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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Waterboys: 1987-05-31 - Back of a lorry, Town Square, Kenmare, Ireland

1987-05-31 - Back of a lorry, Town Square, Kenmare, Ireland
Mike Scott - Vocal, Guitar
Anthony Thistlethwaite - Sax
The Fleadh Cowboys
BP Fallon
James Fearnley - Accordion
Liam Ó Maonlaí - Vocal

Mike Scott writes about this gig in his "Adventures of a Waterboy":

There were concerts and events all round town, in school halls, hotels, even churches, and B.P. quickly vanished in pursuit of some scene or other. Anto and I rambled around the town square and somebody told us that a band we knew, a Dublin country-rock combo called the Fleadh Cowboys, were playing right now in a hotel on the outskirts of town. I had my guitar and Anto had his sax, so as we walked to the gig through the cheerful streets we started playing. A small crowd gathered round us and we made our procession through town. Finding myself in the role of pied piper, I made a medley of songs last for the twenty minutes of our march while the Human Saxophone blew loud solos that reverberated off the stone fronts of the houses. Finally we came to the edge of town where the stately pile of the Park Hotel stood amid trees and meadows. There we found the Fleadh Cowboys hanging around, smoking and talking on a patio outside the ballroom, their performance just finished. The Cowboys were led by two Stetson-wearing Dublin characters: Pete Cummins (tall, rangy, always looked like he’d just climbed down off a horse, nasal singing style) and Frank Lane (charismatic, testy, with a Hank Williams fixation and a helium voice). We’d guested with them a few times before and they invited us to form a one-off band to play that evening on the truck I’d noticed in the town square. Bingo! We’d scored ourselves a gig in paradise.

Down at the square an hour or so later word had spread and a rowdy audience was gathered. We climbed onto the truck and soundchecked in twenty seconds flat. B.P. Fallon appeared bang on cue with The Pogues’ accordion player, James Fearnley, who was quickly hauled up to join us. We struck up a boxcar-train groove and lit into a set of country songs, all rattling Tennessee Three drums and slide guitar licks punctuated by Anto’s rasping sax breaks, while I traded lead vocals with the two Stetsoned Cowboys. Between numbers I heard the unmistakeable sound of someone shouting for ‘Red Army Bluuuuuues’. This plaintive holler, a plea for the least-played, most-requested Waterboys song, our own personal ‘Freeeeeebiiiiiird’, had followed us on tour from L.A. to Tel Aviv and someone was even shouting for it in this mad Irish mountain fastness. Halfway through the gig I noticed Liam Ó Maonlai, the young singer from The Hothouse Flowers, in the crowd. I loved his bluesy swagger and deep voice, and with his floppy fringe and piano antics he was like an Irish Jerry Lee Lewis. I reached down and pulled him up from the crowd and asked if he’d sing a song I’d heard him do a couple of times. He agreed, I gave the band a signal, and we smashed into Iggy Pop’s mighty ‘Cock In My Pocket’, with its all-time great lyric, ‘I’ve got my cock in my pocket and I’m rootin’ down the old highway!’

  1. On My Way To Heaven
  2. Maggie's Farm
  3. Girl Of The North Country
  4. Can't Feel At Home In This World Anymore
  5. Tangled Up In Blue

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