A Scots Blend 2011

A Scots Blend 2011 

Note: Our review is about the Aberdeen gig. The photographs enclosed are from Aberdeen (dated photos, 19 February 2011) and Glasgow (undated photos, 18 February 2011).

Before we head into the Aberdeen review, we take a quick look at other reports from the Scotland gigs. Before the small tour opened in Glasgow, Susan Welsh of the Press And Journal wrote a detailed preview she opened with these words: "A night out at a Dubliners concert is unlike any other. That’s because they’ve been around so long that when they come to your town or city, it’s a bit like having dear old friends – albeit ones always willing to let their hair down and party – swing by for a visit."
Read more, including a bit of an interview with John, here
Rob Adams of The Herald did a short piece about the Glasgow gig in the 21 February edition which has caused a bit of discussion among fans as they  did not agree with him - find out here. Russell Allan, who contributed the Glasgow photographs in this report, noted: "They finished off with Fields Of Athenry which got the place rocking and, most encouragingly, said they hoped to be back in Glasgow next year - can't wait!" 
On 25 February, The Pertshire Advertiser offered a review of the 20 February gig at the Concert Hall in Perth by Gordon Bannerman; start and end of his piece read like this: "A pumped-up Perth audience had a “Rare Oul Time” of it when The Dubliners came to town. [...] An early mention of “Three-Zero” warranted an early cheer and by popular demand the customary encore “Molly Malone” was canned for a crowd-pleasing “Fields of Athenry.” I’m told there had been a football match earlier in the day." For the full article, follow this link please.

The Dubliners at Aberdeen Music Hall 19-2-2011

Finally after 44 years and many moons of "counting sleeps" the day arrived and I was FINALLY off to fulfil a lifelong ambition to see the Dubliners perform live! With my temporary shamrock tattoo on my wrist and armed with my tricolour - I set off with my sister Ann, my son Tom and my daughters Rebekah and Eve - too excited for words... My sister is 21 years older than me and has difficulty walking, so we arrived an hour early and I dropped her off with the girls at Music Hall side door while Tom and I went off to park the car. As Tom and I entered the empty hall, the Dubs had just finished doing the "soundcheck" and Eve was soooo excited - "I saw Barney, Mummy!!"

A quick trip to the foyer and Eve, my sister and I became the owners of Dubliners teeshirts and a tin whistle (which will disappear in the next day or two if Eve continues playing it at every available opportunity...!)

Gradually the Music Hall started to fill and before I knew it "my Dubs" walked on to the stage, the wonderful sound of "Fermoy Lasses and Sporting Paddy" filled the hall and I knew the party had begun..Knowing how "stiff" and reserved Aberdeen audiences can be, I had gone with the intention of thoroughly enjoying myself even if I was the only one clapping, stamping and loudly uttering "hooch" at the appropriate times..determined that the lads would get the welcome they deserved! Up the Dubs!

Sadly the legend that is Eamonn was not on the stage. I was disappointed - but Eamonn was replaced by Michael Howard - a great guitarist and the show could go on. 

Song followed song : "Banks of the Roses" from Seán and "Rare Ould Times" from Patsy followed by a selection of reels. The beautiful Barney then delighted everyone by singing the Scottish drinking song "I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day" and the love in the room for this man was felt all around. The sound of his infectious "giggle" will live with me for a long time to come.

Seán followed with a beautiful version of "The Dawning of the Day" sung in Gaeilge and Patsy made me weep when I heard him describe Luke Kelly as "the greatest folk singer ever"....this we already knew - but to hear it said at the gig was very touching. In tribute to Luke, Patsy sang "The Nightingale" and to my delight (and Jill Stevens will know how delighted I was!) the wonderful "Paddy on the Railway". John then read his poem written for Luke's 21st anniversary "Luke's Gravestone"........beautiful words. 
"The Black Velvet Band" and more reels followed then John Sheahan and Michael Howard played a great rendition of "Planxty Irwin". After the lads sung "The Auld Triangle" - with wonderful harmonies - we were reliably informed by Barney that the kettle was on and we had arrived at the interval!

The second half started with "When the Boys Come Rolling Home" - I always think Seán Cannon owns this song and it was grand! To my great joy "Romeo" McKenna then treated us to "I Wish I Had Someone to Love Me" and someone in the now relaxed audience shouted out "I love ye Barney!" Still floating on air from Barney having dedicated this song to me when he sang it at the "Flowing Tide" in Dublin - the tears were flowing (again!) and when I looked at Eve - the tears were pouring down her cheeks too! "Oh Mum - I love Barney - he's so cute - I just want to cuddle him...."

John and Michael then played a South American piece called "The Sound of Bells" which I hadn't heard before - very different but great. Patsy then paid tribute to the great Ronnie Drew and sung "Finnegan's Wake" and the inevitable "Seven Drunken Nights". John recited the poem he wrote when Ronnie passed - "Ronnie's Heaven" and brought gales of laughter from the audience when he growled "What is life? What is art?...and where the fuck is Barney?" 

John then treated us to his own composition "St Patrick's Cathedral" followed by the set of reels "Cooley's, Dawn and Mullingar Races" then the songs came thick and fast.."Dirty Old Town"; All for Me Grog" - in tribute to the gorgeous Ciarán Bourke; "Spanish Lady" and to finish (or so the lads thought.) the legendary "Whiskey In The Jar". A standing ovation (and I'd think so too!) brought them back onstage and they played "The Fields of Athenry" followed by 
"The Wild Rover" - then it was all over and I had had the best night of my life!

Seeing the Dubliners live was a dream come true for me - having loved the band since I first saw then on b/w television when I was 6 years old. I would have loved to have seen Luke, Ronnie and Ciarán perform with John and Barney in the oul' days but without a doubt - they are there in spirit each and every time the lads take the stage and the love can be felt all around.
44 years later - I am content - I have fulfilled my ambition....Newcastle 10 March 2011 - bring it on!

Article by Susan Watt 
Photographs by Susan Watt (Aberdeen) & Russel Allan (Glasgow)
Please note that taking pictures in the UK is a major task as it is not welcomed so these pictures above are the best our photographers could supply under the corcumstances. 
We also like to thank the Enid and Carsten Raable for supplying the links to the various newspaper articles mentioned


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