Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Waterboys...

I've had an ongoing love affair with the music of The Waterboys for nearly three decades.

I first heard a crackly bootleg tape of one of their early gigs when I was about 16 or 17, and I instantly fell in love with their big, driving sound and pseudo-Celtic rock mysticism that was part WB Yeats and part William Blake, with some 1980s politics thrown in.

Their debut album, The Waterboys, with its haunting masterpiece, Gala, and the still brilliant Savage Earth Heart impressed and still does. But my adoration of that album was soon overtaken by the excellent second album, This Is The Sea, and the booming third, A Pagan Place.

Then they released Fisherman's Blues in 1988.

Some fans loved the raw Irish folky rock sound of the 1988 album while it bemused others who wanted more of the heavily produced sound of its three predecessors.

I loved them all and have consistently bought anything The Waterboys or Mike Scott as a solo artist has released since, so I was delighted when they announced they were doing an anniversary tour to celebrate 25 years since the release of Fisherman's Blues. Even better, former band members Steve Wickham on violin and Anthony Thistlethwaite on saxophone and electric mandolin were also onboard. And they were coming to my home town. Tickets were rapidly bought.

And the gig didn't disappoint. They played lots of stuff from Fisherman's Blues but also dipped into other albums with A Girl Called Johnny, Don't Bang the Drum and The Raggle-Taggle Gypsy.

Singer Scott was an engaging and charming frontman and the memory of this gig wiped away the stain of the only other time I saw them, which was in 1990 when they touring the Roam to Roam album and they put on a pretty lacklustre show in Southampton.

But this gig was wonderful and I was delighted to finally see the fabulous Waterboys gig I'd waited almost 25 years to see. Happy camper...

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