Assessing a gig experience is difficult, because it can be subject to all sorts of external factors, which are all about you and not the band; context is everything.
In this context, the pre-cursors were not too great. The world is going to hell in sharp order in a hand-basket and my own health is not too good,thus traveling down the big city for a gig was perhaps not ideal.
Whelans is a small venue,but it has a lot of musical history and it has an atmosphere and it is in a city filled with history and music and the love of telling stories.
Met up with Michael (pronounced the Irish way (Mee-hawl) and Bob, veterans of the venue,just here to see some fresh talent; old stagers like myself. After a pleasing performance from the support act, Old Hannah, Brian came on-stage to tune-up his guitars with the other sound-check guys.
They all came on at 9.30 with a blistering performance of 'And then came the morning.' which really livened up an already rowdy crowd, followed with Fresh Roses and Marietta - I thought that they were just going to do the whole album in live reproduction,but they mixed in some tracks from their first album, before ending the first third with a rousing 'Georgia Will' with Brian cheerleading the crowd and getting us all to sing - that did not take much encouragement.
Bob - who had dissed the merchandising stall - had bought the cd after the third song.
They then left the stage to do an acoustic version of the stunningly beautiful ''Two sides of lonely', which surprisingly for Dublin, required the crowd to fall quiet - even more surprising was that they did! This is Dublin, after all.' You could hear a pin-drop as they harmonised tin the song, performed as I said,out there in amongst us. Wonderful.
They rejoined the rest of the band on stage for a pleasing mix of the two albums; my only personal disappointment was that they could not find a space for 'Telluride.' which reminds me of Springsteen at his most poetic. But they came back with 'Carry Me Away' with the crowd helping out on the chorus - we're good like that! Then they joined us in the middle again and Kanene sang Paul Simon's 'Slip-Sliding Away', good grief what a voice she has, I found my cheeks wet with emotion and we all helped her out with the chorus and despite it being 11.05 and we were well lubricated,surprisingly we held the tune with Kanene. 200 strangers chrorusing in tune without rehearsal was just one of those experiences that you cannot describe, it was so beautiful. And it wasn't just me in tears, Michael and many others around me were wiping their eyes.
I am way of slipping into hyperbole. But I have 30 years of gig-going behind me and I cannot think of another night that I have enjoyed more than that night with TLB. I think they are special. I really hope they recognise how special they are and they keep it together, because Bob and Michael both said they will be massive. They deserve to be.
It will inevitably mean, that you won't see them again in such a cosy, intimate venue, which will be a loss, but they are ready now for the main stage at the big festivals, stadiums and other big venues..
I know now, that if you can get to a TLB gig, then you should really strive to do so. A special special night. I love the band.
We always love hearing from other fans, and recently John James left a wonderfully detailed comment/recap on a previous post after seeing The Lone Bellow perform at Whelan's in Dublin last week. We wanted to share it more prominently on our site.
Thank you, John James, for this wonderful recap.
Who We Are
We are Abra and Bobbie, two friends living in Boston who go to a lot of concerts together. We saw The Lone Bellow, having never heard of them, and could not believe our good fortune in discovering such talent. We now try to go by the "Four-Hour-Rule", meaning if we can get to a show within four hours, we will be there, hopefully right up front.