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The Waterboys Still Command the Stage!


The Waterboys Still Command the Stage!

When I was a wee young lad in 1985, I bought myself a cassette tape titled “This is the Sea”, by a group who I thought were all Irish, by the name of The Waterboys. From that very day on I became hooked very rarely can one find an album without filler. As a lifelong fan, which certainly does not bias opinion in the very slightest, I was given the opportunity to review the group’s latest tour.

On Wednesday 4th November, The Waterboys took to the stage as part of 4 date Irish leg of their tour in Vicar Street.  Our tickets were supplied complementary by Aiken Promotions, who in recent years have brought a number of big names to our city. Myself and a friend of mine, up and coming Irish musician, “Top Notch”, were seated in the balcony directly over the stage giving us an eagle eye view of proceedings. We arrived at a little past 7.30pm, and were shown to our seating by a very welcoming usher. The Waterboys were not due on stage till 9, so I went to the bar and got a couple of drinks, ours were just Coke, forever the consummate professional. Vicar St conveniently has a bar on every floor, which spared me stairs, earning my eternal gratitude.

At about 8.30pm Joe Chester, the support act took to the stage. Counter intuitively, a duo, of a lady by the name of Vivienne Long, playing the Cello, and Joe on the guitar and keyboard. The combination was both relaxing and engaging, a thorough delight just to sit there and watch them play.

At a little past 9pm, The Waterboys thundered on stage, there was 5 of them (over 70 people can legitimately claim to be a “Waterboy” at one stage). The band comprised Mike Scott, Dubliner Steve Wickham, Zach Ernst, Ralph Salmons and Brother Paul, who was on the keyboard.

The band had not slowed down any at all age apparently waits for The Waterboys.  The group blasted through old and new tracks “A Boy called Johnny”, “We Will Not Be Lovers”, taken from their album seminal album “Fisherman Blues”. They also did a favorite of mine “The Return of Jimi Hendrix”.  Amongst it all, Mike looked dazzling in his retro Miami Vice style silver two piece suit, and his ever popular gallon hat.

The whole gig was like listening to them on a stereo, they sound great live. I waited nearly 30 years to experience these guys and the wait was well worth it. A modified “Whole of the Moon” and “Don’t bang The Drum”, which saw Mike and Steve performing with just the Fiddle and the keyboard. Steve was brilliant he looked so cool in his bowler and his darkened John Lennon’s style glasses, a master at the fiddle.

Brother Paul on the keys demanded the attention of everyone present, by God could he play, at times I couldn’t look away I was memorized. I have never seen so much energy been played on the Keys before. The whole gig was very infectious their presence awed all there. There was a raw connection between Mike, the lads and the crowd.

I have waited nearly 30 years to see them, I have bought most of their albums, but last night was the icing on the very big cake. The Waterboy’s just totally rock, and they are a must see live!

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