- 20 Dec 13
Last Tuesday’s second Vicar St. show marked the end of an 18-month round the world jaunt for Glen Hansard and his talented musical entourage.
Ok, it was still November (and a little early to use the “C” word), but it’ll be December when you’re reading this, so without hesitation I cay say that there was a real Christmas buzz about the place. After all, Mr. Hansard carrying-on in Dublin has become a bit of a Yuletide institution over the years.
In front of a near capacity crowd, Hansard kicked-off with ‘Fitzcarraldo’. And it proved a real tour de force, with both the brass and string sections already at full pelt for the first of many Frames hits. A bluesy ‘Low Rising’ and a rather camp cover of Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’ followed, with Hansard in hip-shaking form while the brass trio huddled around a microphone and blasted out some dodgy falsettos in the name of fun.
Hansard’s latest release, Rhythm And Repose, and his work with The Swell Season were also well represented throughout the Springsteenesque three-hour show. One of many high-points came early on as Glen passionately delivered ‘When Your Mind’s Made Up’. He played like a man possessed: frantic and ferocious, and thoroughly captivating.
The night wasn’t without its’ tender moments either: ‘Bird Of Sorrow’ – arguably Hansard’s best lyrical work – built beautifully to an emotionally charged crescendo, while ‘Song Of Good Hope’ and an acoustic rendition of ‘Gold’ had couples exchanging glares and sharing kisses.
We got a few new tracks too: the excellent ‘Lonely Deserter’ and the less immediate ‘Lark In The Morning’. The latter required some audience participation, but ended up being more like a responsorial psalm at Mass than a group sing-along.
‘Falling Slowly’, ‘Revelate’ and ‘The Stars Are Underground’ all went down a treat with the boisterous crowd – who traded jokes with the jovial Hansard throughout – before the organised chaos made way for complete madness.
I’m not sure if the word encore applies here. Hansard didn’t even leave the stage. He simply ripped off his waistcoat, wiped his brow, grabbed another guitar, and welcomed Mark Geary to join him for ‘Christmas Biscuits’, their charity single for the St. Vincent De Paul. Paddy Casey soon followed, Bronagh Gallagher shortly after that. Their duet, on Van Morrison’s ‘When The Healing Has Begun’, was faultless, with the chemistry between two old friends clearly palpable. Marvin Gaye’s ‘Please Don’t You Break My Heart’, ‘Mustang Sally’ (with Gallagher of course) and Mic Christopher’s ‘Heyday’ finished the night off in rousing fashion.
Was an hour-long encore stretching it a bit? Yes. Did it feel a little self-indulgent at times? It sure did! Did anybody care? Not one person! Brilliant.