Sunday, 30 June 2013

A Night For Christy and Dublin

I felt like kissing the ground when we got off the plane in Dublin, it had been 14 months since we'd been here, the longest time I've gone without visiting since I first started going there in 1989 (yikes!!) It was great to be back, like coming home.

Debbi and I stopped off at the Avoca Cafe in Suffolk Street on our way to the hotel and had some welcome tea and I had a gorgeous mixed berry scone, which I can honestly say is the nicest scone I've ever had, the biggest too! We passed by The Olympia Theatre and popped into the box office to pick up our tickets for the A Night for Christy benefit concert for Christy Dignam singer with Aslan who is fighting cancer, that evening. The fellow in the office said the upper circle - the gods - was unreserved seating and we would need to be there early to queue to get the best seats.

We got to The Clarence Hotel at 11am and luckily our room was available. It was a large twin room with a a small seating and office area that over-looked the Liffey.  We had lunch in The Study which was being used as a temporary restaurant as The Tea Room is now closed and being stripped out to be re-opened as Cleaver East next month.  The food was good, but not to the standard of The Tea Room, they were cooking it in the function room on the first floor!

We did some shopping for wine and nibbles and then got ready for the gig. The Olympia Theatre was less than five minutes walk from the hotel. We passed a load of youngsters excitedly waiting at the stage door - probably for Jedward, yes, we were going to have the joy of Jedward this evening, never thought I'd see the day lol! We went past the theatre and down a small lane and waited at the entrance for the upper circle, there were two other women ahead of us in the queue, we were three and four.

The doors were opened a little before 7pm and we climbed flight after flight after flight of red carpeted stairs until we breathlessly reached upper circle. We got seats right at the centre front of the circle. We certainly were certainly close to the gods, it was very steep and I could almost touch one of the three huge glass chandeliers that hung from the ceiling that was painted red and decorated with white stucco. The Olympia was know as'The Star of Erin' music hall when it opened in 1879 and was then renamed Dan Lowerys Music Hall in 1881. It was finally given the name of The Olympia Theatre in 1923. It. is a wonderful old Victorian theatre, red velvety seats, brass rails, main colours red, white and gold, boxes to each side, you can feel it's history, it's ingrained in the walls.

Deb and I have only seen Aslan play live once in Vicar Street quite a few years ago, unfortunately our visits to Dublin have since not coincided with them playing. It was an amazing raucous show, and Christy performed like I've never seen anyone perform before, we just couldn't take our eyes of him, he was mesmerising.

Ryan Sheridan
While we were waiting they screened a new documentary called Please Don't Stop about Aslan's 30 year career, made last year before Christy was diagnosed with cancer.

The show proper started around 8.30pm,  compered  by none other than Guggi, who did a really good job. It consisted of various artists performing mainly Aslan songs with the other four members of the group. There was a myriad of Irish artists, new and old, some of the younger ones I didn't know.  Others such as Tom Dunne (Something Happens),The Horslips, Steve Wall (The Stunning) brought back many memories of my early days visiting Dublin and the fantastic bands around then that showed so much promise, most fizzled away, U2 were already megastars, Aslan never hit those heights, but not because of any lack of talent, but after 30 years they are still delighting audiences.
Gavin Friday

Gavin Friday performed a very theatrical version of Bowie's Five Years. Jedward, hair kind of coiled on top of their heads lol, did a muted performance - for them, no cartwheels across the stage. With their relatively normal looking hair I noticed for the first time that they are good looking young men. They got a massive reception from the young girls!

I had never heard of Ryan Sheridan, but his performance really impressed me. He reminded me a bit of Bono in his performance and how he engaged the crowd, he certainly has stage presence, plus a good voice.

U2 performed This Is via video link from New York. It was a powerful version of a fabulous song, they really did the song justice. There had been rumours that Bono was going to appear in person but he didn't.

All the bands came on stage to perform This Time with Christy's daughter Keira. Finally for Aslan's most famous song, Crazy World, Christy himself came on stage, the whole place erupted, there was such a out-pouring of love towards him that it was incredibly moving. He looked frail and thin, but was buoyed up by the crowd. I noticed Keira wiping away tears as she stood behind her father and at times she had to help him out with the singing. I think it was very hard for him to perform but I'm sure the love he received from the crowd gave him a boost.  For around five minutes after he left the stage the crowd kept singing.

I thought that I'd be really disappointed if Bono didn't perform in person, but when it came to it I realised it didn't matter at all. This evening, this gig was for Christy and that's what it was all about and it was a brilliant gig. Let's hope one day when he is better we will be able to see him perform live once more.

Christy Performing Crazy World

Set List  -  First Half
Paul Walsh – Gotta Make It
Riptide Movement – Lucy Jones pt1
Gavin James – Chains
Jedward – She’s So Beautiful
Steve Wall – Pretty Thing
Danny O’Reilly – Hurt Sometimes
Original Rudeboys – Lucy Jones pt2
Bressie – Angie
Jerry Fish – Rock’n’Roll Suicide
Ryan Sheridan - Wish You Were Here
Gavin Friday – Five Years
Adrian Kennedy
Dublin Gospel – Down on Me

Second Half6
Horslips – Different Man
Damien Dempsey – Bullets and Diamonds (From a Studio in London)
Paul Brady - We Did
Mary Black & Don Mescall - Too Late for Hallelujah
Mark Feehily – Where’s the Sun
Kiera Dignam - Catch Your Fall
Tony Fenton (speaking)
Tom Dunne – Rainman
U2 – This Is (Live from Electric Lady Studios NY)
Kiera Dignam with all other acts –This Time
Aslan - Crazy World
After the show we went back to the hotel and had a drink in the bar, Gavin Friday came in with a few friends. There was a group of loud drunk men near us some of who ended up getting chucked out of the hotel!

We went to our room ordered room service meals, opened a bottle of wine and chatted until it was light outside! I love holidays!

June 22nd. Needless to say we had a long lie in.  We had breakfast served in our room (they serve it until 11am, very civilised in my opinion LOL!) We saw a guy sitting in the middle of the busy road outside the hotel shouting "Do me a favour!" to a group of lads who were in the car he sat in front of. Think he knew them as he just picked on their car, he eventually got up unscathed.

We had a really lazy day, wandered down to the bar for a drink or too and had our dinner in The Study. There was a tableful of very loud, very drunk men there (drunks seemed to be following us on this trip!) They really got on our nerves and spoiled the atmosphere a bit. Had a few drinks in the bar before heading back to our room.

It was a very short trip, but lovely to be back once more. Roll on October when we will be back for a whole week!


  1. Sounds like a great time. I used to take so many trips like these with my mates. Time has marched on and we don't do it so much anymore -- but your wonderful post made me feel as if I were there doing it all over again. Cheers.
    - Patty Culliton

  2. Thanks Patty! It's a short hop over to Dublin for us luckily :)