Roma and I went to see Gilbert O'Sullivan in concert at the impressive new Grand Canal Theatre last evening. The show was excellent, and a real trip down the nostalgia lane. We had seats in the fourth row and we were right in front of his grand piano for a perfect and close view of his performance. GO'S had most of his chart success in the early 1970's, so his classic songs have been around for a long time. He is now 64 years old, but has lost none of his voice or charm. Most of his songs are love songs with a story to tell - so a GO'S concert requires quite a deal of listening and concentration on the words. As a bad listener, my mind sometimes wandered - this was not helped by the presence of two beautiful backing singers! He had 11 people in support (including a String Quartet) who provided an excellent sound - acoustics in the new theatre are excellent.
All the old hits: Clair, Alone again (Naturally), Ooh Wakka Doo Wakka Day, Can't Think Straight, What's in a Kiss were delivered in great style along with a mix of excellently performed songs from his many albums, most of which I don't recall. The dreaded "Here's a song from my new album..." worked out really good - especially a funny song about being allergic (to clothes on girls, rules in school, and work) - I might even buy the new album when it comes out later this year. For an encore, GO'S finally got the audience on its feet with a rousing version of Matrimony and the highlight of the show (for me) Get Down. After the concert I bought The Berry Vest Of album with all his hits (€15 - which I thought was OK for a concert).
I had the good idea of driving in early and getting a pre-show dinner in the Crystal Boat Chinese restaurant on Grand Canal Docks. We parked in nearby Barrow Street and made the restaurant in good time. I was a bit worried that a restaurant almost right beside a 2,000 seat theatre on concert night was almost empty. The best that can be said for this restaurant is that it is take-away food at a table. There are several superior restaurants in this area - take my advice and go to these instead.
The first single I ever bought was GO'S's Get Down. This was in 1975 (it was a hit at the end of 1973). I bought the single (45rpm vinyl!) in a Paris record shop while on an exchange with a French lad called Thierry de Pettiville (salut Thierry de Irlande - au cas où vous vous jamais Google!). We didn't buy singles in our house (later my sister Kayo did in her Bay City Rollers phase) - so it took me a long time buy my first (I only ever bought one other single - Fernando by ABBA). As my only single I played it over-and-over on our mono record player at home.
Finally, the evening was spoiled somewhat by my car being clamped - this is the first time this has happened to me. It was clamped at three minutes past ten (22.03 on the ticket) - the zone had a Pay-and-Display sign for 07.00-24.00 which I did not see. In fact it never occurred to me to even look, or be suspicious why there was a free space within short walking distance of a theatre. I did not even think to look - the €80 release fee will make me more careful. I could moan about the injustice of being clamped in a quiet area at ten o'clock on a Saturday night, and the disproportionate fine of €80 for not paying a €2 parking fee, but nothing makes you feel more stupid than sitting in your car waiting to be de-clamped (they came within 15 minutes). This, on top of my recent penalty points and a close shave last week in avoiding a parking ticket at 08.55 in Blackrock, is clearly showing that I am "losing it". Nobody told me that when I turned 50 that all of a sudden I would break a spotless (not counting a summons in the early 1980's for no light on my bicycle) record on the road. As GO'S might say (sing) - I'm a Writer, not a Fighter, so I'll just grin and bear it, and try harder the next time....
Told you once before, and I won't tell you no more,
So pay your fee, your fee, your fee,
Pay the Corpo with a pound (euro doesn't rhyme)
Or you'll be Out of Bounds
(with apologies to GO'S for murdering his Get Down lyrics)!
Yes, this is a shameless plug but it might answer a few questions you have about the man behind the piano but we've just finished making a documentary following Gilbert over the course of 18 months touring and recording a new album.
It is screening in the IFI in Dublin as part of the Stranger Than Fiction film festival on Friday evening and Gilbert will be there to answer some questions as well.
Hope you can make it,