Review of 'Noel Fitzpatrick Live Tour 2018 - Welcome to My World'

supervet_live.jpg http://noelfitzpatricklive.com/

My wife and I have always loved animals. We always have a pet at home who keeps us company and on whom we lavish attention (yes, Apple, I am talking about you). One of our favourite television shows is The Supervet that features an incredible vet, Noel Fitzpatrick, who has made it his life work to create the best veterinary practice in the world offering cutting edge procedures you would normally expect to be seen in humans. Fitzpatrick's particular interest is in orthopaedics/neurology but his passion is taking care of animals and helping their owners make the right decisions. What is compelling about Fitzpatrick is not only his considerable technical skill but also his equally considerable compassion.

When we heard of this tour we grabbed tickets straightaway despite having little idea what to expect from a two hour arena show. Let's face it, Fitzpatrick is not a professional entertainer, he is a (damn good) vet who happens to star in a reality television show. What unfolded during the show was a multi-media talk by the great man first about his upbringing in Ireland where he started work as a farm vet before leaving that to specialise which led into him talking about his founding, with considerable financial risk, of Fitpatrick Referrals in a farmyard at the end of a narrow potholed road in the middle of nowhere then demonstrating some of the advances he has made with several case studies.

The whole evening was tightly stage-managed and scripted, often feeling like a religious revival meeting “How many of you would like to see this?” (encouraging the audience to clap agreement) ending with a controversial appeal by Fitzpatrick for closer links between the veterinary and human health disciplines. One of his arguments is that why should we use animals in test laboratories as a basis for human treatment where we can study what we learn from the work performed by himself and others in veterinary practices, that is, in naturally occurring situations. He further says that there should be no reason why medical breakthroughs should not be shared between both humans and animals, founding The Humanimal Trust to do just that. Animals are not second-class citizens but deserving of the same treatment we give to humans. It is a compelling argument that Fitzpatrick puts forward with his familiar passion. Yes it was, indeed, like being at a lecture as he put forward his points. I have to say that the O2 audience seemingly filled with many upper and middle class animal lovers (and many from Fitzpatrick's practice and other veterinary schools) received the message a touch of ambivalence though this could be more from not exactly expecting a religious revival evening rather than from any lack of agreement (what, we are expected to participate? I came to see some cute pictures of pets…). The great man did, however, get a resounding standing ovation at the end so I suspect the message did sink in, at least a little.

A giant video screen behind Pitzpatrick was used to great effect throughout the evening to show animations and videos to accompany the talk. It was good to show what he was talking about and to give him time to grab the occasional cup of water…The pictures were on occasion graphic as he made his points throughout the evening which served to accentuate his points and getting an obvious reaction from the audience. He certainly showed that he is an accomplished orator. It will be interesting to see whether he does something similar again in the future. The only thing I can say I was slightly disappointed with was a lack of in-depth discussion of some of the innovative work he does now. Yes, it was touched on but in only slightly more detail than what has been already shown on the television program so it would have been nice to have had a bit more information presented. Of course, perhaps this is just me: As a bit of a geek I like to hear the technical details.

An interesting and intriguing talk from a man who demonstrated he is more than just a television personality but one who has always dreamed big and continues to do so. Who wants to move beyond helping animals to helping mankind. Not exactly what I expected when we bought the tickets…

Rating:

Review Date: 2018-11-25



London O2 Arena

Location: London (England)

Address: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE North Greenwich

Telephone: +44 (0)20 8463 2000

URL: http://www.theo2.co.uk/

Originally the “Millennium Dome”, this was the site of an exhibit during the millennium which then fell into disuse for quite a number of years before being re-purposed as a multi-purpose venue with the massive 20,000 seat “arena” taking up the majority of the space under the dome (when inside the arena you cannot see any of the large tent above you - it is just a large…arena). Under the tent and surrounding the arena are a number of restaurants (some are not that bad), a cinema and a few other smaller entertainment venues. The restaurants now extend to other buildings surrounding the O2.

Seating can be problematic here which is typical for such large arenas. As it is rectangular and artists perform at the one end visibility and cramped necks are an issue. Ideal seating is in the first, ground level of seats but NOT in front the stage (unless you are in the first few rows the person sitting in front of you is going to block your view). Cheaper seats in the second level are quite steeply raked and it can also get hot up there.

Food in the arena itself is quite expensive and you are not allowed to bring in external drinks unless you remove the lids (and they are, of course, non-alcoholic). In fact, any drinks you purchase on site have their lids removed, evidently to avoid the bottle being used as a weapon.

Getting in and out of the arena is generally extremely good with the proximity of the tube station on the Jubilee line (running high capacity trains) very helpful in quickly allowing people to leave. If attending an event on the weekend be sure to check if there are any engineering events though as this has been known to happen during popular performances…