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The Pogues

The Pogues: Live in Dublin, IrelandLive in Dublin, Ireland (2001)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: CosCos
(others by this writer | submit your own)

That Shane McGowen is still alive after all these years is something of a miracle. That he decided to reunite with the Pogues is something else altogether. For reasons still uncertain, McGowen reunited with his former band mates for a string of shows across Britain and, for one night only, grac.


That Shane McGowen is still alive after all these years is something of a miracle. That he decided to reunite with the Pogues is something else altogether.

For reasons still uncertain, McGowen reunited with his former band mates for a string of shows across Britain and, for one night only, graced the Irish shores in the nation's capital, Dublin.

The concert was still only a reunion and as such, the typical downfalls were felt with the 2001 Pogues. Everyone in the band was older, most were a bit fatter and the often heralded stage energy was almost non-existent. Only James Fearnley, the man with the accordion, really made an effort by running about the stage and indulging in a few punk rock jumps.

Most of the energy that night came from the crowd itself. The massive Point Theatre became a giant pub sing-along, as the group tore through a set list that read like the track listing for 2000's "The Very Best of the Pogues" with very little stage banter. The Pogues did do their best to get the Christmas party going, however, by opening with a string of rockers–"Streams of Whiskey", "If I Should Fall From Grace with God", and "Boys From County Hell" (incidentally, the band was selling shirts with the line "lend me 10 pounds and I'll buy you a drink" on them).

The most unfortunately aspect of the night was the state of McGowen. His drinking over the years has been no secret, and for this and/or other reasons, he stepped off-stage about every third song. The man just didn't look physically up to the performance. In his absence, the Pogues played "hits" off their later albums. Being Ireland, where the people are ferociously loyal to its own (everyone has at least three U2 albums, Thin Lizzy are still popular), the crowd sang along politely, but they probably didn't pay thirty pound to see Spider Stacey front the band.

After over an hour of music, the band took a break (or set up a staged encore, however you look at it) and returned for a few more songs. One of the final two were the epic "Fairytale of NewYork"–again, irrationally popular in Ireland, if only because it's the only pop Christmas tune they have. Its played about twice an hour by every radio station in Ireland during Christmas time. The finale was something special–the introduction of folk legends the Dubliners, and a rendition of the classic "The Irish Rover".

In 2001 the Pogues certainly showed their age. But with such historic reunions becoming increasingly rare or just plain stupid (re: Sex Pistols), McGowen and company returned for seemingly all the right reasons: good times and music.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
FelixT (November 15, 2007)

"less than a year prior they only spoke of each other to insult?"

What? What the hell are you talking about? Shane and Spider were still friends even when Shane was kicked out from the Pogues, Spider even played tin whistle in Shane's band The Popes, both live and in studios.

And this review is really bad. People should stop talking when they don't know what they are talking about. Sorry to be rude, but I've got The Pogues tatooed on my heart, and I am sick of people relying on the old clichés of Shane MacgowAn's drinking habit to write some shitty review.

And Fairytale of New York is hardly overrated, and even if it were, it's definitely not because it's the only one they have in Ireland. I am Canadian and I will say that it's the best Christmas song ever written.

Anonymous (August 14, 2004)

god bless shane mcgowen. he moves mi feckin spirit, lak notin else. he is beautiful

Anonymous (February 14, 2002)

Matt Hensley is in Flogging Molly, dude, not the Pogues. It's the difference between Spam and steak.

Anonymous (February 13, 2002)

Matt Hensley is in the band, and that gives them a goldstar in my book. -suspect device

Anonymous (February 9, 2002)

if you want to hear what the best of these gigs sounded like, go to http://www.shanemacgowan.de/MP3/mp3.html -- someone posted the entire 12/23/01 show in London (tracks 1-26) and a few tracks from the 12/16 show in Manchester (27-34). the sound quality ain't great, but it's a bootleg, whaddaya expect?

-- I've also heard that an official live album, taped at the two London shows, is being released later this year... and a live album by Shane MacGowan and the Popes should be out by the end of this month in the US (order from Amazon).

Anonymous (February 8, 2002)

No one did, and I doubt anyone would ever pay £30 for the bullshit Shane MacGowan-less Pogues. Except maybe when Joe Strummer fronted them for a bit.

Anonymous (February 7, 2002)

First, it's MacGowan. Second, the Pogues were a band after MacGowan left. Why wouldn't they play songs that he didn't sing? I would be more upset if they played strictly MacGowan-era songs. Third, you say that he reunited for "reasons uncertain." Uh, the reason is drinking money. Why else would Shane and Spider stand within 100 feet of each other when less than a year prior they only spoke of each other to insult? And people were paying thirty pound to see the Pogues after Shane left. I know that it's a huge deal that Shane is back, but these people would've paid that money even if it was the Pogues without Shane. Your point is moot. Anyways, I only rip on your review because I'm fucking jealous.

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