Squeeze Announce 1st 2020 Socially Distanced Arena Gig

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London’s O2 arena has announced it will host its first live music event in more than eight months, with British band Squeeze set to play to socially distanced fans on December 5, 2020. The arena event is a major step forward in getting the live event industry back up and running after all venues were closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The socially distanced event will see the venue’s capacity reduced from 20,000 to 4700, with tickets being sold in groups of twos, threes and fours only and a seating configuration which is in line with the U.K. government’s one meter-plus guidelines. Seats will remain empty between each group and one-way routes have been installed throughout the arena and concourse.

[As of Oct. 5, the arena still lists Ozzy Osbourne’s Oct. 28 as scheduled. The concert was a rescheduled date when his entire “No More Tours 2” tour had been postponed due to illness. He inexplicably hasn’t postponed or cancelled the performances despite the pandemic and his Parkinson’s diagnosis.]

To ensure the customer experience is contactless, all ticketing will use AXS Mobile ID via The O2 venue app, which also enables pre-ordering of food and drink as well as merchandise with fast collection lanes.

O2 customers can get Priority Tickets beginning this Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. local time through the Priority app. Tickets go on general sale on Friday Oct. 9 at 10 a.m. here.

Visitors will only be allowed to bring a single clear bag into the arena and the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory, except when eating and drinking within the seats. The show will end by 10 p.m. to allow fans to leave the site safely at a distance.

The O2 has purchased electrostatic foggers to deliver a charged anti-bacterial spray across the venue that will envelope all surfaces, providing protection for up to 30 days, with a heightened cleaning regime before, during and after the event.

The O2 general manager, Steve Sayer, said: “We have been working incredibly hard to bring back events and put measures in place to ensure our fans will have a safe and COVID-19 secure experience. At the moment, we’re only able to host under a quarter of our capacity in the arena, so this is not a long term solution for us or other venues and we continue to press the government for targeted support and guidance to get the live events industry and its supply chain back on its feet.

“As The O2 returns, it’s really fitting that a band from the local area are the ones to reopen our doors to the public once again. The whole team are excited to see them on our stage for the first time.”

Squeeze hail from South East London and have performed at The O2’s smaller venue, indigo at The O2 multiple times.

The band’s Glenn Tilbrook said, “I am so thrilled to be playing The O2 with Squeeze and to be able to chalk up another first for us on this hallowed ground. We are putting a lot of time and energy into this show to make it one not to forget.”

Tilbrook and Chris Difford founded the group over 40 years ago and earned immediate chart success in the U.K. with such well-crafted songs as “Up the Junction” and “Cool For Cats.”

Watch Squeeze perform “Black Coffee in Bed” at New York’s Madison Square Garden

Related: Our 2019 review of Squeeze, magnificent and tighter than ever

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