Support: Ye Vagabonds
Photo by Ivi Rebova
Main Set: Grace Beneath the Pines, Winning Streak, My Little Ruin, When Your Mind’s Made Up, Bird of Sorrow, Back Broke, What Happens When the Heart Just a Stops* – Bad Bone*, Come Away to the Water**, Autobahn (Kraftwerk) – Talking With the Wolves***, McCormack’s Wall, Lowly Deserter, Way Back When, High Hope, This Gift – Heyday (Mic Christopher)
Encore: Say It to Me Now**** – I’ve Got Your Back**** (Mic Christopher), Gold***** (Interference), Falling Slowly, Didn’t He Ramble, Her Mercy – Rock Me Amadeus (Falco), The Auld Triangle****** (Brendan Behan)
*with Rob and Romy
**with Brad and Romy
***Leon on shaker
*****Glen and Rob off mic in the crowd
******verses by Glen, Rob, Earl, Romy, Brían & Diarmuid Mac Gloinn, Simon, Leon and Fiacre
[Thanks to Fleur for the setlist and notes.]
Band: Glen Hansard (guitar, mandolin, piano), Rob Bochnik (guitar, mandolin, bozouki), Brad Albetta (bass), Earl Harvin (drums), Romy (piano), Michael Buckley (saxophone, flute), Ronan Dooney (trumpet), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Jeanie Lim (viola), Simone Vitucci (cello)
Notes (by Fleur): It’s not difficult to see why Vienna is one of the crown jewels of Eastern Europe. There’s always been a sense of majesty to Vienna – the history, culture and artisans originating from this city are incredibly impressive to say the least. There’s also a fairly significant historical connection to Glen and the Frames who have played here consistently for some 25 years. Plenty of stories have been relayed to me about Glen and Mic Christopher cavorting in the streets of Vienna way back in the way back when, and it’s clear that those memories permeate the mood generally today.
The spirit of Mic Christopher (and his well-known compassion for those suffering as a result of war) seems to be foremost in Glen’s mind today as he, Rob, Brad, Simone, Jeannie, Fiacre and the lads from Ye Vagabonds (Brian and Diarmuid) make a visit to Vienna’s Hauptbahnof to sing a few tunes for the refugees and volunteers. As most people are aware, the bulk of the refugees currently moving through Europe are from Syria. They have uprooted their families and left their homes behind to escape the fear and extreme violence that currently has a complete hold over their country. Fleeing your homeland in such circumstances is an act of sheer desperation, and not one that can be said to be made lightly by any person. These people have asked for refuge from war – and in my view that is all anyone needs to know. When your brothers and sisters are in trouble, you need (in the words of Neil Diamond) to take your hand and put it out to them……..because that’s what it’s there for.
The most amazing part of the experience was to see the reaction from the refugees to the songs. I suspect that many did not speak English, and they had little idea who Glen or the Ye Vagabonds lads were or what they were singing about. Let me tell you that this fact had absolutely no impact whatsoever on the energy exchange which took place. Other than the look of joy on numerous faces, the crowd of refugees gathered showed their delight with their voices. They all out roared in response every time Glen sang ‘Foooooooog Toooooown’ – it was moving beyond words. It was a very real example of the power of music transcending all barriers. It’s hard to describe the feeling this simple act generated. It is not an understatement to say that it was as if, for a small moment in time, all faith in humanity had been restored – and sometimes, that’s all someone needs to get them through a period of heart-ache and uncertainty. A huge thumbs up to the volunteers at Train of Hope who are working tirelessly to help the thousands of refugees coming through Austria.
From that we move on to the venue – which is somewhat a change of pace for the Didn’t He Ramble 2015 tour in that it is a gorgeous formal Concert Hall built over 100 years ago (and the home of the Vienna Symphony). So suffice to say we are all feeling a little more upmarket tonight! It is a stunning room with huge chandeliers and red plush seats for all. I have high hopes for the acoustics as well – although
I’m not sure how often this space accommodates the more raucous tunes that we anticipate tonight!!
Here’s a few notes on the show:
* There’s a funky intro to ‘Talkin With the Wolves’ led by the drum machine and Glen’s faux German vocals to ‘Autobahn’ in homage to Kraftwerk. I’ve not seen Glen tackle a full version of ‘Autobahn’ (as yet!)- but the tag manages to get a chuckle from the audience and the light-hearted antics on stage continue when Glen references Simon in the first line and looks expectantly over to where Simon is located seeking some form of acknowledgment. After some on-stage pleading, he gets a nod from Simon, and then moves on to name-checking Jeannie (on violin) in the second verse seeking similar affirmation. It’s great to see such camaraderie on stage. The brass section of Curtis, Ronan and Michael really own the outro to this song – swinging their instruments left to right to create a moving soundscape to finish – it’s well classy.
* Glen asks the crowd for some vocal assistance on ‘McCormack’s Wall’ before he begins, and after being met with a somewhat quiet response pleads with the Saturday night crowd not to be intimidated by the room. I’m not sure they are convinced by the request but Glen seeks to put them further at ease by relaying the story behind the tune. There’s all sorts of admissions tonight from Glen regarding who the song is about and his performance on the night in question and the existence of a song in response from the woman who Glen admittedly led down the garden path. We’re told that the bottom line is that his song is all “I’m sorry” and her song is all “Fuck You” – harsh, but fair methinks!
* ‘Lowly Deserter’ is another one of my favourite tracks from the new record (more mandolin please!!). It also provides an opportunity for the crowd to get more familiar with the smooth trombone stylings of one Mr Curtis Fowlkes as well. Curtis is invited down to the front of the stage towards the end of the tune for a solo, and the Viennese audience loves it. Curtis is met afterwards with a huge (and well-deserved) ovation.
* The events of earlier in the day and the presence of the spirit of Mic Christopher is acknowledged by ‘Way Back When’ (which is dedicated by Glen to all the people at the train station) and tags of two Mic songs – ‘Heyday’ at the end of ‘This Gift’ and ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ at the end of ‘Say it to Me Now’ – it’s a nice touch to an emotion-filled day.
* It’s never a proper show in Vienna unless there’s some kind of ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ reference and Glen obliges briefly during ‘Her Mercy’ – which is also turned into a “punk rock” tune at some point (ahh yes there’s the raucous we’ve been waiting for!!).
Auf Wiedersehen Vienna!!
Photos above by Fleur Neale & at her flickr.
Photos below by Ivi Rebova – more at her website.
My Little Ruin (by HDconcertsAustria)
When Your Mind’s Made Up (by HDconcertsAustria)
Bird of Sorrow (by HDconcertsAustria)
Back Broke (by HDconcertsAustria)
What Happens When the Heart Just Stops – Bad Bone (by HDconcertsAustria)
Come Away to the Water + intro (by HDconcertsAustria)
Autobahn – Talking With the Wolves (by HDconcertsAustria)
McCormack’s Wall + intro (by HDconcertsAustria)
Lowly Deserter (by HDconcertsAustria)
High Hope (by HDconcertsAustria)
This Gift (by HDconcertsAustria)
Say It to Me Now – I’ve Got Your Back (by HDconcertsAustria)
Gold (by HDconcertsAustria)
Say It to Me now – I’ve Got Your Back – Gold (by Joe Walkaway)
Falling Slowly (by HDconcertsAustria)
Her Mercy – Rock Me Amadeus (by SouliciousMusic)
The Auld Triangle (by HDconcertsAustria)