- 22 Jun 19
After a fantastic show at the Independent Park in Cork on Thursday, George Ezra turned on the style again in Malahide Castle last night. But it looks like he might be out of football for a while!
The nice weather suits Malahide. Local residents have set up picnics outside the concert area, to have a wee taste of the George Ezra concert taking place tonight. There is a chilled, relaxed feeling about it all, which suggests that these gigs have gone down very well in the neighbourhood.
The nice weather suits George Ezra too. His voice conquered the airwaves last summer and his sophomore album, Staying At Tamara’s, was an even bigger success than his well-received debut, Wanted on Voyage. I can't help feeling that George's songs have become synonymous with sunshine.
Leeds duo KAWALA are on first, and sound delightful with their jangly guitars and upbeat percussion. The Vaccines are, as always, brilliant and stir up the audience even more in anticipation of the main man.
The crowd warms up during the interval with Oasis’s ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ blasting out from the speakers. Suddenly, a digital alarm clock appears on-screen and it strikes 7:00am. Ian Dempsey’s voice rings out, as George Ezra and his band make their way on-stage to mass applause.
The band break immediately into ‘Don’t Matter Now’, a fun, energetic song - it’s a perfect opener for a concert of this magnitude.
The bad news is that George injured his ankle last week and so he is propped on a stool for the occasion. He greets the audience cheerily and, demonstrating his impeccable stage presence, introduces his lovely band.
Before each song, George likes to delve into the stories behind them - many involving adventures during the course of his travels across Europe and the wider world. He explains that he went to Barcelona to write Staying At Tamara’s and ended up staying with the woman who gave her name to the title of the LP. The audience erupts in cheers at the album name-drop.
The concert is a narrative in itself. The stage is set to look like the room Ezra lodged in at Tamara’s place. A chandelier hangs over the band; the stage screen is a French window; and George’s stool sits on top a rug. There’s a gramophone onstage, and it starts the notes of ‘Do You Hear The Rain?’ before the band picks up the thread and takes over.
Ezra’s creativity is apparent everywhere. The camera angles on-screen are experimental, like an indie-film, with grey-scale filters and rapid, close-in shots from behind.
“I’d like to share a story,” George begins again.
His narrative style is enthralling, making the show feel intimate, the size and scale of the venue notwithstanding. He keeps every audience member hooked, recounting his drive along the west coast of America – where everyone was enjoying themselves until George suddenly got sick. It was when he was sitting on the bus feeling sorry for himself that he penned... ‘Paradise’. The opening notes send the audience into an absolute frenzy!
Near the end of the concert, Ezra and his band do a fabulous cover of ‘Don’t Think Twice’ by Bob Dylan. No doubt the Nobel Prize winner would approve.
Next, George recounts how he ended up in Sweden during his inter-railing days, tried to impress three Swedish girls by going to a Eurovision viewing party (which he's embarrassed to admit he has never seen before...) and got too drunk on a bottle of rum - he playfully chastises the audience for cheering at this!.
George confesses that his drunken state caused him to miss his train to... Budapest! At the mention of the Hungarian city, there’s a huge commotion and his ear-worm single begins.
‘Cassie O’ is the closing song of the set, ensuring that Ezra and co. go out with a bang. It’s not over yet, however, as they make their way back on-stage for the encore.
“I’d like to give the biggest thank you,” says George. “It’s amazing to see so many people… you’re looking good, Dublin!”
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. He ends the concert on a high with the universally-celebrated single, ‘Shotgun’. He pits the Dublin crowd against the Cork crowd the previous night, encouraging the Malahide gathering to beat Cork in their levels of enthusiasm.
Confetti explodes into the air and George and his band make their way to the centre of the stage and bow. The grin on his face reaches his eyes as George bids everyone good-bye for the last time tonight.
Even with a sprained ankle, George Ezra proves to be an excellent showman and storyteller. It was a very fine way indeed to spend the evening of the longest day.