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MUSIC REVIEW (Live)
The Pogues
Live at Roseland Ballroom, New York NY USA

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Date: Thursday March 15, 2007


The Pogues
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Roseland Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Wednesday's show at Roseland was cancelled at the last minute because Shane fell off the stage ("fell on stage" is the official word) at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston on March 11. With much trepidation I called Roseland the afternoon of the 15th and the ornery woman on the other end of the line said that yes, the show was happening (she had no idea the show the previous night had even been cancelled). Having played for ten years in a band that played many of The Pogues' songs, it was about time I saw the real thing... and it certainly wouldn't be the real thing without Shane MacGowan at the helm, wherefrom he has often strayed but thankfully returned for the time being.

Roseland is a cavernous room that would nicely hold a college basketball court with accompanying seats. Instead it houses two stages (one at the end and one at the side which is used for fashion shows and smaller events) and the standard U-shaped balcony around the top half. Lines of sight are great from everywhere except behind the pillars which line one wall, and the sound was definitely decent at least near the stage. Openers Langhorne Slim did an admirable job of warming up the crowd with their stripped down celtic-rockabilly tunes but with no offense meant to the band, it could have been a pair of dancing monkeys opening and few would have noticed as everyone was holding their breath waiting to see The Pogues and specifically what stage Shane would be in (references to pain killers in the message on their web site only increased the anticipation).

The Pogues came out with a whimper (Repeal of the Licensing Laws, an instrumental song) and looking their age, then MacGowan was wheeled out in a wheelchair, hunched over and just mobile enough to reach the drinks and cigarettes on the small cocktail table to his right. When the band broke into Streams of Whiskey, the night began in earnest. The barrage of If I Should Fall From Grace With God, Broad Majestic Shannon and Turkish Song of the Damned got the momentum going and only let up occasionally when MacGowan was wheeled off the stage for an instrumental song or a few like Thousands Are Sailing where he didn't have vocal duties.

Though his movement was limited to drinking, smoking, grasping the microphone (which spent most of the night in the stand), occasionally pounding his forehead on the microphone or attempting to spin the mic around on the stand (with limited but occasional success), MacGowan still managed to entertain with his mumbled, oft unintelligible introductions to the songs. Despite his apparent alcohol and/or drug-induced stage, MacGowan pulled off most songs flawlessly except for a stumble in Sayonara where the whole band had to time-shift to return to the point in the song where Shane had stalled briefly.

After two encores, the band came out with saxophone in tow for Fiesta, and what could possibly become the second most legendary wheelchair-related rock show came to an end... unfortunately without Fairytale of New York, but it is closer to St. Patrick's Day than Christmas I suppose...

Set list (according to MusicSnobbery.com, I didn't keep track):

* Repeal of the Licensing Laws
* Streams Of Whiskey
* If I Should Fall From Grace With God
* The Broad Majestic Shannon
* Turkish Song Of The Damned
* A Pair of Brown Eyes
* Boys From the County Hell
* White City
* Young Ned Of The Hill
* Tuesday Morning
* Kitty
* Sayonara
* Sunnyside of The Street
* Body of an American
* Lullaby of London
* Thousands Are Sailing
* Dirty Old Town
* Bottle of Smoke
* The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn
* Encore: Sally MacLennane
* Rainy Night in Soho
* The Irish Rover
* The Star Of County Down
* Poor Paddy
* The Auld Triangle
* Fiesta

Other reviews/mentions:

http://www.thetunamelt.com/
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/arts/music/13pogu.html
http://www.musicsnobbery.com/2007/03/the_pogues_rose.html
http://musicsnobbery.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/03/15/pogues1.jpg
http://www.langhorneslim.com/

Steve Donnelly Email WWW

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