The Dubliners in Dublin:
From Flanders to Vicar Street
07 July 2007
Up to now, I had never been in Ireland, one of the reasons being that out of fear, I had sworn never to set foot in an aeroplane. So I limited myself to The Dubliners' gigs in Belgium. This year, I overcame my fear and decided to have my own little private celebration of The Dubliners' 45th Anniversary, in their hometown Dublin. I have always treasured their music in my heart since I was a teenager. Since the existence of the internet however and the fact that Patsy' site recently became the Dubliners' official
website more or less (where else can you find up-to-date news, info and
photographs?), I found such easy and quick access to so much information about The Dubliners, the history and culture of their beautiful and fascinating country, that my love for them turned into a passion.
Above the clouds on my way to Dublin, I discovered to my own surprise that I enjoyed flying tremendously. A day with such an exceptional number like 7-7-7 brought me nothing but luck. Vicar street is a perfect venue: very good sound, very cosy! The way most of the audience is seated, in small groups around a table with a drink, is something which I had never seen at a gig in Belgium. This surely is also part of a Dubliners Experience in Dublin. For the Irish, who fortunately, have the occasion to listen to music in their pubs every day, this may be very common, but for us foreigners, it is new and very pleasant.
On every table the audience found a beautiful postcard, especially made as a souvenir of the 7-7-7 gig. It shows a picture of the Dubliners, made at the December 06 gig in Vicar Street. On the backside Barney, John, Sean, Patsy and Eamonn thank the people who professionaly take care that their gigs at Vicar Street turn out the highly successful "'Dublin Experiences" everybody has come to love so much and also their great audience. This card surely is a collector's item for the real fans and I will always treasure it.
(Note: We will tell you a bit more about these postcards sometime during
We were sitting so closely to the stage that is was possible to make eye-contact with the Dubliners. It felt like participating in a gig for family and friends (that had also come from many European countries like Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium,
Italy, from the USA and even from Hawaii!)
I know that it was my own imagination, but one of my favourite songs, Sean's Gaelic Ballad, "Cill Chais" sounded even more touching than when I heard it in Belgium. Now that I've seen Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, I not only hear but also feel some of the atmosphere that John tried to capture in this number that he composed himself. Patsy was the great entertainer.
Throughout the concert, the
"natives" encouraged their idols with good-hearted shouting like
"Good man John" or "Alright Patsy!" or "Keep 'em
Dublin-related ballads like Dublin In The
Rare Auld Times got a special welcome - it is almost like, in celebrating
the songs and the band, the audience is celebrating itself. Many of them,
mind you, definitely could say that they have been around 45 years - and
still are around to celebrate the craic like you only can in Ireland.
Patsy mentioning Luke received special,
warm applause. The audience felt correctly that Patsy is not chumming up -
he is sincere about his friendship for Luke and he never becomes tired to
- literally - sing the praises of Luke Kelly.
John was calm and convincing through his
music - in one of the pics you see his hand blurred from the pure speed he
plays the mandolin- the camera couldn't follow him playing!
Eamonn was rocking. Seeing him perform
up-close was absolutely great.
Barney - well, Barney was Barney,
entertaining, amusing, telling his stories, singing, picking and generally
treated by the audience like a precious gem.
In Belgium we shout "'We want more", which, admitted, is not the most polite way to ask for a favor ;-)
In Vicar Street, I learnt that shouting Barney's name was the code-word for three encores.
With that little bit of wisedom, new to a fan from Belgium, I leave you
(In addition to the photographs here,
there are more in our 2007
Review by Ria Voet
Photographs by Ria Voet & Peter
Two of the pics display our reporter with Seán and Barney!