Led Zep in the Stadium, Nirvana in the Top Hat, Metallica in the SFX – those were the days…


McGonagles. What a venue that was.

I saw XTC there, great gig.

But they weren’t the only big act to grace the, eh, stage in McGonagles.

Public Enemy, The Stone Roses and even Ozzy Osbourne also did gigs in McGonagles.

Johnny did a gig there when it was the Crystal Ballroom back in the early sixties.

I have, for some reason, a memory of seeing Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian in the Baggot Inn, a venue where David Bowie and Tin Machine played too.

But there not in the first division of weird venues played by big acts in Dublin.

Nirvana and The Stranglers both played the Top Hat Ballroom in Dun Laoghaire, long since demolished.

REM, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Def Leppard and Metallica all filled the SFX, also long gone.

Of course The Beatles and Stones were among those who played in the old Adelphi Cinema, now part of Arnott’s store.

Duran Duran and AC/DC did gigs in the Olympic Ballroom.

And the Ramones filled both the State Cinema in Phibsboro and the Television Club on Harcourt Street when, presumably, there was little choice of venue in Dublin.

It’s hard to imagine Bob Marley in Dalymount or even Mugo Jerry in Richmond Park. But that’s where they played.

Still for me, the weirdest of all was Led Zeppelin at the Stadium.

I didn’t go. I have no idea why because some of my school pals did.

I didn’t really ask them much about the gig at the time because I knew they’d tell me and I really didn’t want to be any sicker than I already was.

But I asked one of them about it a couple of years ago.

I told him I was sorry I didn’t go.

“No you’re not,” he said, “It would have messed with your head.”


A couple of the tales that emerged from that gig were scary, not least the one about the smell off the band members.


Led Zep in the Stadium.


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