Town Hall, Birmingham (2010)
Other than sitting in a pub on O’Connell Street, Dublin then the next best way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day would be in the company of Irish folk legends The Dubliners.
Though all well into their 60s the band’s passion for their music is not diminished and they kept the packed Town Hall audience enthralled for best part of three hours using a mixture of familiar tunes, video and poetry together with their own brand of Irish wit and observations.
The night opened with familiar tunes such as The Banks Of The Roses, The Ferryman and the audience were soon clapping and stamping to the reels The Belfast Hornpipe and The Swallow’s Tail.
A Time To Remember, the title of their latest album, lived up to its name recalling the members of the band who have died Luke Kelly, who had strong connections with Birmingham – some of his relatives who still live there were at the concert; Ciaran Bourke and most recently one of the founder members Ronnie Drew.
Playing along to old footage of their dead colleagues John Shehan on fiddle and penny whistle, Barney McKenna on banjo and melodeon, Sean Cannon on guitar, Eamonn Campbell on lead guitar and Patsy Watchorn on banjo and bodhran showed the versatility and talent which has made them one of the greatest names in Irish folk.
The appreciative crowd lapped up old favourites such as Maids When You’re Young, Kelly The Boy From Killane, The Auld Triangle, Finnegan’s Wake, Whiskey In The Jar and The Wild Rover.
Brought back on for two encores, with poor old Barney never really getting chance to leave the stage properly anyway, The Dubliners showed they are prepared to defy time, and in the words of Mr McKenna - when asked should they call it a day he replied “It’s too late to stop now.” Let’s hope it always is.