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Sunday 17 December 2017

Concert for Eugene will celebrate his grá for life

Journalist lived for music and the gig in his honour has a tremendous line-up

Liam Ó Maonlaí
Liam Ó Maonlaí
Eugene Moloney
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

AT his funeral in the summer of 2012, the words to Bob Dylan's Forever Young rang out across the church, Our Lady Queen Of Peace on Dublin's Merrion Road.

Eugene Moloney would surely have approved of the moving rendition provided by his nephew, Oisin Leech of The Lost Brothers.

Oisin and a selection of other top Irish musicians have now put together a tribute concert in Dublin next month to honour the late journalist.

'Salute To Eugene: Remembering Eugene Moloney' will take place at Whelan's on Wexford Street, featuring aforementioned Lost Brothers as well as Liam O Maonlai, Julie Feeney, Joe and Steve Wall, Andy Irvine, Pete Cummins and his band, plus "special guests". Knowing how much Eugene was loved by musicians in Ireland and beyond, those two little words could mean anyone from Glenn Hansard to Bono.

The date of the concert, June 24, will resonate. It was on that date in 2012 that Eugene was attacked on Dublin's Camden Street and died after receiving a blow to the head.

"He was like a gentle big brother and I will miss him as a dear pal," said Oisin of his late uncle.

"He always arrived at gigs with some obscure but brilliant album to give me and would take it out of his pocket, saying, 'try that'. Then he would go on to give me the entire history and life story of the band or artist. His knowledge and love for music were huge and he really loved to share his passion for music.

"In 1978 when Eugene was 20 years old," recalled Oisin, "he went to London with little money and nowhere to stay.

"He went to see Bob Dylan play at Earls Court just when Dylan had released his Street Legal album. He left the gig with dozens of badges that simply said Street Legal on them. He then jumped a train to Paris and rambled and explored the streets.

"He noticed that a young band of musicians were playing on the street but not making any money in their cap.

"So Eugene took his own hat and walked around the small group of passers-by and gathered a healthy amount of francs for these hungry buskers.

"They were delighted to have enough for an evening meal and became Eugene's friends for his Paris stay.

"He was such a generous and gentle spirit and loved to help young musicians in any way he could. The buskers continued to play and meanwhile Eugene set up his own stall and sold the Street Legal badges to earn enough for his next adventure.

"Eugene was a wonderful gentle character much loved and respected by the music community in Dublin," said former Pogues and Frames manager Frank Murray, one of the organisers of the show to honour Eugene.

"He himself loved music with a passion and could talk for hours about various bands and songwriters and how important they were.

"He was a big man with a huge smile, somebody you were always delighted to meet up with on a night out.

"This concert is a tribute to a wonderful man who is very sadly missed by his family and his huge circle of friends."

'Salute To Eugene: Remembering Eugene Moloney' at Whelan's, Wexford Street, Dublin 2, June 24, 2014. Admission €15. Doors 8pm. In aid of The Peter McVerry Trust.

Sunday Independent

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