The Dubliners in Antwerp (Belgium)
7 October 2007
From the Belgian point of view, The Dubliners’ gig in the Koningin Elisabethzaal in Antwerp, was the last of three in 2007. We were spoiled this year. The Dubliners usually come once a year to our small country, alternating between Brussels and Antwerp. In May we enjoyed their gig at the Ten Vrede-festival in Diksmuide, in July at the Turnhoutse Vrijdagen. Both venues were open air, so it was a nice change to be sitting in the comfortable red velvet seats of one of the best venues in Belgium, with almost perfect acoustic qualities.
It was the evening of a warm Sunday in autumn and we were sure that we were going to have a splendid night in The Dubliners’ company! True fans know they always have “The Dubliners’ guaranty”. With a group of twelve friends, we had been among the first to book our tickets, and we had the best seats we had ever had in this huge venue (more than 2000 seats). As soon as The Dubliners came on stage, they were welcomed by a spontaneous and warm applause and in no time they had the public clapping, singing and laughing!
Since I have visited Dublin last summer, I have a growing interest in the history behind their songs, so I was intrigued by all the extra information they gave. Now that I can see images with lots of the songs, I enjoyed them even more, especially Patsy’s “The Ferryman”, about the unemployed ferrymen on the Liffey. Sean surprised us with a “new” traditional song: “The Rose of Allendale”, perfectly suited for his sensitive, beautiful voice.
Then way Barney introduced his “unusual lullaby for little children, teenagers, middle agers, and seniors citizens” and the way he sung “I wish I had someone to love me”, created an athmosphere of intimacy everybody in the audience can identify with and spontaneously they sung soflty with him. The sailing port of Antwerp inspired Barney for his introduction to his second song, South Australia. Barney closed his eyes and described a boat trip the way only a real boatsman can. He surely felt as if he was really on his boat again.
Throughout the whole gig, there was a lot of laughing and interaction between them and it was clear to the audience that th Dubliners were having a very good time themselves. Eamonn regularly joined Patsy in encouraging the audience to sing.
“The hens marched to the midden” a very amusing fiddle tune from the Shetland Islands, as John explained, intrigued everybody . We were all laughing aloud every time the violin imitated the hens’ cackle and even more so when Eamonn slightly bent his knees to imitate the hens marching.
At the end of this wonderful gig, The Dubliners were given a standing ovation as a sign of respect and appreciation for their concert. The second time the public rose, was to sing with them, the last encore “Molly Malone”. Barney took off his cap and the first to rise in the audience were of course the fans who are familiar enough with Irish culture to know that “Molly Malone” has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin City. Every time again, this final song is an emotional Dubliners’ experience. Welcome back in Belgium in 2008!!
See more Antwerp pictures in our 2007
gallery as well as the Meeting
the fans gallery!
Review and photographs by Ria Voet,