Vienna 2008 Revisited

The Dubliners in Vienna (Austria) 

Vienna 2009 Revisited 

From the visitor feedback last year we know that our previous Vienna 2008 Revisited was very much accepted - not only because the fans constantly crave for new material, but also because for many years, the first week in Vienna sets the pattern for the rest of the year. So we decided to look back at those past few days like we did a year ago...

After the utterly succesful gig at Vicar Street in July, launching the new program "A time to remember" to the world, the questions was as huge as simple: Can the Dubliners bring the new show on the road?

The original program was a unique combination of the their standard and trusted program, interwoven with multimedia elements: Pictures were used to emphasize the songs, many of them carefully selected to fit into the theme of a song or tune or the introductory notes, mostly spoken by John. Then there was audio to highlight unique performances of band members long gone, and even video clips by Luke and Ronnie, accompanied by the line up on stage, creating the illusion that those giants of folk were with us once again. And a fairly big list of guest stars, both selected to underline the Dubliners' undying appeal to the 21st century generation as well as to embrace friends and relatives of those not with us anymore. Vicar Street was a long show, literally, and the band faced various challenges coming to Austria:

There would be no guest stars like Jimmy Kelly or Phelim Drew which would alter the dramaturgy of the show significantly. There also would be no solid ground of homebased Irish audience which was an important aspect: As much as the continental fans love their Dubs, only someone who grew up with them, saw them around on the streets, met them casually in their favorite pubs where they were sitting, sipping and reading the paper (the Lowe Deck comes to mind) - only to someone like that the full message of the show would be comprehendable, especially on that emotional level that surpasses simple fandom knowledge.

The five days in Vienna gave the band the opportunity to finetune the program and to polish their act. It was also a test-flight for a different type of, in that case a smaller, stage and how the presentations would come out. Actually the front rows, usually benefifted with best sight, did realize that it wasn't so easy to see much of the slideshow as the band stood in front of it. But that, all considered and thought twice, was about the only drawback to be reported.

The slideshow, mostly carefully selected to match the music on stage, demanded a different kind of discipline; there was very little change in the musical program throughout the five days. That said, there is quite a good assortment of, if not new, but definitely rarely performed music, and, again, chosen to follow the times remembered on the screen.

The Fermoy Lassies warmed up the audience as it did since Donkey's years, usually followed with The Banks Of The Roses. At that point, Barney took the stage, taking everyone on a journey to the sea with Fiddler's Green or Three Score And Ten. Patsy brought us back to terra firma and to the very point of origin, Dublin, with The Ferryman. His short but descriptive remarks about the background of the song added nice to the theme of the evening, remembering those times when the original lineup prowled the city with song and music. You see the show definitely holds familiar moments. Yet there was good deal of more or less completely new performances to nowadays audiences as well: 

Luke's recitation of the only poem he ever wrote, For What Died The Sons Of Roisin, was the first every evening, but there also was Preab San Ol, an English/Gaelic a capella duet by Luke and Ciaran. The two songs on which the current lineup joined the old one with their song on the screen proved to be a huge success with the fans - when Luke sang Maids When You're Young Never Wed An Old Man and Ronnie appeared in an old video singing McAlpines Fusiliers. It is touching, it is fun and I can only recommend to watch John Sheahan as he brilliantly plays the fiddle perfectly in tune with his own younger self. Strictly on stage, there also was a good mix of old ones and new ones: Sean did Peggy Lettermore as well as Fainne Geal An Lae, the original Gaelic version of Raglan Road, of course having only the tune in common. Patsy did The Parting Glass occasionally and also re-introduced what was the high point of the evening for many fans, The Town I Loved So Well. Phil Coulter's Derry-tale was greeted with lots of enthusiasm everytime, and Patsy alternated it with Dublin In The Rare Auld Times. All of the evening was bound together by the beautifully crafted poems by John. There has to be a note added about Pat and Tom O'Brien, who take great care that the evening is enriched with video and photographs but never overloaded to become a senseless slideshow spectacle.

Winding up in our reflection of the first tour of the season, the main question of course has been answered by now and answered impressively:

Yes, The Dubliners bring their A Time To Remember show very succesfully on tour. It is a nicely-paced, well-themed and perfectly yet spontaneously executed great show. Thrilling from the very first to the very last minute, it proves once more why The Dubliners are the most popular folk act on the road. 

Article & photographs Rare Auld Times Entertainment & The Dubliners  
All photographs taken 4-8 September 2009 at the Metropol, Vienna.

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