The O2, one of the world’s leading music venues, is to reopen to full capacity crowds this evening (Tuesday) with a free performance exclusively for NHS workers and their families from Gorillaz.
The concert from Damon Albarn’s band, with Liam Gallagher also set to perform, comes more than 500 days since The O2 last welcomed a full crowd following Covid-19 restrictions.
Organisers said all ticket holders will need to present an NHS Covid Pass on entry to gain access to the venue.
Steve Sayer, vice-president and general manager at The O2, said: “After over 500 days without a full capacity show, we’re delighted that two of the most iconic UK artists are reopening The O2 arena with these exclusive performances from Gorillaz and Liam Gallagher for our dedicated NHS workers.”
Details of the gig were first released last month. NHS staff in the UK have been eligible to apply for tickets, including doctors, nurses, porters, cleaners, support workers and paramedics. Ticket holders must bring their valid NHS ID or Primary Care Trust ID card or Blue Light Card to the event, or details of employment if NHS contract staff.
Gorillaz drummer Russel Hobbs said: “We don’t just want to say thank you, we want to do thank you too, because we care about the people who care for us.”
The O2 was transformed into a temporary NHS Nightingale hospital during the height of the pandemic last year. Merchandise featuring commemorative Nightingale artwork will be available for fans to purchase at this week’s show with profits going to support the NHS.
The Nightingale design, complete with rainbow wings, was created by British artist and illustrator Madeleine Floyd who also designed the original piece of artwork to commemorate the NHS Training Facility at The O2 in 2020. The original framed piece is now situated in the backstage area alongside signed imagery of artists, comedians and sport stars who have played the venue.
Sayer added: “It’s been a long time coming, and it’s fitting that Madeleine Floyd has created two new and original pieces of nightingale artwork for the occasions to help raise funds for the Nightingale Foundation. For so many reasons, we expect a big outpouring of emotion on both nights and an incredible atmosphere.”
The O2 has been visited by over 70 million people since opening in 2007, with the O2 Arena hosting over 200 events a year.