium and everybody is so proud of it," he said.

Meanwhile, Kodaline got this year's Marquee series off to a flying start, thrilling a packed venue with a stream of hits and perfectly pitched vocals.

All I Want, Ready, The One, Honest and, of course, High Hopes. Their fans know not only every note, but the breathing patterns and pauses too. Around 70% women in their twenties, but the 30% mixed bag also know these tunes.

Flawless singer Steve Garrigan makes singing along easy; beyond awesome doing The One solo on acoustic guitar. Jason Boland, Vincent May and Mark Prendergast are great on harmonies. And when they stop, the audience takes over. Seamless.

"It's great to be back in Cork," says Gartigan. "The first time we played in Cork was in Fred Zeppelin's to about two people. It feels pretty good to play the Marquee for all of you for the second time. Feel free and sing along if you know this one."

High Hopes. We did sing along, and we did feel free. He clearly knows what he's talking about.

Hats off also to Stephanie Rainey, cracking warmup act.

An emotional, tuneful opening night to the Marquee 2018 series. The curtain has been raised and so has the bar.

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