Many of us weren’t around in the original Horslips days but we can surely thank our parents for introducing us to one of Ireland’s most memorable bands. At a triumphant gig in The O2 though we were reminded of why they are held in such high esteem. The band’s musical arrangements were as impressive as ever and it was an inspiration to see a band that hadn’t played together for several years come across as if the band had been playing gigs every night in dancehalls throughout Ireland.
However, with this comeback they were missing original Drummer Eamonn Carr who decided not to re-join the band due to personal reasons, but instead percussionist brother of guitarist Johnny Fean; Ray Fean (who has toured with Riverdance and The Waterboys) came onboard. With his long locks and rock ‘n’ roll image, it helps the band thread a path to the style of the ’70s, something that the rest of the band decided not to keep up with. The nostalgia was heightened also by the pictures oif their glory days displayed on all the big screens throughout the show.
It was clear that the band were overwhelmed by the audience reaction. State has never been to a gig that was so tame but yet so lively at the same time, with some people trying their hand at jigs and reels and others dancing around with friends reliving memories. We even chatted to a few people whose first date was a Horslips gig and 30 years later; here they are again practising their Irish dancing skills.
The livelier tunes were mixed with some Celtic instrumentals and slow sets. The gig was still going strong at 10:30pm by the time ‘Trouble (with a capital T)’ one of their biggest hits echoed through the O2’s sound system. This was shortly followed by the number everyone had been waiting to hear ‘An Dearg Doom’. It’s easy to say that the O2 has probably never rocked so much before this.
This was followed by a surprise presentation to the band with plaques of their albums, a mark of their achievements and they looked so excited they were nearly in tears. We were sure that this was the show finale but nearly just to prove us wrong they came back with their instruments a blazing and finished up the night with a fantastic version of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates’ Shakin’ All Over
It goes to show how much we pay for gigs these days and how little we get back. These guys reminded people how it was done and played for over two and a half hours. Great gig, a great bargain and we really hope that it’s not the last we see of the Irish Celtic rockers.
Photos by Kieran Frost.