2024 Hot Press

Live Report:  Christy Moore goes to the Opera

As part of a series of sold-out gigs that will see him on the road until October if not beyond, Christy Moore is going solo and audiences are loving it.

This was Christy Moore in his natural habitat, totally engaged with a Wexford Opera House full of fans, and his songs and stories teeming with heroes and villains.  It sure augurs well for the rest of his current tour.

Yes we had the hilarious ‘Joxer Goes to Stuttgart’ and a fabulous solo vocal version of ‘The Ballad of Ruby Walsh’, with a standing Christy trying out his best jockey moves.  But other heroes were honoured too, with Wally Page’s ‘The Biko Drum’ getting a welcome outing alongside Bobby Sands’ ‘McIlhatton’ and ‘Lyra McKee’, James Cramer’s tribute to the murdered Belfast journalist

The audience responded with vigour to Christy’s version of Martin Leahy’s fierce putdown of the cowardice of anonymous online trollers.  Leahy is the somewhat unsung hero who takes up his weekly position outside Leinster House trying to penetrate the hearts of politicians with his song ‘Everybody Should Have a Home’.

But then Christy is no fan of politicians, as you would gather from the wit and venom of ‘I Hate Politicians’ which neatly segued into ‘Don’t Forget Your Shovel’.

But there was something of a privilege in hearing for the first time Christy singing Jim Page’s brand new ‘Palestine’ which got the biggest cheer of the night.

‘North and South’ was another audience winner.  There were less politically-overt favourites too, ‘Beeswing’, ‘The Voyage’, ‘Welcome to the Cabaret’ and ‘The Time Has Come’, and two songs by younger brother Luka in ‘The City of Chicago’ and ‘I’m a Bogman’.  They were all delivered with Christy’s voice as strong and as wholesome as ever, his wit on full alert and real anger in his rhythmic guitar accompaniment whenever the song deserved it.

Walking out onto Wexford’s High Street we felt better equipped to face the ongoing depravity of the human race.  That’s what a close engagement with Christy Moore does to you.  As he said himself, he’s come a long way from The Unyoke Inn to the Opera House.

Jackie Hayden