Sunday, 24 March 2013

THE DUBLIN LEGENDS

Live Review

Town Hall, Birmingham

The Dublin Legends, made up of the members of the legendary Dubliners who decided they weren’t ready to call it a day, kicked off the St Patrick’s Day weekend celebrations in the Second City. 

Sean Cannon, Patsy Watchorn, Eamonn Campbell and newest recruit Gerry O’Connor are carrying on the mantel of the folk group after the death of the last founder member “Banjo” Barney McKenna last year and the self-imposed retirement of John Sheahan.
While the songs may be familiar there was a visibly new energy about the group and even Eamonn was looking in good form considering he had recently undergone serious surgery on his lungs.
Patsy kicked off proceedings with The Ferryman a song lamenting the loss of the ferry trades along the Liffey then moved into old favourite Dicey Riley.
The newest recruit O’Connor, who in the past has played with The Dubliners many times, showed why he was the right choice to take on the unenviable task of filling in for Barney and John on banjo and fiddle respectively.
Cannon drew the audience in on the act with familiar anthems Rare Ol’ Mountain Dew and one of the firm favourites Black Velvet Band.
There was a medley which included the wonderful Belfast Hornpipe with Gerry on banjo showing his precise and clear picking. 
This was followed by a Phil Coulter rendition A Town I Love So Well with Patsy on vocals, Gerry providing harmony on fiddle and accentuated by some gorgeous guitar picking by Eamonn.
The audience were determined to be the extra member of the band getting in on the act with favourites All For Me Grog, Kelly the boy from Killane and Courtin’ in the Kitchen with Sean looking extremely spritely for a 73-year-old as he pranced about the stage.
Without a doubt one of the highlights was Gerry’s own composition, a beautiful and evocative fiddle piece Song for PJ, inspired by his father-in-law’s life. 
The Dubliners may be no more but the legacy of the band is more than alive in this Legends line up.