Glen Hansard at Vicar Street – Review & Photos
Glen Hansard played a sold out show at Vicar Street tonight, in aid of Peter McVerry Trust.
Hansard ambles on stage and seats himself at the piano, grinning out to the buzzing crowd. The moment turns tender as he vocally matches the grand instrument’s beauty. His range is magnificent as he hits delicate notes with expertise. The violins here do what they will continue to all night – add a celestial touch. Their whine drools beauty in this quiet atmosphere.
Of course it isn’t long until Hansard has the energy surging as he then picks up his guitar and rapidly strums. The stage lights up – just like how the musician himself has lit up the room. Joyous trumpets blare and a vivacious spectacle fully comes to life – led by this one man who himself is so full of vitality. Often-times he closes his eyes in passion, head facing upwards into the shining light. It is so early on in the night and already we are gleeful from these songs of such power.
“Aaah”‘s of delight circulate as all recognise the song ‘Love Don’t Keep Me Waiting’. It is a tune adored by all as it mixes together a chance to shine for the superb saxophone as well as a gentle harmony with the guitarist. This song has its heart-warming moments yet we are never kept feeling too solemn as Hansard brings in a little humour, joking with the line “show yourself to me..”. This is one of the show’s key ingredients – that Hansard acts like a friend. He maintains the real culturally-connected feel to the night that has been in place since the shrill, richly Irish singing of the supporting Lisa O’Neill. As a result the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
It cannot be argued that Hansard is anything less than an expert at his craft. He commits to his performance – neck veins bursting at the surface and sweat eventually visible. He perseveres and gives encouragement to his band – always himself relishing the experience. He lets us know that this experience would’ve been the “most amazing thing” to him when he was 15, and it “still is”. The full band make this a spectacular gig with the likes of squealing trumpets and a glorious bouzouki. The Frames’ hit ‘Revelate’ is an absolute highlight with the sound here just as phenomenal as ever. The audience sing back every word, basking in the greatness of this classic.
Hansard takes time to talk of the Peter McVerry Trust and the problem of homelessness in this country. To have the proceeds of an already great night going towards such a worthy cause is beyond commendable. Our utmost respect remains with Glen Hansard for this. He discusses the issue in depth, not allowing the real meaning behind tonight to slip our minds. For this cause he has made immense effort to put on a terrific gig, an effort that goes as far as to have tremendous guest after guest. Grainne Hunt (a girl with fabulous vocal tone) is called upon, August Wells graces us with a deep and lush voice for ‘Here In the Wild’, excitement soars for Declan O’Rourke and Mundy, Dermot Kennedy (another talented musician) receives a significant respectful silence and finally Damien Dempsey glimmers during ‘Sing All Our Cares Away’.
It is all very overwhelming. Such a fine array of musicians giving their time to put on this special show fills our hearts with joy. However the show lasts for a lengthy stretch of over three hours which admittedly leads to a little tiredness setting in. Of course Hansard is known for long sets and many are aware of this yet still some people exit as it gets late. Towards the end it can feel a little hard to keep up what with discomfort in standing for so long or woe at missing the last bus. That is not to say that this show is anything less than top quality, yet it does hold that tiring risk that all extensive sets do.
However then comes a finale that completely electrifies us, that catapults the energy and mightily lifts our spirits. All of the musicians, ensemble and guests gather on stage for ‘The Auld Triangle’. There is no ending that could better this. Drinks are held up in the air and bodies swing. Those in the balcony stand and an astounding moment takes over in Vicar Street. What a feeling it is as we roar out the sensational song. The last chorus is just the crowd belting it out and that they do with passion. Looking around I smile, knowing that right here, right now, is the absolute height of enjoyment – and that Glen Hansard has given us an evening that will forever remain engraved in our memories.