The night began on a sombre note as Donal Dineen served up a feast of visual and aural delights, a montage of polaroids backed by his own deftly mixed soundtrack. The running theme of 'When The Time Comes' seemed apt on a night like tonight. This was the time for Mr Gray...
The man himself emerged at 9.00, along with Tim (keyboards, bass, sampler) and the unmistakable drummer, Clune. The night exploded with 'Sail Away', an up tempo fast beat from the new album. It set the tone appropriately for the night, and began the proceedings, David's head movements telling us he was in fine performing mood. Next we were given a masterful rendition of 'Babylon' and eventually we were treated to 7 songs from the 'White Ladder' album.
A brief but beautiful medley from 'Sell, Sell, Sell' yielded two great songs back to back, 'Late Night Radio' and 'Faster, Sooner, Now'. On a similar pace, David gave a terrific treatment to 'Please Forgive Me', with him taking over lead keys. Of course, older fans were treated to the classics, 'Shine' and 'I`ll Lead You Upstairs', both proving predictably popular, while played with genuine enthusiasm.
For the quieter moments, 'This Year`s Love' proved even more heart-rendering live as it does recorded, while David previewed three new songs, including the gentle 'Flame Turns Blue' and the far-reaching 'Northern Sea'. Next it was 'We`re Not Right', which David noted was apt for the band tonight (having cracked up laughing at the end of 'This Year`s Love').
The night was elevated beyond a typical 'good set of songs' concert to a magnificent affair, thanks largely to the stage presence of David, who obviously loved the devoted attention from the crowd, and also the on-stage antics of Clune, always livening up proceedings. It was clear that David was enjoying himself and lapped up every second of the deserved praise.
After the first section, we received the first of three encores, during the first of which he received a gold disc for sales of 'White Ladder' in Ireland. On a high, and through deafening applause, Dave commented "this is easier than singing", before launching the rousing sing-along 'An Afternoon`s Debauchery'. The crowd were relentless in their love for Gray, and were rewarded with song after song (the total for the night was around 20!).
What everyone assumed was the final song, was an epic, beautiful version of 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye', given immaculate treatment, and never sounding better. Saying their goodbyes for the second time was no reason not to come out again. And that they did, perhaps helped by the continuous standing ovation until they did. So they arrived, saying they could be here all night. And we would have stayed all night too. And so to the great finale, a semi-proper, semi-adlibbed 10 minutes masterpiece. It included everything from Dave's show-off speedy guitar to impressions of the Easter Bunny, leading Dave to proclaim "free the bunny!". It was fun, and a great way to end the night. He must have been exhausted; God knows we were. A truly unforgettable evening of wonderful music. And we can say we were there when it all happened.
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