"Time and patience are rewarded at Ally Pally"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Alexandra Palace has long been the setting for trade shows and family-friendly days out. Farmer’s markets, the ice rink and collector’s fares routinely attract thousands of visitors to this North London landmark.
As a concert venue, Alexandra Palace is huge, clocking the largest capacity of any locale in London at 10,400 people. This effectively translates as lengthy queues for the cloakroom, the toilets (especially if you’re a girl) and the bar, resulting in panic-stricken faces concerned they’re going to miss the main act, if not the entire performance by the time they’ve left their coat, powdered their nose and got a warm beer.
To top it all the bars don’t accept cash, instead tokens need to be bought first (that’s right, more queues), and then there’s the time spent calculating the necessary amount of tokens so as to not run out or be left with a heap of useless tickets at the end of the night.
Moaning aside, the sound quality is very good, and the standing area is so large that in spite of the masses it is possible to find a spot from where the band is visible, even if it does mean snaking around to the side of the stage.
The Phoenix Bar serves post-gig drinks – in exchange for conventional money, thankfully - and typical pub grub such as burgers, BLT’s and pies throughout the day, as well as a Sunday roast. This may be ideal for those spending a long day going around a model engineering exhibition, but unlikely to lure anyone who isn’t already paying a visit to Ally Pally due to its somewhat far flung location.
That being said, despite being situated atop a hill, buses from Wood Green travel to the main entrance. Even better are the specially-scheduled shuttles which operate for certain concerts, resulting in ten minutes of fun on a bus filled with revellers going to the same event.
Allow plenty of time, and the magnificence of the palace coupled with the main event will hopefully make all other matters slip into the background.
Leila reviewed Alexandra Park and Palace on Wed 15 Dec 2010