Having seen The Waterboys several times in the last three or four years, I had a reasonable idea of what to expect. What I expected was a rousing performance, with passion and virtuosity wrapped around leader Mike Scott’s strong songs. They are one of those bands that, for me anyway, are always best appreciated in performance, rather than on the stereo in the living room. And in all of these respects, it was the case last night.
Scott’s current band has a very strong line-up – Zach Ernst on lead guitar, Muscle Shoals sessions bass player David Hood, “Brother” Paul Brown on keyboards, with stalwarts Ralph Salmins on drums and Steve Wickham on fiddle. They all gelled extremely well, and it was obvious that they were massively enjoying playing together.
The set lasted about an hour and 45 minutes, and consisted of a fairly even mixture of old and new material, with number of songs from their new album, “Modern Blues”. with “Rosalind (You Married The Wrong Guy)” being particularly memorable. But it’s unfair to single one song out of such a strong set. The only oddity was a cover, played straight, of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” – good enough, but a little out of keeping with the rest of the songs.
The only disappointment was that the support act, Jarrod Dickenson, pulled out of the gig due to illness – hopefully not serious. Having to wait around for the hour between the start of the support slot and the scheduled time for The Waterboys could have been more productively spent, but it passed eventually, and the gig ended up being well worth the wait.
There are still several dates left on the current UK leg of The Waterboys tour, so if you get a chance to go, I recommend it – you won’t be disappointed.
Still a Freak
A Girl Called Johnny
We Will Not Be Lovers
Nearest Thing to Hip
Rosalind (You Married the Wrong Guy)
Roll Over Beethoven
Song of Wandering Aengus
Wonders of Lewis
The Return of Jimi Hendrix
Don’t Bang the Drum (Mike Scott & Steve Wickham duo)
The Whole of the Moon
Long Strange Golden Road
How Long Will I Love You?