By Gillian McKenzie
SCOTLAND hasn’t always had the best track record when it comes to large scale building projects.
The Edinburgh trams, the Scottish Parliament building, the proposed Glasgow Airport rail link are just some that have spiralled out of control or failed to get off the ground in the first place.
But we have, it seems, redeemed ourselves with the latest addition to the redeveloped Clyde-side in Glasgow.
The SSE Hydro, on the site of the former Queen’s Dock, opened its doors as scheduled on September 30 and I was lucky enough to be there as a guest of Heineken, which is the official beer and cider supplier of the 12,000-seat venue.
As Rod Stewart took to the stage for the very first performance in the Hydro, the benefits of the purpose-built music venue over its SECC sister, which was constructed primarily for exhibitions and conferences, became clear.
The sound, lighting, sight lines and atmosphere were first class.
Rod was brilliant too.
But the real star of the show was the building itself.
The £125 million Hydro is predicted to be the fifth busiest entertainment arena in the world, drawing an estimated one million visitors a year to 140 music, comedy and sporting events. It will also play a central role in next year’s Commonwealth Games.
The Hydro has given Scotland a world-class arena. That it is expected to bring an additional £131m to the economy each year can only be good news for the trade.