Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: Christy Moore At Glastonbury 2015

I have been going to Glastonbury Festival since 1979 but I must say that Glasto 2015 rates amongst the best festivals I have ever attended for many reasons which I will explain later. The highlight for me was seeing His Holiness The Dalai Lama twice in one day, once in the Peace Garden in the Sacred Space and later on the Pyramid Stage with the great Patti Smith. Musically one of my absolute favourite performances was seeing Christy Moore when he headlined on the Acoustic Stage on Friday night. I promised my good friend Hilary that I would write a review of Christy's set so this is what happened.
                 It had been a long day. I awoke at 4.30 to begin work on the litter-picking team at 6.00. We finished work at 12.00 and in the afternoon I managed to see Red Sky July, Stornaway and Duke Special and a little bit of JD McPherson and walking back to base caught a little bit of Motorhead's set. Like Christy, Lemmy of Motorhead is 70 this year, quite amazing really. After dinner in the recyclers restaurant I fell asleep in my tent so I would be fit for the evening.When I awoke, "Oh no", it was 9.00. I pulled on my wellingtons and marched down Muddy Lane and turned left heading for the Acoustic Stage. All The Proclaimers fans were leaving.I was disappointed because I had hoped to catch some of their set because my friend Dave had given me a copy of their recent album which is really good. However, it did allow me to walk up the side of the audience right to the front and then weedle my way into the centre right on the front barrier. This is the nearest I have ever been to Christy when he is singing live. While waiting for Christy to begin I got chatting to a nice lady who lives in Glastonbury town and I told her that I would write a review so I hope she likes this.

                                                                         As in Bristol a few weeks ago Christy was assisted by Declan Sinnott on guitar,Jimmy Higgins on percussion and Vicky Keating on backing vocals. Being this near the front I was able to see Jimmy's deft work at close quarters for the first time but I sometimes think maybe Vicky's vocals could be turned up a smidgen in the mix. Declan who I occasionally think looks a bit serious was beaming all over his face tonight and Christy obviously loves Glastonbury and seemed really pleased to be back. The stewards at the front held up signs saying 'No Flash Photography Please' so I had to respect that request but towards the end of the set I did move to the back and took a couple of sneaky ones.They aren't very good so I have only used one.
      The performance began with A Pair Of Brown Eyes' which was great and made me think how nice it would be if Shane McGowan would return to Glastonbury one day. The City Of Chicago was next and was followed by Ride On which the audience sang along with. "You're singing well", said Christy. McIlhatton was next and then Yellow Furze Woman in which I was really impressed with  Declan's great electric guitar playing. Natalie Merchant's beautiful song Motherland followed. The next song was a highlight for me. It was Ewan McColl's Go,Move,Shift. Christy introduced it by saying that this was his fifth Glastonbury and his second was 1985 which coincided with the notorious Battle Of The Bean-field exactly 30 years ago which happened right here in Wiltshire. After the coal miners strike Thatcher was obsessed with 'The Enemy Within' and gave the nod to the police to brutally attack a convoy of New Age Travellers who were trying to get to Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Their vehicles were diverted into a field and then the police went on the rampage. I remember it vividly. There were many low points of Thatcher's regime and that was one of them. It showed to me what a great memory and awareness of the history of Glastonbury that Christy has. The next song was also by Ewan McColl which is the one he wrote to win back Peggy Seeger The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Next up was Missing You and at the end Christy said, "I'm Missing You Baby" which I found quite moving for personal reasons.

                                                           Somebody in the audience shouted out a request for Joxer Goes To Stuttgart and Christy said "Joxer will be here in about half an hour, he is backstage with Kanye West having the craic", which was hilarious.The great Spanish Civil War song Viva La Quinte Brigade followed which the crowd really enjoyed and Christy said, " This is the biggest Folk Club I've ever played in !". North And South Of The River followed and then Christy said he would like to sing a Scottish song as a tribute to The Proclaimers which was Black Is The Colour Of My True Loves Hair by the late Hamish Imlach. Declan's acoustic guitar was quite outstanding on this one. The audience loved the sing-along Don't Forget Your Shovel. Christy then asked Declan to sing a song which I hope is called Little Light Box. It was really nice and I'm sure if I get any songs wrong then young Colm from Kerry will put me right !. Christy then played the bodran and sang Well Below The Valley which took me right back to seeing him sing this song on the Pyramid Stage in the 1980's. Jackson Brown's great Before The Deluge was next but today I think it was after the deluge because we had two hours rain earlier in the afternoon but the weather was great for the rest of the festival. Declan and Jimmy were both outstanding on this song. Ordinary Man and the very profound Yellow Triangle  followed and then Richard Thompson's fabulous Beeswing. Another sign of Christy's great generosity and humility is that he tells the audience who wrote the songs. A lot of performers don't give the songwriters the credit. I knew that the show was coming to an end when Joxer Goes To Stuttgart finally appeared and the crowd went wild. Some of them were sitting on their friends shoulders and singing along. Christy and his three companeros all took a bow but I knew he still had a couple of tricks up his sleeve and sure enough they returned for the classic Nancy Spain and finally the best song ever written in celebration of a festival Lisdoonvarna. All four took another bow and left the stage in triumph with the applause ringing in their ears.

                                                                                    As I trudged back up the hill I could hear Florence And The Machine playing in the distance but I wasn't interested. Back at base I sat around the camp fire drinking cider and telling jokes with my camp-fire mates and finally crawled into my rancid sleeping bag at 12.30. It had been a 20 hour day and another epic day at Glastonbury was only 4 hours away. Thank you very much Christy Moore for making Friday night so memorable.     


Pintofmilk said...

Hi Pat its me again Colm took me a while to read this I am very busy these days.
I am doing 9 nights in the theatre next week.
I enjoyed your review and am very grateful for it because I cannot find any info about the gig anywhere.I was trawling the internet all weekend so thank you .

Pintofmilk said...

P.S. do you have any relatives in athenry?Galway

Pat said...

Cheers Colm,
It's good to hear from you again. I'm glad you enjoyed my review and Christy sent me a nice message as well on his guestbook page. Good luck in the theatre. I hope it all goes well.

All the best, Pat

Pat said...

I don't have any relatives in Athenry Galway as far as I know. My parents came from County Mayo. I have a niece Katherine who lives in Cork.

Mark Whitmore said...

Cheers for the review Pat...it was indeed a great night!!! thanks for the commentary and set list... Brought it all right back!!!
All the best

Barry Gilfillan said...

Nice review. Christy was the highlight of the night!