Nick Morgan and crew
Review by Nick Morgan
CHRISTY MOORE AND DECLAN SINNOTT
Hammersmith Apollo, London, October 27th, 2007
surreal. We step out of the restaurant
towards the car and there hurtling along the pavement,
like a cross between the Batman’s Penguin
and Alice’s White Rabbit, is Jozzer.
stop. Theatre. Tickets. Late” he pants as
he disappears into the gathering darkness of the
West London evening. He’s way off his patch.
Well out of the safety of his Rotherhithe manor.
Not like Christy
Moore then. The big man’s come
home to the Hammersmith Apollo for two nights with
Sinnott, and for two and a half hours
or so on each night this little piece of London
has been transported across the water to Ireland.
the second night – a boisterous beery Saturday
night crowd. We’re in the second row of the
stalls (the receipt tells me I booked the tickets
eleven months ago). Actually because of the way
the seats have been installed it’s like being
in Club Class – but the poor sods behind us
(who were also here last night as it turns out)
are in danger of losing their knees every time I
sit back. Somehow – largely I’ve no
doubt because of the quality of the evening –
we all manage this in very good humour from start
to finish. It’s very close, just off centre,
with Moore to our left when he takes the stage,
Sinnott, with a cluster of guitars, to our far left.
In front of Moore there’s a large print songbook
– not lyrics as far as I can see, just song
titles. And it becomes clear there’s no set
list as such. Moore either simply starts a song,
leaving Sinnott to clutch for the right guitar,
or calls a tune before breaking into it –
“Are you right there Deccy?”
call him an intense performer would be a mastery
as taught as a coil. Lost in that performance space
that singers talk of. It’s a tough place to
be because the folks are here for the craic. “Come
on Christy”. “You’re the man Christy”.
“Christy I love you”. Most of it good
humoured – but from where we are you can see
the muscles in that big neck tightening with anger.
Then he loses it – he makes two attempts to
sing Richard Thompson’s ‘Beeswing’
but both times is stopped by the timeless clapping.
right, good luck to you” he mutters as he
breaks into Jim Page’s ‘Hiroshima Nagasaki
Russian Roulette’ as jaunty a take on nuclear
war as you can get. Then he relents “Ok, I’m
sorry for being such a bad tempered gobshite, and
I know you’ve paid to be here and have a good
time. But some songs are for clapping and some aren’t.
And this one isn’t. So keep your hands in
your pockets, and yours [looking up the balcony
hecklers] in your mouth”. Silence. ‘Beeswing’.
a long and crowded set, full of anger, grief, death,
oppression, injustice, love and lost innocence.
And that’s just in the first song –
‘Yellow furze woman’, which is followed
by ‘North and South of the river’, Ewan
McColl’s ‘Sweet Thames flow softly’,
‘Biko drum’, ’Does this train
stop on Merseyside?’ (an uber-depressing journey
through the North of England which even manages
to include the Hillsborough
Disaster), Mike Waterson’s ‘Van
Dieman’s Land’ (transportation to Australia),
‘Missing you’ (the fate of the Irish
Diaspora in London), ‘Yellow triangle’
(which I’m sure speaks for itself), ‘Viva
La Quinta Brigada’ (with one of many huge
side swipes at the Irish Catholic Church) and ‘Ride
on’ (phew – a love song). That’s
page one of my notebook – there a three-and-a-half
others that I’ll not trouble you with. The
simple point is that Moore, with his wonderfully
lyrical voice and Sinnott’s delicate and perfectly
textured accompaniments, really put you through
the emotional wringer in the name of entertainment.
But the audience simply love it. “You’re
the boy Christy, you’re the boy”. And
suitably chastised they even turn in a few good
turns as a choir towards the end when Moore is relaxed,
and gives in to the tumult with crowd-pleasing songs
like ‘Don’t forget your shovel’,
‘Lisdoonvarna’, and the self-penned
‘Delirium tremens’, and the very beautiful
ballad “Cliffs of Dooneen’ – of
which Moore says “I seldom sing [this] now,
only when conditions are perfect. Its a temperamental
song and cannot be done at will”. Well, obviously
tonight was just perfect. And it says something
about the man that, returning for an encore, he
plays the intensely intimate ‘Black is the
colour’ and Jackson Browne’s moving
‘Before the deluge’, holding the audience
as if he had us all in eye contact in the back room
of a tiny pub.
you noticed, by the way, that in the space of a
week we have seen Jim White, Richard Thompson, John
Hiatt, Nick Lowe and now the masterful Christy Moore?
Pinch me. Wake me up. Have I fallen from my super-executive
club-class seat on a plane and landed in a musical
Nick Morgan (concert photographs by Kate)
the index of all reviews:
Nick's Concert Reviews
There's nothing more down there...