Tuesday 27 June 2017

'Bob Dylan and his band of cowboy bluesmen shook the roof'

1 Bob Dylan The O2 Arena, May

Teetering 'neath a snazzy Stetson hat, Bob looked old. It's alright ma, he's only ageing. He and his band of cowboy bluesmen could have been playing in a little bar on the Mexican border.

Bob opens up with Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat from Blonde On Blonde. "Well, you look so pretty in it," he sings, his voice cracking like a global recession. "Honey, can I jump on it sometime? Yes, I just wanna see if it's really that expensive kind."

Bob's rendition of Masters Of War, written in 1963, was chilling and apt in the present times. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, Highway 61 Revisited, and Like a Rolling Stone shook the roof on Harry Crosbie's new venue.

2 U2 Croke Park, July

An unforgettable series of performances from the fab four. It was more a worship than a concert. And Bono didn't disappoint the faithful. Watching 75,000 followers worship at the altar of Our Lord Bono, it was like a Monty Python sketch at times.

3 Nick Cave Vicar Street, October

Tonight in Vicar Street, Nicholas Edward Cave, from Warracknabeal, Australia, is reading from his new book The Death of Bunny Munro and taking song requests from the audience. His rendition of The Mercy Seat was raw and unforgettable.

A fellow Antipodean, a woman, asked Cave whether he was a misogynist. He was clearly offended by the question. At the end of the show, he jokingly referred to the fact that in "Australia nobody knows what the word 'misogynist' even means".

4 Beyonce The 02 Arena, May

Q magazine once put her on a cover titled: 'Sex. Power. Booty! Beyonce -- The Ass That Shook the World'. In June at the 02 Arena she was that and much more besides in a sublime display of r'n'b oomph, boisterous hip hop and soul swagger.

5 Bruce Springsteen The RDS, July

The boss was on fire and held the crowd under his spell for well over two hours. On tracks like The River and Hungry Heart the whole of Ballsbridge seemed to be shaking with the effects of so many people dancing away the blues of an economic downturn, with America's blue-collar Shakespeare.

6 The Pixies Olympia, September

The Pixies (who split in 1992) reunited again. And devotees of screaming singers and guitars, quiet verse/loud chorus songwriting weren't disappointed over three memorable shows in Dublin. Their music is still powerful all these years later.

7 Chucko Valdes Vicar Street, September

Cuban at its most vibrant and intoxicating from the smiliest pianist on the planet, Chucko, with his eight-piece band. A hot Latino night in Dublin.

8 Ry Cooder Olympia, June

Ry Cooder -- who helped put the country on the musical map after assembling a group of Cuban musicians to make the Buena Vista Social Club album in 1996 -- was a phenomenon in the Olympia.

9 Fatboy Slim Marlay Park, August Praise him.

10 Rod Stewart The RDS, August

I never thought I'd be saying this but the old mod was superb on this rainy night. He showed that his voice can still come close to the greatest of yore.

Sunday Independent

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