“Gee but it’s great to be back home
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend,
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied,
So sang Simon & Garfunkel, it could have been written with Christy Moore and Declan Sinnott in mind. It’s been some year of songs, starting with solo gigs in August in the Briery Gap in Macroom, then the Masters of Tradition in Bantry, then the gigs in September in DeBarras, where Luka, Andy and Brian joined in and right through to Leisureland on 16th July. A long year on the road and lots of satisfied listeners, for sure.
So many highlights in a very busy year of gigs in big venues, small venues, new venues, old Halls, Opera Houses … Massive venues like the Odyssey in Belfast (5,000 on both nights) … The new Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin (2,000 plus on both nights also) Tents in Glastonbury, Hay on Wye and by the Lee. So I wonder how many satisfied customers heard these two sing during the year. Add a sprinkling of solo and Small Town Talk gigs too? I bet Paddy has the answer!
Without doubt though “The Gathering” in Lisdoon in April had to be the highlight not only of the year but of many people’s lives. Such a gaggle, such fun … such friendships and singing and more singing … such connections through song. A lot of thought, preparation and hard work went into the weekend. It won’t be forgotten, especially with Adam’s work.
This was the year when so many songs were shared for a variety or reasons. Dedications, resonances with people or places, or perhaps because the songs presented themselves … who can forget Kevin Barry at the solo gig on the Friday in Lisdoon … or the Boys of Mullaghbawn and Veronica … or opening Tullamore with Minds Locked Shut the week the Bloody Sunday report was finally published … Farmer Michael Hayes and Galtee Mountain Boy in Thurles, The Time Has Come in Ballyshannon. No Time for Love has returned regularly, and where did the idea come from to sing They Never Came Home on the night the fire alarm went off in Waterford? In the final gig Christy sang a most memorable rendition of Lovely Young One, in memory of the tragic road crash victims that same week in Donegal.
Some new songs too … Haiti with John Spillane and the haunting Morecambe Bay continuing the long tradition of awareness raising. Christy also lent his support to several other benefit gigs: to celebrate the 65th birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi, the One in Four gig in the Peppercanister Church, the hometown gig in Newbridge for the Culture Factory, and the gig in February in Ballinasloe was for the flood victims.
So many highlights in the year it’s difficult to pick out specifics, special moments occur in every gig.
The Scottish tour was special for a number of reasons … the launch of the Barrowland DVD on the night of the Barrowland gig … the guest appearance of Wally Page … 4711ers on tour … some far flung listeners from Santiago Bay, Germany, Holland and a few from the Island, the visit of Christy to Tralee in October to unveil the statue to the late great songsmith Christie Hennessy in the company of Christie’s widow and family.
November in Donegal doesn’t sound too appealing but two gigs in Ballyshannon, hometown of Johnny Meade, were mighty. Songs included Only Our Rivers, Companeros, Me & The Rose, and a local medley of City of Chicago, Duffy’s Cut and Back Home in Derry. There was a great welcome for Declan in the refurbished Opera House in Wexford; songs included the new duet of Billy Grey and Musgrave in response to a request from one of the staff. Those two gigs which bookended one single week probably epitomise the whole gig experience whether it’s a lovely cosy old kip, or the Wexford Opera House, where the locals who know how cold the venue can be turned up in hats, scarves and coats. Whatever the venue, Christy and Declan continue to enthrall listeners with their humour, banter, amazing energy and musical skills.
2010 started with gigs in the snow, followed by gigs up and down the county from Tullow to Belmullet, From Killarney to Cappoquin, Kilkenny to West Belfast, Tullamore to Waterford, as well as the UK.
All year Christy has surprised, stunned, shocked and delighted people from Newfoundland, China, USA, UK, Germany, France, Holland, Italy not to mention Cork, New York, Gortahork and Glenamaddy, by mentioning listeners by name or dedicating a special request to them. Christy always has a special welcome for young people like Tara and Jack in Portlaoise, 10 year old Megan in Killarney or 4 year old Freddie in Waterford or young Conor from Donegal. The special listeners always get time and attention and in fairness to the whole team the 4711ers are always made most welcome.
So here we are at the end of another great year and the new round of gigs and songs only weeks away again, with hints of a new CD too … to keep the customers even more satisfied. Long may they share their gifts with us all.
Beir bua agus beannacht. Mile, mile buiochas. H