Monday, October 12, 2009

Rocking out with the Pogues

Sweet Jaysis, the Pogues can put on one hell of a show. Yes, it was the Roseland, where everyone sounds good and yes the crowd was filled with maniacal fans, but they really brought it last night. A few things set the show apart.

First of all, ShaneMotherFuckingMacGowan. Good Lord, how is that man alive? The entire band was assembled on stage ready to kick off Streams of Whiskey, and about a minute later he wandered onto the stage looking like a man who just wrapped up the Circle Line Pub Crawl. His banter was completely incomprehensible, the only thing I caught was "Portland, you're fucking wonderful." Spider Stacey encouraged the crowd to yell approval, and eventually everyone cheered whenever he dropped a few phrases. He knew the words to the songs, and while his voice has lost, shall we say clarity, he still has the shout and scream.

The fans were quite something else as well. There was a neo-hippie element of camraderie on the floor. There was lots of stranger hugging and swaying (someone tapped me on the shoulder and said "this guy wants to hug you.") On the other hand, there was more moshing than I have seen since a Helmet/Jesus Lizard show back in 92. It was "I love you man, can you hold my beer while I go slam into those guys?" Irish, I guess.

The crowd appeared to know all the words, so there was lots of audience participation. I think the highlight was Philip Chevron stepping to the mike to sing Thousands Are Sailing, a song he wrote. If you don't know it, it's a song about Irish-Americans and their relationship with Ireland. Chevron sings about Irish-American life in the 20th century and then questions why Irish Americans love Ireland so with these words:

Thousands are sailing
Across the western ocean
Where the hand of opportunity
Draws tickets in a lottery
Where e'er we go, we celebrate

The land that makes us refugees
From fear of Priests with empty plates
From guilt and weeping effigies
And we dance

4 comments:

Christopher said...

What a show! I have seen them quite a few times between 2005 and now, and unfortunately this was BY FAR the worst state I have seen Shane in. Most of the other shows he was much more lively and intelligible. But the band was having fun and the crowd loved it, and that's what counts. I have to say that the crowds at Pogues shows have been some of the best I have seen, drunk but happy, all in love with the music and having a great time.

I'd say one surprising highlight was Shane wandering back on stage as the lights went up and singing along to the Led Zeppelin outro music, air-guitaring with a bottle of wine and a shoe in his hand. Hope they come back to Portland next year!

Jennifer said...

I saw them the night before you, in Seattle. It was a great show, but I wish the crowd had been as enthusiastic as the one you describe. There were certainly pockets of Absolute Fans (dancing, singing along, etc), but there were also groups of people just standing there, grim looks on their faces. Disheartening. It's a f*cking POGUES show, for God's sake.

Shane was not very intelligible but I managed to make out most of what he said (about 45 to 60 seconds after he said it).

Neill said...

T that Helmet and J Lizard show back when was SCARY!!

Tripp said...

Christopher,

You're right, I think the pure excitement in the room and the fact that the band kept it together made up for Shane's state. Such fun. I hope Shane makes it to next year alive and that they come back!

Jennifer,

There was one guy in front of us who didn't move a muscle. He should have gone to the back, wasting space, he was.

NBK,

Yes, that show still gives me nightmares. I think actual skinheads may have been in attendance.

Tripp