Christy Moore at Vicar Street – Review
Christy Moore – Vicar Street – 16th December 2013
‘It’s great to be back in this auld kip. It’s a grand place,’ Christy Moore tells us early on in the evening, perched on his stool on the Vicar Street stage. And he certainly seemed to be in top form, treating the audience to a set of his best known work on the second of six sold-out nights. Ably assisted by long time friend and collaborator, Declan Sinnott, this was a gig that got better as it wore on – not an easy feat for a set that lasted for over two hours.
Yet Moore made the time breeze by with his unique mix of hilarious anecdotes, classic songs and friendly audience banter.
In light of recent events, there were early tributes to Nelson Mandela in the form of Biko Drum and Dunne’s Stores, the latter of which Christy reckoned he played too fast having played it too slowly the previous night. Too fast or not, it was still a nice tribute to open the show with and both songs showed that, even at 68, Moore’s voice is as strong and resonant as ever.
There were also early tributes to Ewan and Kirsty MacColl in the form of First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and Fairytale of New York, sung back-to-back. First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is a song that has been covered almost in to submission by a host of dubious artists yet Moore managed to convey a fresh air of sombre vulnerability with his rendition. His interpretation of other people’s songs is possibly even more impressive than the delivery of his own compositions.
Not that there’s anything wrong with his own compositions – two of his most recent ones received an airing and went down well. Where I Come From, the title track of his most recent album recalls his roots in Newbridge, while the Diagio-baiting Arthur’s Day was neatly contrasted with Delirium Tremens which immediately followed it. Whether you agree with Moore’s views on Arthur’s Day or not, it’s heartening to see that he still has that fire burning inside him to question and challenge the establishment. Why aren’t there younger artists doing something similar? It’s not like the country hasn’t given them plenty of material to work with over the past few years.
Throughout the whole performance, Declan Sinnott was nothing short of excellent. His slide playing on the likes of Missing You was very impressive while his fluid melodies perfectly contrasted Moore’s pounding rhythm guitar all night. He was given his own moment in the spotlight for a rendition of his own Blood Is Rushing Through These Veins, a pleasant country-tinged number that was warmly applauded by the crowd.
But let’s be honest, everyone was here for Christy and all of those songs they grew up with and they weren’t disappointed. Viva La Quinte Brigada, Ride On, Ordinary Man and Black is the Colour were all played in quick succession before the roof was lifted when Ray Houghton stuck the ball in the net during Joxer Goes to Stuttgart – I’d still like to know what happened to Joxer after that German girl turned up in Ballyfermott though.
He was set to wrap things up at this point but decided after a number of song requests from the crowd that ‘feck it, we’ll play them all.’
The highlight of these requests were a rousing rendition of Back Home In Derry and a hilarious unaccompanied version of Weekend In Amsterdam – there’s probably not many national treasures that could get away with singing about dildos and fanny ticklers and still come across as endearing.
The night ended with Faithful Departed in honour of Phil Chevron before a one song encore; the ever popular Lisdoonvarna. Even though he stumbled over some of the words and had to partially repeat one of the verses, the crowd lapped it up and laughed along with the mistakes. It was that sort of feel good night and no doubt those with tickets for the next two Sunday and Monday nights are in for a similar treat.
Review by Mark O’Brien