by Michael Chapman
Last Tuesday in St.Louis Missouri it was a dark and stormy night… no, really it was crazy stormy! Reports of hen’s egg sized hail, the sky was yellow and green, and water spat from the angry heavens. Yet the wife and I ventured forth hastily to a major local concert venue, The Pageant, to witness what turned out to be arguably the best live concert I have seen.
The opening act, The Lost Brothers also from Ireland, were lovely as well.The sweet acoustic based songs were well received by most of the crowd, other then the obnoxious couple seated next to us. They felt it appropriate to discuss their day and share photos they had stored on their smart phones instead of respectfully listening to the opening act.
While The Lost Brothers played some jaunty tunes from their latest release, The Passing Of The Night,
my wife and I literally had to ask the couple “will you please shut the F@&K up!?” Yet still the show was not ruined, ‘how’ you may ask? By the amazingly skilled and entertaining Glen Hansard. The lad was all over the stage like a ring master and his crowd were swept away by his passion.
Although the evening started with the floor of the venue structured, with rows of chairs zip tied together to keep it nice and neat, it did not stay that way for long. By the third song Hansard had called for the fans in the elevated areas of The Pageant to come down to the floor and join us. As the fans poured down to the floor the evening’s energy picked up and never relented.
Hansard, his friends from The Frames, and accompanying musicians playing instruments used in some traditional Celtic music were raucous at times and the crowd joined in their enthusiasm. One of the best features of the night was Hansard’s willingness to interact with the crowd. From taking requests (already on the set list or not), to bringing up one young lady from the crowd so she could take a band group photo.
One of the most beautiful moments of the evening was the opening of the encore. Hansard and violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire played “Gold” and “Say It To Me Now” without any amplification, toeing the edge of the stage so even the audience members furthest back could hear it’s beauty.
Hansard’s horn section paid tribute to St. Louis area’s own jazz great Miles Davis in one of the most playful moments of the evening. There were solo songs, songs from Swell Season, from the soundtrack of the film Once, and even Hansard’s previous band The Frames.
There was a Van Morrison cover, a Marvin Gaye cover, nods to Pearl Jam, The Band, The E Street Band and tons more, but not in a filling space way. It was an amazing homage to bands that play rollicking, raucous fun filled shows with blue collar, rhythm and blues tinged country songs. Seriously, in every way this was the best concert I have ever been witness to in my thirty seven years.
Prior to the concert I tweeted @Glen_Hansard asking for him to wish my lovely wife a happy birthday as it was the day before. Two songs into the concert Mr. Hansard graciously complied with my request and wished my wife Molly a happy birthday.
You can follow Michael on Twitter @NUFC_monkey as he discusses Wrestling, Football and the importance of growing a beard.