It was all very strange. In the foyer, and even the arena itself, I was surrounded by banners and advertising. As well as brand-name snacks and fast food, illuminated signs and animated video screens also promoted the jeans and designer shoes for sale at the shops underneath. I wondered who decided in the midst of a rock concert that they needed new pants. The ads continued as I took my seat, having to give way frequently to the popcorn and binoculars vendors and Pizza Hut and McDonald’s delivery boys patrolling the arena. With all of these items not only for sale, but conveniently delivered to my seat, no where for sale in the whole venue was the one item I like to enjoy before a concert: a cool, alcoholic beverage.
Smart Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Philippines, April 10, 2012
There was no support band. Maybe that explains the excited roar that passed through the crowd at the faintest murmur of a sweaty Irish roady performing soundcheck, or at the briefest flicker of the light test.
Eventually the Cranberries appeared on stage, looking much the same as they had fifteen years ago. Dolores O’Riordan still looks like somebody’s quirky art teacher, entering the stage to enormous applause wearing what looked like a black lacy jumpsuit with a super-wide boxing title belt. Over this she wore a light, white coat which caught dramatically in the breeze from on-stage fans. Her jewel-encrusted Converse Chucks reflected the spotlights, and she completed the ensemble with a black trilby.
Although not putting on a particularly vibrant arena show, the band’s enthusiasm for performance was evident, and helped carry their concert, particularly for a band remembered for ‘that one song, and that other one too.’ The Greatest Hits set served as a reminder that the group did actually have several songs that performed well on radio, and some of the new songs also showed promise, mixing drum machines with the quiet-loud sound that made the group a hit in the 1990s. They closed powerfully with the highlight of the entire set, Salvation.
Though I’ve never been too big of a Cranberries fan, it was an impressive performance which must have left me feeling good, because I was surprised to discover myself browsing the racks of baggy jeans in the doorway of a store called Anti-Fit on the way out of the Coliseum.