Posted: 27 Oct 2015
premieres of the latest James Bond film may have distracted some, but for
others, the return of the Men In Black to the Sage was Monday night's real feature
Celebrating almost 50 years of live performance, Christy Moore made a typically
low-key entrance, flanked by guitarist Declan Sinnott and percussionist Jimmy
Dark clothing and an unadorned stage underline that nothing should detract from
what follows and any hint of rhetoric or invective remained firmly in the lyrics
sung or spoken.
It's a mistake to label Moore as purely an Irish folk singer however, with a
varied selection of original and borrowed material emerging over the next hour
and fifty minutes.
Pausing only to reveal his devotion to the green and white of Blyth Spartans – and
name-check local folk stalwarts the High Level Ranters – the man from Dun
Laoghaire kicked off with Jackson
Browne's "How Long".
He'd later look again to America for inspiration: Bob Dylan's "Lonesome
Death of Hattie Carroll" joined by Irish emigre anthem, "The City of
Chicago" (written by Moore's brother).
Set rotation saw over a third of the 27 song set differ from the previous date
on this tour, with the inclusion of a customised "Fairytale of New
York" well received alongside live stalwarts "Missing You",
"Ride On" and "Ordinary Man".
Preceding a flawless version of Richard Thompson's classic
"Beeswing", an uplifting rendition of "Viva La Quinta Brigada"
was respectfully dedicated meanwhile to four Tynesiders who gave their lives
during the Spanish Civil War.
Long-time associate Sinnott sang his own "I want to sleep out on the
beach", before a suite of songs from – and concerning – the Emerald Isle
saw Christy vary the mood between sombre ("Well Below The Valley")
and jocular (Joxter goes to Stuttgart", "Lisdoonvarna")
Better still was his unaccompanied reading of "Spansell Hill";
seemingly causing a collective holding of breath until the last syllable -
tonight's grand auditorium fleetingly shrunk to a back room folk club by the
intimacy of his delivery.
encore comprised of two songs swimming in maritime imagery: "John
O'Dreams" and "Voyage", nicely rounding off an uplifting night
in the company of an old friend.