Support: Mark Geary
Main Set: Grace Beneath the Pines, Winning Streak, My Little Ruin, When Your Mind’s Made Up, Bird of Sorrow, Falling Slowly*, Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting** – Northern Sky** (Nick Drake), Astral Weeks*** (Van Morrison), Come Away to the Water**, McCormack’s Wall, Lowly Deserter, Way Back When, Didn’t He Ramble, Wedding Ring****, High Hope – Be Brave and Believe (Declan O’Rourke), 15 Seafort Parade, This Gift
Encore: Say It to Me Now – Gold (Interference), It Beats Me***** (Mark Geary), Drive All Night (Bruce Springsteen) – It Beats Me – Feels Like Rain (John Hiatt), Her Mercy
*Glen, Romy and Joe
***Glen and Joe
****one verse by Curtis
[Thanks to Fleur for the setlist and notes.]
Band: Glen Hansard (guitar, mandolin, piano), Joe Doyle (bass), Rob Bochnik (guitar, mandolin, bozouki), Graham Hopkins (drums) Romy (piano), Michael Buckley (saxophone, flute), Ronan Dooney (trumpet), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Una O’Kane (violin), Paula Hughes (cello), Katie O’Connor (violin)
Notes & Photos (by Fleur): Hola Chicas and Chicos – this first instalment of the 2016 Didn’t He Ramble (‘DHR’) Tour diary comes to you from the glorious Spanish capital of Madrid.
My previous experiences in Spain have generally consisted of the following – sunshine, sangria, siestas and tapas – and thankfully this visit continues that form. Despite still being in the midst of a European winter, Madrid has turned on a day of blue skies and sunshine and we all know how a spot of good weather can lift spirits.
The venue tonight is located in the centre of town in the Plaza Tirso de Molina and is essentially a theatre that plays host to a varied repertoire of different musical and dramatic events. I am told that the theatre is about 80 years old and so I envisage old school interiors with the standard uncomfortable seats that come with such vintage theatres – I am proved wrong (thankfully!) on this point. The theatre retains its decades-old charms save for its seats which have all been replaced with new super-comfy seats – the kind of which you find at a new cinema. My compliments to the forward-thinkers at Teatro Nuevo Apolo for the vintage/comfort mix.
Dublin-born troubadour Mark Geary is opening for the three Spanish DHR shows. Mark’s set starts with him introducing himself and relaying an amusing story regarding a previous trip to Spain in which he was told that the Andalusican translation of his last name equated to something close to ‘asshole’. Unsurprisingly, Mark thereafter decided to drop any reference to his last name at future Spanish shows to avoid any offence (one assumes mostly to himself!).
Those who have turned up early are treated to some terrific acoustic tunes spanning Mark’s 25 year career including ‘Adam & Eve’, ‘Cold Little Fire’, ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Volunteer’. He is very warmly received and those present engage enthusiastically when asked to participate with backing vocals on a couple of tunes. It’s certainly an encouraging start to the night.
About 20 minutes later Glen and the band take to the stage – there’s 11 people in total so the sound is full and rich when everyone contributes to a song. It is nice to see most of Frames gang back together on stage (Glen, Joe, Rob and Graham) because it means there’s going to be little need for the band to ‘find their groove’ over the course of this tour.
Here’s a few tidbits I noted down from the show:
* After a DHR trio of openers ending with ‘My Little Ruin’ there is a gorgeous gentle piano intro into ‘When Your Mind’s Made Up’. This is a setlist staple for Glen in pretty much all his guises (solo, Swell Season & The Frames) I suspect mainly because of the complete rapture it invokes from the audience night after night. The raucous wind up towards the end of the song also gives the band an opportunity to stretch out early and give it some – go-go Graham on drums!!
* The solo section of the setlist starts early tonight with ‘Falling Slowly’. The audience are incredibly respectful – you can hear a pin drop between songs and their appreciation for the work being undertaken on stage is shown by extended applause and cheering after each tune. Mid-way through ‘Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting’ Glen calls for sax extraordinaire Michael Buckley to join him and the word goes out backstage and Michael appears for a timely, soulful solo which is rounded off by a nice Nick Drake tag from Glen.
* ‘Astral Weeks’ comes with a nice ‘Talkin to Frederico Garcia Lorca’ line in homage to the Spanish poet and a very entertaining string playing dual between Glen and Joe (on the stand up bass) at the song’s climax – nothing like a bit of competition between the lads to add extra drama!
* There’s a great trio of rockin tunes to get bums moving in those comfy seats starting with ‘Lowly Deserter’ (with some mna-mna-mnas at the end courtesy of Glen & Graham) and then a double-shot of tracks from Glen’s new EP ‘A Season on the Line‘ – ‘Way Back When’ and ‘Didn’t He Ramble’. Both of the EP tracks have been created (and later perfected) during live performances on the previous DHR tours in Europe and the US and the audience participate with glee in the call and response for ‘Way Back When’ – Madrid is in fine voice tonight.
* Before the show I was speaking to a friend of mine from Vancouver who had traveled to the show and is a huge Frames fan from back in the day (aka the mid 90s). Our conversation turned at one point to what she would like to see on the setlist tonight and she advised that her own personal wishlist had been satisfied at the Frames 20th anniversary shows in Dublin last year when the band played vintage tune ’15 Seafort Parade’ from their first record. She had waited some 20 years to hear that song live and was delighted to finally see her dreams become reality last summer. We both agreed that a replay of that tune in tonight’s setlist was unlikely in the extreme (read: ‘just not going to happen’). So when Glen called for requests after ‘High Hope’ my friend from Vancouver sitting up front jokingly shouted out for her dream Frames song. Glen acknowledged the unusual request and proceeded to hear some others before announcing that he’d thought about it and was going to try one he heard called for. Cue Glen launching in to a fabulous acoustic version of ’15 Seafort Parade’ (with some nice support from Joe on bass). To say I was surprised is somewhat of an understatement, but my surprise was nothing in comparison to the delight of one Canadian in the audience who had now managed to hear her rarely-played Frames favourite twice in the space of seven months. And the lesson for today is: never say never in respect to a Glen setlist. Thank you Lisa from Vancouver – love your work!!
* The encore starts up in the second balcony with ‘Say It to Me Now’ which is swiftly followed by an emotional version of Fergus O’Farrell’s ‘Gold’ with strings chiming in from the stage. Fergus’ sudden passing earlier this month is a great loss to the Irish music community but he will certainly live on through his amazing songs. Hearts and thoughts go out to all Fergus’ family and friends who I know are really feeling his loss at the moment.
And tear your curtains down
For sunlight is like gold”
Muchas Gracias Madrid
Grace Beneath the Pines (by M ANGELES SANCHEZ)
When Your Mind’s Made Up (by M ANGELES SANCHEZ)
Falling Slowly (by Viviendo en HD)
Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting – Northern Sky (by Viviendo en HD)
Astral Weeks (by Viviendo en HD)
Come Away to the Water (by Viviendo en HD)
Lowly Deserter (by Viviendo en HD)
Way Back When (by Viviendo en HD)
Wedding Ring (by Viviendo en HD)
High Hope – Be Brave and Believe (by Viviendo en HD)
15 Seafort Parade (by Viviendo en HD)
This Gift (by Rafael Ansaloni Fortes)
Say It to Me Now – Gold (by Manuel Cuesta)
It Beats Me (by Viviendo en HD)
Drive All Night – It Beats Me – Feels Like Rain (by mrjovilam)
Her Mercy (by Viviendo en HD)