My teenage daughter Alice is a big Gilbert O Sullivan fan and there was a time when I knew all the lyrics of Nothing Rhymes and we travelled to Dublin to hear the Waterford born singer in the Olympia Theatre. Backed by a 11 piece band including string quartet, 2 backing singers , lead and bass guitar drums and sax and keyboard player, he delivered two very energetic sets, mixing hits from his back catalog with more recent material. With a giant screen as a backdrop , the set was enlivened by photos , aninmated clips and videos . This certainly gave a fresh input into Oowackadoo and I loved the video of Gilbert duetting with Peggy Lee . The New York orchestral musicians seemed to play with a particularly emphatic brio that was palpable even in two dimension format. Gilbert gave interesting introductions to the songs setting the context for the material. . The centre stage was taken up with a baby grand piano and in a token rock star gesture , G clamboured on top for an encore rendition of Get Down but he was at his most comfortable sitting and performing from an electric piano, seeming a liitle ill at ease standing without any barrier between himself and the audience. There is an edginess to his stage persona which does make him a compelling performer if not an easy listening one . There is a certain poignacy to a 64 year old artist peforming to a backdrop of images of his stunningly handsome younger self
The large band were spread out across the stage and I regretted that we could not see the string quartet very well as they were place fairly far back one side and with a very full band it was not always to make out the string lines . Occasionally there were small coordination problems suggesting that this might be an early tour night. The audience was made up people in the 50 to 60 age group for whom G O S songs would have featured in the soundtrack of their adolescence. There was a bit of dancing in the boxes and one gentleman stood up occasionally and sang along with the star from his spot in stalls.
|Waiting at stage door The Houlihans|
Following the concert as a large crowd gathered in the lobby to meet the star while at the stage door I met the three Houlihan sisters , loyal fans who were waiting hopefully to have a few words with Gilbert. Full marks to his management team on the lovely display of album covers and memorabilia in the the lobby, a nice touch.