This week we have been to Manchester to review The Dublin Legends for What's Good To Do. We had a fantastic night out which would have been even better if the two annoying girls behind us had stayed in the bar to chat rather than talking throughout the performance. They were obviously fans as they knew a lot of the words but when they weren't singing they were chatting which was very irritating.
The Lowry is very easy to get to as it is just off the M602 motorway and there is plenty of parking in the large multi storey car park next to the theatre. If you eat in one of the restaurants at The Lowry Centre next door you can park for free, otherwise it costs around £5.50. The theatre is lovely and clean and all the staff are very helpful and friendly. All the seats have a good view of the stage and there is ample leg room. The Quays Theatre is a perfect size for an acoustic band, large enough that there is an atmosphere yet small enough that you are close to the stage and can take part in the performance.
In 2012 the world famous Dubliners celebrated their 50th year and and also mourned the loss of founder member Barney McKenna. It was decided that the band would come to an end and so the Dublin Legends was born. Sean Cannon, Eamonn Campbell had been members for almost 30 years and have been joined by Gerry O’Connor and Paul Watchorn.
With so many years on the stage between them it is no wonder that the performance was so effortless. Not only are all four extraordinary musicians but they know exactly how to interact with the audience with a perfect balance of Irish wit, memories and even a bit of dancing thrown in for good measure.
The night started with a number of tracks sung mainly in English but with the odd Irish track too. There were also a couple of instrumental pieces where Gerry showed off his amazing fiddle skills. The audience were soon clapping and tapping their feet in time with the music and singing along with many of the choruses. Songs included I’ll Tell Me Ma, McAlpine’s Fusiliers, All for Me Grog, and a real favourite with the audience, Fields of Athenry.
Sean and Eamonn mostly played guitar with Paul on 5 string banjo. Gerry played both fiddle and tenor banjo with amazing skill, especially good were the instrumental tracks including a piece written by Gerry about his father-in-law.
Like a good wine this band gets better with age. Whilst some of the members might not be quite as agile as they once were Eamonn, who sat down for most of the performance, was up on his feet to play Dirty Old Town and put on an amazing performance that would put many younger men to shame.
The second half of the show included many more of their well-known songs including my favourite, Manchester Rambler and Sean singing a brilliant little song about the sad introduction of pool into Irish pubs.
The night finished with some of the old favourites, Dirty Old Town, Whiskey in the Jar, Wild Rover and a rousing rendition of Molly Malone that had everyone singing and dancing in their seats.
We left the Lowry on a high, seeing The Dublin Legends perform live was a great experience and we would certainly encourage anyone to go and see them. They did joke that their return to Manchester would have to be soon given their advancing years so I wouldn’t leave it too late to see them.