Tuesday 25 July 2017

The Cranberries, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin review: 'A mass singalong - proving they're loved by a fiercely loyal and devotional audience'

Cranberries on stage at Bord Gais Energy Theatre. PIC: AM Photo Star
Cranberries on stage at Bord Gais Energy Theatre. PIC: AM Photo Star
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordain has been in the headlines in recent years for air rage and personal problems rather than her music. This is a shame as it overlooks the band's remarkable resilience and influence since 1999.

In 2014, George Clarke of Deafheaven told the Irish Independent how much the Cranberries inspired their raucous album Sunbather, which became one of the most critically acclaimed albums of recent years in the United States. Meanwhile, the Cranberries are more often than not sneered at as some kind of uncool 90s throwback in their home country.

A sold out crowd at the Bord Gáis Energy have much more positive ideas. A warm and joyous welcome greets the Limerick band's arrival to the the Grand Canal dock stage with the whole crowd immediately getting up out of their seats and remaining standing for the entire performance. Dolores O'Riordain takes the step of allowing members of a string quartet to introduce themselves by walking up to them with her microphone and inquiring, "What's your name?"

The strings add a lovely lightness of touch and elegance to a suite of songs that have aged remarkably well over the years. 'Linger' remains a stirring song about O'Riordain's first kiss, which is redone acoustically for their new album 'Something Else'. The Cranberries revert back to the song's original glory and it sounds terrific with strings, predictably sending the crowd wild.

Another song from the back catalogue locker that sounds surprisingly fresh is 'Salvation', which prompted some derision at the time for its lyrics, "To all the people doing lines. Don't do it, don't do it". It's rather ironic that just after releasing an acoustic album the Cranberries are cranking up the guitar amps.

When it comes to a song that best represents the polarity of opinion on the Cranberries home and abroad, look no further than their 1994 hit 'Zombie'. It was number one in Australia, Belgium, France, Denmark and Germany but became a laughing stock here for the lines "With their tanks, and their bombs and their bombs, and their guns."

Considering that Simple Minds got off scot-free for the atrocious 'Belfast Child' and its clanger of a lyric, "The war is raging all over the Emerald Isle", as Jim Kerr obviously had to endure numerous bomb scares when he lived with Patsy Kensit in Killiney, this critical lynching was nothing more than short-sighted Irish begrudgery.

'Zombie' prompts another mass singalong, proving that the Cranberries are deeply loved by a fiercely loyal and devotional audience. After all these years, this is the sign of true success.

'I felt something coming from him into my hand and into my body' - Dolores O'Riordan opens up about father's death 

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