The Pogues, Live In The Point Depot, Dublin
In the lobby, the queue for the men's toilets is 50 yards long, and there is no queue for the women's - definitely a Pogues gig. Mundy, fair dues, braves the challenge of supporting the unlikely returned heroes, and does very well too, getting the hall in form for the near-sold out gig at the Point. If it's been over a decade since we've seen the Pogues play together, it doesn't sound that way tonight.
We are blown away by a fine, polished set that never falters. MacGowan is in flying form from openers Sally McLennane and Broad Majestic Shannon to the closing encore (okay, so we don't understand every word he says, apart from the odd "fucking scumbags" followed by the familiar wheezy cackle).
A Pair Of Brown Eyes and Lullaby Of London set people waltzing in the aisles, but it's the following string of belters like If I Should Fall From Grace With God, Streams Of Whiskey and Bottle Of Smoke that get the front line of the crowd into that proverbial, pre-Christian, post-closing time, primal, Gaelic surge of sheer unrivaled madness that only a true Pogues gig can create. This is it: and the only place to be is down in the pit with a bunch of sweaty young males jumping on your ankles and grabbing at your waist, as that unrivaled wave of brutal Irish sentiment rocks over the venue - tri-colour and all.
When Ronnie Drew steps up onstage for Irish Rover, even those in the back balcony deliver a standing ovation. But it's not just Drew that gets a special turn. Ian Ranken does his party piece - Star Of The County Down, Cáit O Riordan (looking splendid in gold lamé, it must be said), delivers A Man You Don't Meet Every Day, and Terry Woods' words, "it's a pleasure to play for you" are reflected at each reprise - you can see the enjoyment of the band as the crowd roars their approval of all the old favorites.
You can't argue with several thousand throats bellowing the words of Dirty Old Town or Thousands Are Sailing: it's as good a party atmosphere as you will get in this somewhat miserable post-Celtic Tiger (my arse) Christmas Dublin, with its smoke-free bars and its Bewleys-less, American marketing campaign-infected streets. But then, this is the perfect spot to perform that sublime anti-Christmas carol, Fairytale Of New York. Everyone rises to the occasion, with even a wobbly waltz between the singers, and one imagines that the late great Kirsty and Strummer are somewhere overhead in the spotlights, pints in hand, joining in.
Afterwards, with a promise of "one last song" from MacGowan, the deranged intro of 'Fiesta' sets the crowd off again, and Christmas seems just that bit brighter two days before the big day of 2004.
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