One man’s journey through Slane with “all its halcyon moments. And its wretched, shameful lows.”
The journey started in a stolen car, or at least the owner didn’t know we had it. What an adventure this would be. The Lions had lost. We met up with a cab and went up around the outside. The Navan way. I got my press pass with relative ease and in we went. I was with a few guys and a couple of girls. A bunch of brothers, their mates and a couple of girlfriends. Everyone was feeling good. Kasabian were on as we went through the farmyard. I don’t remember which song. A crowd pleaser from the first album. You’d know it. Anyway, it was a nice tune as we all went into the one way pissing system they’d set up. Pointless. But like I said, we were all feeling good. Back to the music. It was LSF. The last song. So I hit the bar up by the forest. It wasn’t open. So I hit the bar at the bottom of the hill on the left.
Kasabian were hammering out their finale and about three quarters of the crowd were into it. Which isn’t bad when you’re third in line to the throne. The other quarter were at the bar. That’s twenty thousand people trying to get a pint. There’s going to be a few numbers in this story. Times, distances, weights and measures. Flotsam and jetsam and what not. All to aid painting as accurate a picture of the day as possible. And all its halcyon moments. And its wretched, shameful lows. For every seven days of calm there’s a long winter. So that took forty-five minutes. I got a tip from a guy about how to get more than two beers but I fucked it up and only got two beers. By the time we got back to where the guys were – up near the t-shirt shop with the tree growing out the middle – Prodigy were in the middle of their set and really going at it. It was great. I didn’t think it was going to be. I thought I’d be too chilled for it. But it was hitting the spot. Breathe got everyone going. Firestarter was somewhere in the middle and Smack My Bitch Up was towards the end. It worked well.
Someone else went and got the next beers. Then Noel and our kid came on. They kicked it off pretty good with Rock n Roll Star. But followed up with Lyla. Which is a shit song. I don’t think they even like it themselves. Not to worry. Everything was soon back on track and they were banging out all the good stuff. The Masterplan. Songbird. “for the missus” he says. Half the World Away. Wonderwall. Live Forever. It was all leading nicely to Champagne Supernova. One of the girls said she’d take her tits out if they played it. They did. She didn’t. Be careful betting with, skinny dipping with, or trusting one hundred percent of what a woman says. They’re not strong in these areas. Everything’s half measures. Anyway. We were all just nicely toasted at that stage. It was the crescendo. Everyone was into it and it was just right. Peace and love reigned supreme as the magic hour faded. They finished up with I am The Walrus. Which was cool but I just never got why they do that song.
We were all Slane veterans. So we hung on for a while to let the crowd clear. That was our first mistake. After about twenty minutes we went to the nearest exit. Not the nearest to where we were going. Just the nearest to us. This added on about a half mile and a half hour. We took it in our stride. In our “blissful-ignorance-because-we-didn’t-know-the-hardship-that-lay-ahead” stride. We met an oul one we knew in the village just before you head down the hill to the river. The brothers’ oul one’s mate. She had gin in a Ballygowen bottle. She gave it to me and I sipped it til it was gone. And then she was gone. So we stopped for a break at the little park just on the Dublin side of the river.
We walked another mile or so and found a bus/shop type thing selling bus tickets for a tenner. We all got one and started walking, past buses full with the injured and dead, afraid to look each other in the eye, towards Dublin. That was another mistake in a string of them. There were mistakes all round, by the way. Most of them on their side. The wave had broken and rolled back. And the debris and carnage were now clearly visible. I won’t get into the details but we left Slane around eleven and I reckon it was three thirty when I’d got home. I’d walked fourteen kilometres and got two cabs. All with an unused bus ticket in my pocket. It was like night of the living dead. Or some sort of post apocalyptic evacuation plan gone wrong. The misery and the shame and the first wave of fear and the miles of darkness through diesel fumes, headlights and bodies. It was an absolute nightmare. Luckily, as I said though, we were feeling good. Fucking biblical.
By: Kevin Jay