Ten years ago tonight, Sir Rod Stewart strode on stage to give the inaugural performance at Scotland’s newest entertainment venue.
Thousands gathered on the banks of the River Clyde for a first glance at what is now known as the OVO Hydro.
In the decade that followed, the venue has become an iconic Glasgow landmark and played host to some of the biggest music, cultural, sporting and political events of recent times.
For years, Glaswegians attended large gigs by making their way west along the Clyde to what was then known as the SECC.
The Armadillo auditorium and the SEC centre have now been joined by the huge saucer-shaped Hydro, forming part of the Scottish Events Campus.
But once the doors opened, it was full steam ahead with the world-class venue being utilised for many a major event – from Elton John to COP26 to the Commonwealth Games.
Debbie McWilliams, director of Live Entertainment said: “It has been an outstanding decade of music, comedy, and sport. The venue has gone from strength to strength, year on year and is firmly placed as world-class in the global entertainment industry.
“With over 1,000 shows staged, ten million fans through the door and a cabinet filled with awards – there is a lot to celebrate. We are delighted to launch our tenth birthday season and over the coming weeks, we’ll be shining the light on the fans, artists, promoters and partners who have played a pivotal role in our success.”
STV News takes a look back at some of the Hydro’s most significant moments.
SIR ROD STEWART GETS THE SHOW ON THE ROAD
It was eight years in the making and cost some £125m.
But it was all worth it on September 30, 2013, when Rod Stewart took to the stage for the first concert at the Hydro.
The 68-year-old rocker laughed off months of concerns over whether the complex would be ready for his run, telling the audience: “We made it.”
He stormed on stage, sporting a sparkling silver jacket, and immediately stormed through some of his biggest hits including This Old Heart of Mine, Tonight’s The Night and Twisting the Night Away.
2014 COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Gymnastics and Boxing were among the sports to take place at the Hydro as it served as one of the venues during Glasgow’s hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The venue also hosted the netball finals and a young Max Whitlock took silver in the pommel horse.
The 2016 MOBO Awards took place at the Hydro, with Craig David, Lady Leshurr and Drake among the big winners on the night.
It was the fourth time the awards, which celebrate urban music artists, had been held in Glasgow.
STILL GAME AND KEVIN BRIDGES
Countless acts have taken to the stage of the Hydro but it’s Still Game Live and Kevin Bridges who share the record for the most shows played with an incredible 51 each.
Still Game stars Jane McCarry and Sanjeev Kohli, who played nosy neighbour Isa and shopkeeper Navid, told STV News it was surreal to perform in front of such a huge crowd.
Sanjeev said: “I think the place had opened a year before we got the gig and even just getting that email saying ‘Still Game is coming back and we’re doing it live at the Hydro’, and you’re thinking ‘Peebles or Seamill’.
“We were originally contracted for four shows. We were in an empty Hydro for the press conference and I thought there’s no way we’ll sell it out once but we ended up selling it 21 times.”
Jane added: “Apparently we stopped U2 because it was meant to be four shows, and then six, we went on for so long that they had to be pushed along.
“We didn’t know if it would work because nobody had ever done a show, a sitcom really, on a stage that size. You know it would work at the King’s Theatre but not in a venue like that.”
MTV EUROPE MUSIC AWARDS 2014
The MTV Europe Music Awards, hosted by Nicki Minaj, took place at the Hydro in 2014.
Ozzy Osbourne, U2 Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande were among the stellar cast.
COP26 CLIMATE SUMMIT
The Hydro hosted the 26th “Conference of the Parties”, or COP26, in November 2021, which represented a gathering of all the countries signed on to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Climate Agreement.
Some 120 world leaders were in attendance, including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian President Narendra Modi.
STARRING ROLE IN NETFLIX EUROVISION MOVIE
The Hydro was transformed into the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest in The Story of Fire Saga movie on Netflix, starring Will Ferrell.
Confusingly, the film didn’t show The Hydro in Glasgow – it was actually transplanted to the end of Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge.
In reality, the Hydro did get down to the final two in the race to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest but lost out to Liverpool.
COVID-19 VACCINATION CENTRE
The music stopped at the Hydro in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns.
It was transformed into the NHS Louisa Jordan, where the public were administered doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Among those who used the venue to get their jag was former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year took place at the Hydro in December 2014.
Sir Chris Hoy was presented with a lifetime achievement award in front of a home crowd.
More than ten million tickets have been sold for events at the Hydro over the last ten years and there’s still plenty to look forward to in the coming months.
Take That and Olivia Rodrigo are just some of the big names scheduled to appear at the venue as it enters its second decade.
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