We were like big children on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come. Seriously.
It has been 20 years since The Commitments movie, based on the novel by Roddy Doyle (which was set and filmed in Dublin) was released. Roddy Doyle is from Dublin's Northside, from a working class estate that is very close to the area I was brought up in. His writing is hilarious and the comments he attributes to his characters are real and not at all fabricated. Exaggerated perhaps, but not fabricated! Believe me.
My journey into the O2 was by Dart, with the soundtrack blaring on my iTouch, naturally! One cannot travel in this manner to see The Commitments Band and not remember the scene filmed on the Dart.
THE RHYTHM OF SOUL
IS LIKE THE RHYTHM OF RIDING...
We sat through and enjoyed the support Band - The Fallen Drakes, a Dublin band who had won the competition to support The Commitments at the Dublin show. They were fantastic and are very much a band to watch out for. While they were playing and as the time for the big event of the night got closer, the crowd got bigger and the excitement levels soared.
It was palpable and burst it's banks as soon as The Commitments (The band and the girls) made their understated, yet dramatic, walk on stage and stood lined up in front us, basking in the huge welcoming cheers from the equally huge audience. Oh, wow.
I sensed a most definite feeling that they were home. A circle was completing.
I actually had tears in my eyes!
Shortly after they were joined by Robert Arkins singing lead vocals, he who played Jimmy Rabbitte in the movie. I really enjoyed his performance.
THE IRISH ARE THE BLACKS OF EUROPE
AND DUBLINERS ARE THE BLACKS OF IRELAND
AND THE NORTHSIDE DUBLINERS ARE THE BLACKS OF DUBLIN
SO SAY IT ONCE, SAY IT LOUD:
I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD....
As that last movie quote appeared on the large screens I felt another circle completing.... the 20 year economic one. Oh how things come full circle.
The girls, Angeline Ball and Bronagh Gallagher were on stage for most of the three-and-a-half hour gig and were absolutely fabulous. They were missing one of their trio though, the equally fabulous Maria Doyle-Kennedy
THEY'LL BE EATIN' CHIPS OUT OF OUR KNICKERS...
I have to admit though, I had initial reservations about there only being two girls performing, but those reservations were immediately discarded.
Angeline was as stunning as ever and put in a fabulous performance, as I expected. I must say though, Maria Doyle-Kennedy's absence allowed another female star to shine. Bronagh Gallagher was fantastic and looked terrific too. She has a lot of heart that girl..... and soul.
WOULD YOU HAVE ANY ROCK SALMON?
NO, SORRY... WE ONLY HAVE SOUL.....
I'd say there were quite a few guys hungry for chips in the O2 Arena last Saturday night!
In time the not-so-mini tornado that is Andrew Strong burst on to the O2 stage! Oh my, that guy has some amazing energy and one heck of a voice (see the final video clip for proof!) At the tender age of 17 he played the part of the exceedingly annoying Deco who received some...ahem....advice in the movie......
......YOU EVER CALL ME A FUCKIN' EEJIT AGAIN,
YOU'LL GO HOME WITH THE DRUMSTICKS SHOVED UP YOUR HOLE...
THE ONE YOU DON'T SING OUT OF...
Thankfully he just played himself in the O2 and was absolutely amazing!
It was evident from them all how emotional they felt playing at this particular venue. Everyone in the audience felt it too. It was special.
I honestly felt throughout the whole show that I was at something really, really special. An event that would go down in history as the night to remember.
Who will ever forget when Glen Hansard brought soul back to Dublin when he sang his amazing semi-a capella version of fellow Dubliner, Phil Lynot's Old Town. A truly memorable performance that had everyone covered in goosebumps.
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN THE STARS OF THE COMMITMENTS PLAYED THE O2 IN 2011?
YEAH, I WAS THERE..... AND I STILL HAVE MY TICKET....
That's an adapted quote from the gig NOT the movie!
After these amazing performances the show finally came to an end.
Obviously we couldn't let them go without clamouring for an encore. And when the stomping of feet and the rousing choruses of MORE, MORE didn't quite elicit their immediate return, we reverted to the more predictable, successful and very Irish chant of..... Ole, Ole, Ole Ole.... This prompted a quick thinking lighting guy, to revert to the Irish tricolour ligting plan from earlier in the show. Or perhaps we really were that predictable! The much sought after encore promptly followed to rapturous applause! One could almost imagine the roof coming down!
Although I know they must have rehearsed this, their encore had the very endearing and genuine quality of being something unrehearsed. It was amazing, special and made our hearts sing.
If their initial walk-on had tears in my eyes then their final ensemble bow had me bawling!
It was seriously something else to see all of them lined up like that. Together. At last. The circle completed.
And then, just as they were leaving the stage...... when we thought it was all over..... out the corner of our eyes we could see Glen hanging back and talking in earnest to Bronagh.
They came centre of the now empty stage and treated us to a brief, impromptu, a capella version of Destination Anywhere. Just a verse and a chorus but what a treat.
What a show!
A heart warming and soul-raising performance to lift any of us from the mire we find ourselves in. The whole nation would benefit from a night out like this.
As a nation we may currently feel, in true Commitments style that we're.....THE BLACKS OF EUROPE
However there's only one way to deal with that.... SO SAY IT ONCE, SAY IT LOUD: I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD....
It is good for us to remember that although our nation may not have any ROCK SALMON we most definitely.... HAVE SOUL.
Believe all this Dear Nation and before long we'll once more have Europe... nay, the whole world....
...EATIN' CHIPS OUT OF OUR KNICKERS
Just keep singing and smiling....