Just days before the doors open at the £125million Hydro, HANNAH RODGER took a tour of the venue.
THE 12,000 seater SSE Hydro, on the banks of the Clyde and more than eight years in the making, is finally ready to hold its first performance.
In three days' veteran rocker Rod Stewart will step out on-stage to Christen the city's newest venue.
Designed by Foster & Partners architects, the building has been described by many as Scotland's biggest feat of engineering this year. It is hoped it could help generate up to £131 million for the local economy.
Ben Scott, of Foster & Partners, said: "It's fantastic to see it now, it feels really great.
"It has been a huge team effort on this since 2004 - it's a happy day.
"I'm looking forward to Monday when we get everyone in and see Rod on stage - that's going to be the real moment where you think 'it's doing what we intended it to do'."
The company, who also designed the new Wembley stadium and the SECC building, have cited the Hydro as the biggest purpose-built arena they have designed so far.
The dome-shaped venue features more than 145 digital screens, along with two high definition video projectors to light up the exterior in the evenings.
Tom Doyle, the project director, said: "It's looking beautiful and it's the result of many years of hard work and expertise, so it's a countdown until Monday.
"We've had all the hustle and bustle that comes with building an ambitious venue like this, but the real focus will now fall on to the artists."
Dozens of performers have already signed up to play the venue, including Fleetwood Mac, Queens of the Stone Age, Calvin Harris and comedian Russell Howard.
Glasgow band Admiral Fallow tried out the new space at a private concert yesterday, becoming the first group to perform in the venue.
Louis Abbott, the group's lead singer, said: "Even the natural acoustic sound of the space seems to be pretty good and they've taken quite a lot of care in designing it.
"For the large amount of seating in the space, all of the seats seem to have a perfect view of the stage, so it's good for folk who can't maybe stand for three hours at a gig."
Sir Ian Grant, chairman of the SECC, described the day as "exhilarating" and said the new venue will help put Glasgow on the map for more major artists.
He said: "We have, with the creation of the Hydro, produced something which should satisfy both the customer and the artist."
Specially-designed acoustic tarpaulins on the upper levels, as well as retractable floor-level seating, will help to create a more intimate performance for artists who may not fill all 12,000 seats.
Food will be provided by catering firm Levy, with five outlets, including a gourmet burger bar and fish and chip restaurant, already installed on site.
The Hydro Club, a private members' area, will give guests access to an exclusive restaurant and premium seating for an annual cost of £3000 per year.
The venue will also play an important part in next year's Commonwealth Games, with both gymnastics and netball competitions being held here.