Posted by: mdmusingsie | December 30, 2013

Flowers Are Great for New Year’s

These particular Hothouse Flowers are roses of a different species – a one of a kind hybrid of the musical variety.  The concert may not have been on New Year’s Eve, but that adds to the enjoyment without the madness and mayhem.

A sizeable crowd packed Whelan’s in Dublin on Sunday night and hopefully all those who didn’t have advanced tickets were able to get in as the Flower’s always deliver a high caliber performance.

I like that they really change up the tunes with each concert and not just the order.  They generally pull a few out of the closet to mix in with fan favorites, keeping the shows from becoming cookie cutter in nature. Among those dusted off this year were Give It Up and Movies – the latter being one of my personal favorites. They also mix up the arrangements to keep things fresh. This version of Movies was at about 2/3 of normal speed, and although I prefer the slightly faster version, nothing of the essence was lost in the new arrangement.  Despite trying to plant a telepathic seed in last year’s post, it seems to have failed to germinate as missing were any sign of new tunes which might lead to a new CD (we can only hope that our thoughts and wishes for new repertoire will eventually blossom – such a wealth of talent must be preserved).

There’s no faulting their integrity and passion for the music, belting out over 2 ½ hours of nearly non-stop tunes (with only a short 1-2 minute break before the encore).  Even though they don’t frequently play gigs together these days, they move seamlessly from tune to tune without a printed set list, further enhancing their reputation as consummate musicians.

What the band delivered in energy was matched by the enthusiasm of the crowd, who were definitely rock-n-roll minded as they couldn’t seem to quiet down sufficiently for the Sean Nós numbers by Liam and Fiachna.  The sub-par sound system at Whelan’s also prevented the audience from harvesting those little tidbits of side-story that are the added spice of live performances.  Not even Liam’s excellent diction could overcome the weakness in the amplification and Fiachna’s intro to Amhrán na Trá Báine was virtually lost in the noise and garble.

I must say, a cravat does suit Liam well – gives him quite a debonair appearance.  Except for possibly the Grizzly Adams look he occasionally dons, most red blooded women, myself included, think he looks good in just about anything (and probably in….well, I think I’ll just keep that pleasant little mental picture to myself – this is a G-rated blog).  He did remain shod throughout the performance this time, though that did not prevent him from dancing as if no one as well as the whole world were watching.  The saddest part was seeing his beautiful harp sit motionless beside him throughout the evening.  As it had been placed in such a prominent position this time, I had high hopes for at least one tune, but it was not to be.

Whilst I can easily walk for four hours without issues, my aging back doth protest to standing for that length of time (between the queuing outside, the wait for the concert to start, and the set itself), so I took a seat up in the balcony, only to find an annoying net, likely placed to keep the errant knocked over bottle or glass from smashing down atop unsuspecting attendees below, obscured my photo taking opportunities.  There was a black and white projection screen in the balcony, but the resolution wasn’t good enough to catch the whole band clearly.  Hope you still enjoy the best of what I could capture, and if not, you’ll just have to see them in person yourself.

Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh!


The Lonely Harp


Packed Crowd at Whelan’s


Liam in cravat and cowboy hat


Band in projection screen in balcony


Stupid net!


Peter, Liam and Martin (and the lonely harp, arís)


Dave and Fiachna (stupid net, arís)


  1. Looks like a good time, Dawn! Happy New Year—Marie

    • It was fabulous!
      Thanks, Marie and Happy New Year to you and Dale.

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