Everything went according to plan and I got to see three excellent gigs by Brendan Perry. I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk to Brendan in Cork and Galway, which was an unexpected bonus.
Unfortunately, the gigs were quite poorly attended. The Dublin gig was even moved from the 1300 capacity Tripod to the poky, 300 capacity Crawdaddy, which tells you all you need to know. Apparently, the gig hadn’t been well promoted and posters advertising it had gone up around the city only the week before. What a shame.
Nevertheless, the band were in fine form during their three night stint in Ireland on this, stage two of the 2010 tour to promote Brendan’s new album, Ark. I finally got to purchase a copy of the signed tour edition, which had been delayed because of production problems and wasn’t yet on sale when I first saw Brendan on this tour in Brussels, back in March. The album gets its full retail release on 7th June.
The set that the band played was almost identical to that on stage one of the tour, with the addition of a new song, Tree Of Life.
Severance, reserved for a second encore, wasn’t played in Cork, simply because the audience failed to clap, cheer and stomp for more. The same had happened in Dublin, but there the band came back and played it, anyway. By the time the band reached Galway, Brendan was wise to Irish audience behaviour and tacked Severance onto the end of the first encore. He obviously wanted to play it.
After the gig in Dublin, I ran into Niall Gregory and Simeon Smith in the bar. Niall and Simeon had been part of the live band that Brendan had put together for the 2005 Dead Can Dance reunion tour and I had got to know them in the course of attending gigs in England and the US. It was fun to see them again.
The venue in Cork was the Pavilion, a really nice place with excellent sound and right in the centre of town. The place wasn’t even half-full, maybe 150 people, with most of the punters sitting at tables, sipping drinks. They were appreciative, though, and applauded politely after each song. That said, they failed to make much noise after the first encore, so there was no second. As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get, and they definitely didn’t ask.
Visiting Cork gave me an excuse to stay at the Garnish House B & B again, whose home-cooked breakfasts are justifiably the stuff of legend. The porridge with Bailey’s Irish Cream has to be experienced.
The next day, I went to Galway, by far the most charming town of the three. The gig was at the Róisín Dubh on the west side of town. It’s an Irish pub with a room at the back on the canal side, where bands play. Whilst I wouldn’t normally expect to see Brendan perform in a pub, this was a nice place and the informal atmosphere set the mood for a relaxed gig.
Again, there weren’t many paying punters on the night and some of them, particularly the contingent of scantily-clad Polish girls, looked as if they’d come to the wrong gig. People even started to dance.
It was a terrific gig, though; arguably the best of the three. The sound was excellent, the audience were enthusiastic and the band were relaxed, playing a full set.
I left the backstage area at 01:30, but seeing as I hadn’t booked accommodation and was still feeling fresh, I drove back through the pouring rain to my father’s house in Greystones, south of Dublin, arriving there at 04:30. I was absolutely knackered by the time I arrived and the first hint of dawn had tinged the night sky with a deep blue hue, but at least I’d have the whole of Saturday to spend with the family; once I’d woken up, that is.
So, the trip was a huge success. I got to kill two birds with one stone and it wasn’t all that expensive, all things considered. Flights to Ireland are cheap, I needed only one night of paid accommodation and care hire is also cheap.
It was also good to spend a few days on my own, collect my thoughts and consider my life thus far. No such luxury for Sarah, of course, who had the indefatigable trolls to contend with.