Wow! I am super excited to get writing this one, purely so I can relive the day again! You see, Thursday 22nd of March 2018 was the day one of my longest dreams came true with the help of my O2 Music shaped Fairy godmother/father. It was the day I got to experience my first ever gig. Yes, I know what you are thinking “Nearly 21 and only going to your first gig, have you been living under a rock girl?” Well not quite a rock more an obstruction.
As many of you know I have Epilepsy and unfortunately for me amongst a variety that I have collected, photo sensitivity was one of them meaning that strobe lights would leave me break dancing so hard that it would leave everyone else at gigs truly jealous of my moves, and I couldn’t bring myself to upset them so I stayed away. Gah! I wish. Truth is, Photo-sensitive epilepsy means that strobe lights trigger seizures and it just wasn’t possible to attend a gig safely. Being a teenager in love with One Direction and JLS, Epilepsy made my life hell. I just wanted to be like every other teenage and bust some moves whilst my favourite singer sang in front of me.
I grew to realise that I probably wouldn’t ever experience a gig and as much as that upset me I dealt with it, sort of. Fast forward a few years I am now 20 and on medication that is actually helping me and recent tests have shown that they’re working as the light test didn’t affect me so much. Yes! I can finally attend a gig, but who should I see first?
This was when the absolutely incredible people of O2 music got in touch. O2 are all about making dreams come true and after a quick chat they told me that they would love for me to attend my first gig and not only that, they would make my experience truly magical and boy is that what they did!
The morning of Thursday 22nd March.
I had barely slept all night, I was super excited for what the day had in-store for me! I had been told to pack an overnight bag and better still Ryan was allowed to witness this experience with me, this truly was perfect. I sprung out of bed, grabbed a bowl of Lucky charms (you have got to start the perfect day off with the perfect cereal right?). At 11am a film crew, Liam the awesome PR and a lovely bloke from O2 rocked up at my door and by then damn had my nerves struck.
A few hours passed and after a handful of filming and a funny encounter with a dog, we made our way to the train station en route to Zak Abel. Never in my life have I been more excited than Thursday. I just knew I had to capture this moment with a crew selfie (minus a few camera crew that had taken the car!)
Before we knew it we were on the train and within a short time we had arrived in London ahead of the big night! We jumped in a Uber and headed to a hotel that we were kindly gifted for the night! They had only gone and booked HILTON! I felt so, so incredibly lucky, it really is the little things that make the night so much better!
We checked in and then we had an hour free time to do what we liked before the gig. Obviously I always think with my stomach meaning that of course dinner was on the cards. Westfield Shopping Centre was just across the road so we took a wander down there in search of a place to eat. We finally settled for Gourmet Burger Kitchen and boy am I glad that we did, it was so tasty! I highly, highly recommend the skinny fries! They were like heaven in your mouth.
It took longer than we expected to be served so we had to quickly scoff it all down then head back to Hilton to meet up with Liam.
With 10 minutes to spare we quickly rushed back. Now, that meal was far from small and rushing whilst you are full up was not and never is a good idea, but we managed it! We met up with Liam and that was when he told me he had only gone and managed to twist some arms so that we could meet Zak before the show! I was super incredibly excited.
We stood under the back stage sign as we waited conformation that Zak was free and available to chat. My heart rate increasing by the second I just couldn’t wait! The big brown doors slowly opened and off we headed in search for his room!
We knocked on the door and there he was, the guy that I have had blaring through the car radio for days on end was finally stood in front of me! Gah, major fan-girling going on! Zak was the most down to earth guy I have ever met and was just so easy to talk to. We laughed about our experiences with Epilepsy and he offered both Ryan and I a beer and a can of coke!
We laughed. We chatted. And we made utter fools of ourselves in the process but before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye!
We headed down to the ticket office to grab our bands then made or way to our seats. Our wristbands meant that we could sit wherever we fancied but we settled for the second floor as I felt it had a great view. We grabbed a few drinks and waited for the gig to start. I was absolutely buzzing at this point, this was everything that I have ever wanted to witness and I am so, so lucky that I get to share this moment with the most amazing of people.
Before too long Zak’s first supporting act took to the stage. His name was HUNTAR and although I have vaguely heard of him before I will admit that he was actually really good and certainly bought the majority of Shepherds Bush to their feet.
HUNTAR is the kind of artist that even if you have never heard any of his music before, you cannot help but find yourself tapping your feet along to his up beat music or even getting up and shaking that booty!
Next up was Miriam Bryant, a Swedish singer and songwriter who is utterly incredible! I will be honest here and admit that before this gig I had never even heard of her before but boy am I glad she was a support act for Zak. Her voice was astonishing and angelic. She sung a few songs, we all loved her then it was time for Zak to take the stage.
You knew immediately when Zak had set foot on the stage because the crowd below went utterly mental. Ear piercing screeching blasted through the hall and the place just came to life. Zak sang a few songs and we all sang along, people were up and dancing and girls were crying. It really was an experience.
Zak then welcomed Miriam back to the stage and they sung the most beautiful cover of Ain’t no sunshine. Both Zak and Miriam are incredible solo singers but when they combine their beautiful voices my word, it leaves you truly speechless!
Zak continued to sing, make us laugh and assist us in dancing the evening away but before I knew it the gig had come to a close. He thanked us all for coming and left the stage to the biggest applause I have ever heard. It was the most incredible night and I will admit I was a little sad that it was over so soon. The room lights came on and we all made our way out.
That was that. 4 hours had gone by and our experience had come to an end. I am truly, truly grateful to O2 Music for giving me the opportunity to experience my first gig and opening my eyes to some incredible singers. This is a moment that I will forever treasure.
If you are contemplating going to your first gig, I highly, highly recommend it. It is unlike anything you have ever experienced before. Sure you watch concerts on the telly but believe me when I say the atmosphere can only truly be felt when you are actually there within the audience. There is just something about being in the same room as the singer that makes the experience a whole lot better than listening to them through your car radio or on the TV.
Now to choose who to see next…
Disclaimer: This is in partnership with O2.