Last week, the first state visit of the Irish president occasioned much comment about the difficult past between Britain and the republic being finally put to rest. But when Christy Moore brings up the event, it’s to attach it to a rendition of Irish rebel ballad Kevin Barry about an executed IRA man from 1920, “lest we forget”.
Christy Moore - Barrowland, Glasgow
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And the impassioned reaction of the audience – booing every reference to the British state, from a reference to the Royal Albert Hall to the BBC World Service – showed clearly that for many, it’s not just old history.
It’s hard to separate the politics from the performance at this show, which played to the faithful, delighting them with references to the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War and to Che Guevara. Back Home In Derry (written by Bobby Sands) had them singing along lustily, as did Ewan McColl’s Companeros and his own tribute to the venue, Barrowland.
As for Moore himself, he was in fine, rich voice, accompanied by regular collaborator, guitarist Declan Sinnot. But the nature of this gig – they were also due to play a presumably more sedate show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall last night – didn’t encourage much of the subtlety evident on his recent, re-recorded “best of”, Where I Come From.
Quieter songs struggled to make an impact, with even an affecting cover of Hamish Imlach’s Black Is The Colour competing with heckles, mutterings and sporadic applause.
For the not-quite-converted, this became a plodding evening, but for the fans, it was a party.
Seen on 11.04.14