Sunday, 27 October 2019

MUSIC REVIEW: Christy Moore - The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.


Storyteller, troubadour, social commentator, politico, folk god & living legend (as well as ‘Ireland's greatest living musician’, according to RTÉ's People Of The Year Awards), Christy Moore brought his powerhouse game to Liverpool’s Philharmonic, making the space intimate; the cavernous hall could’ve been your local pub or your nan’s parlour.

For four decades Moore’s songs have exerted an emotional pull, with tender and passionate tales of the underdog, the lovelorn, the rebel, the oppressed, and with narratives ranging from quietly reflective to whimsical to raging, spitting fury. Songs come tumbling out of the man and with 45 albums to his name, it was anyone’s guess what he’d choose for this barnstorming two hour, no interval set. We got most of the favourites - the passionate 'Viva La Quinta Brigada', listing the Irishmen who went to Spain to fight against Franco, the whimsical stream-of consciousness, ever-updating 'Lisdoonvarna' and the always prescient 'Ordinary Man' – originally about the decline of the manufacturing industry but now a protest song for everyone who has ever been thrown onto the work scrap heap. 'Ride On' was a given, but every song is a carefully honed and meticulously delivered gem and of the 100 songs that Christy has penned himself, he adds to his performing stock with the wit and poignancy of others’ work – such as Ian Prowse's love song to Liverpool, ‘Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?’ Prowse was present & singled out by Moore and the lyric, ‘Yorkshire policemen chat with folded arms/While people try and save their fellow fans’ received a huge roar of acknowledgement and pain.

The audience were reverent and respectful, and most times the started singalongs and clapping fell away, gently aborted as they did not want to miss a syllable of your man’s vocals. Moore’s earnest and intimate delivery gradually hushed everyone so we could savour the words and that Kildare-lilted voice - plaintive, tender, strident then gentle.

Furiously hunched over his guitar sounding like the musical equivalent of Ken Loach, Moore detailed the scattering of communities and the Irish diaspora, bringing it all back home, drawing the audience in and thanking those from Tokyo, Clydeside and the Isle of Skye who had travelled far. The sincerity, humility and uncompromising nature of the man cannot be doubted and there was a catch in his voice as he admitted that, at 74, this might be his last Liverpool gig.

We were lucky to catch him while we could.

Reviewer - Tracy Ryan
on - 16/10/19

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