Thursday 30 March 2017

Loaded: 21/11/08

HARD AT WORK: A 24th album has now been penned by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
HARD AT WORK: A 24th album has now been penned by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
John Meagher

John Meagher

Sometimes, when you build something up in your head, the reality falls well short. With Brooklynites TV on the Radio releasing the art-rock album of the year (Dear Science), I thought they might also deliver one of the gigs of 2008. I was wrong.

To borrow Eamon Dunphy's most fabled motto, their Tripod show last Saturday was good, but not great. I thought the sound was muddy throughout and Tunde Adebimpe's vocals were buried in the mix. Oh, and they didn't play the two best songs from latest album -- Halfway Home and Family Tree.

On Monday, when I canvassed other attendees on their views, opinion was polarised to say the least. One of them -- a passionate, erudite figure, who's one of the smartest people I've met in this industry -- was so enraptured with the show that he plans to get a tattoo reading 'tvotr -- 15/11/08' within the next few days. Now that's devotion.

We must have been at two different gigs.

n One performance that most certainly didn't let me down was Leonard Cohen's marvellous show at the O2 Arena in London last Friday night.

Musically, it was in the same ballpark as his Kilmainham concerts during the summer -- although those summer outdoor gigs had a magic that London lacked. Still, it was great to see the sprightly 73-year-old play So Long Marianne and Chelsea Hotel this time -- he hadn't done so on the night I saw him in Dublin 8.

For a man forced back onto the road as a result of being embezzled out of $5m (€4m) by a dodgy accountant, he's been astonishingly humble and prepared. These gigs will live long in the memory.

n And what an occasion it was to mark my first time to the 02 Arena -- a massive amphitheatre housed in the former Millennium Dome. Its facilities certainly bode well for the soon-to-open Dublin venue.

Dublin's 02 will open its doors to 14,500 people for the first time on December 17 when Cheerios Childline comes to town. Two nights later, the first gig proper takes place when Kings of Leon make their now annual pilgrimage to Ireland.

There seems to have been very little irritation about the new corporate name for what was once the Point Depot. Perhaps, that's because there was so little to like about the old venue -- from its rubbish acoustics and poor sightlines to its inadequate toilet facilities and lengthy beer queues.

O2 Ireland's sponsorship manager, Jonnie Cahill, tells me that unlike its previous incarnation, punters will be allowed to take their alcohol from the foyer bar into the auditorium. That seems like an eminently sensible and mature way to respond to the fact that we Irish quite like to have a drink while at a concert.

Now, the next time I take my mother to a show there, she won't have to smuggle our drinks back to our seats in her bag!

n ATO Records announced this week that they will be releasing Lisa Hannigan's debut album, Sea Sew on January 20 in the US.

The Meath singer is currently supporting Jason Mraz on his 42-date North American tour. Her debut album has garnered airtime on radio station KCRW and earned early praise from the Los Angeles Times, which called it "charmingly idiosyncratic" while the New York Times said it is "exquisitely ethereal."

n Speaking of album reviews, the ever-busy Bruce Springsteen will get 2009 off to a great start with his 24th album, Working on a Dream.

It was recorded with the E Street Band and features 12 compositions plus two bonus iTunes tracks. It is the fourth collaboration between Springsteen and Brendan O'Brien, who produced the album, and follows up last year's excellent Magic.

The Boss said: "I hope Working on a Dream has caught the energy of the band fresh off the road from some of the most exciting shows we've ever done. All the songs were written quickly, we usually used one of our first few takes. We all had a blast making this from beginning to end."

With Springsteen in typically great form during his RDS, Dublin gigs this year, the hopes of having him back on tour and on Irish soil so soon are very pleasant indeed.

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