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Sunday 17 December 2017

Music fans give it welly as they brave mud and rain

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

YOU cannot be without wellington boots in an Irish summer.

And at an Irish concert held during an Irish summer, they're an absolute necessity.

Tens of thousands of concert-goers found themselves suited and booted last night at the last of three major concerts in the Phoenix Park.

Traditionally it would have been Oxegen weekend but with the Irish festival taking a year off, young music fans had "Punchestown in the Park" instead. They braved mud and regular rain showers to see the acts, including the Stone Roses, who played their first set on Irish soil in 17 years.

At T in the Park in Scotland on Friday night, Snow Patrol had the job of playing warm-up to Saturday's headliners The Stone Roses. But last night Gary Lightbody and his band were topping the bill with the anthemic hits that made them stars.

Despite the dark clouds overhead, the mood among the thousands of music fans was good and there was none of the violence that had marred Saturday night's headliner by Swedish House Mafia.

Enthusiastic fans began queuing at the entrance to the venue shortly after 11.30am yesterday.

'Voice of Ireland' mentor Niall 'Bressie' Breslin had been among the opening acts at 5pm with his largely female followers prepared to put up with any weather to catch a glimpse of the handsome performer.

An hour later, it was the turn of Australian indie rockers The Temper Trap. U2's the Edge has likened their global million-seller 'Sweet Disposition' to the U2 hit 'Where The Streets Have No Name'.

There were more echoes of the Edge's guitar arpeggios in their set, which took us to the real double headline Florence & The Machines at 7.30pm.

Fronted by flame-haired singer Florence Welsh -- a kind of Kate Bush for the zeros, such was her banshee wail on songs including hit 'You've Got The Love'. You could probably have heard her in Howth.

Turbulent ballads sounding like distant thunder were the perfect music for cloudy weather as the wind howled above punters' heads in the Phoenix Park.

Florence would be a tough act for anybody to follow but not Snow Patrol with an endless arsenal full of anthems, including 'Open Your Eyes', 'Run' and 'Just Say Yes'.

Nervous

Frontman Gary Lightbody had admitted he had been "nervous" at the start of the weekend about their appearance at T in The Park, in front of 85,000 fans; and in Dublin for 45,000 gig-goers.

But you could sense his relief by the time Snow Patrol came to perform their 2006 ubiquitous hit 'Chasing Cars'.

'Downton Abbey' actress and singer Maria Doyle Kennedy was among those who gathered in a VIP tent before the band's performance.

Later, Snow Patrol were among the featured DJs at the official aftershow party in The Academy on Abbey Street.

The three concerts staged last week in the Phoenix Park are estimated to have been worth between €20-€25m to the local economy.

Irish Independent

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