High on fame, high on the music, the craic, high on public acclaim, The High Kings packed out the Theatre Royal for a one-night return to the euphoria of the ballad session. To hell with recession, let’s have a session and what a rockin’ session it was. A night of great music, wild fancies, shut-eyed wans, come-all-yes, rowdy songs, rebel songs and sweet sad memories, rockin’ and rollin’ with Whiskey In The Jar and the anachronistic On The One Road.
This was polished entertainment, no rough edges, no long tuning; this was an Irish super group – a ballad and folk quartet of multi-talented, multi-instrumentalists.
With bottled water on stage not flowing pints, featuring a Mooncoin neighbour Darren Holden in powerful voice, Finbar Clancy of the famous family, Martin Furey of another legendary family and Brian Dunphy, a son of a showband hero. They gave us a great night out, a dash of nostalgia, some Clancy Brothers, some Dubliners, a lash of Wolfe Tones, a hush of the Voice Squad and great harmonies that Crosby, Stills and Nash would be proud of.
They ran out on stage and opened with Step It Out Mary and an amped-up bodhran and a drum pad to amp-up the foot on the floor taps.
The Fields of Glory – where boys become men changed into Cavan Girl with The Black Velvet Band, shining like diamonds lots of energy, attack and exuberance for Rocky Road to Dublin and Martin Furey hushed the house with Raglan Road.
An acapella The Auld Triangle slipped into a sweet, sensitive Fields of Athenry, full of beautiful harmonies. A Liam Clancy style The Rising of the Moon closed the first half.
A long interval suited the audience in need of cool air and cool refreshment and you could bring drinks into the auditorium (The Barn Bows to Booze).
Red is the Rose and Willie McBride opened the second half as the mood got more clappy with a clever hand clapping routine for a lilting Little Beggar Man.
This band showed their pedigree with such musicianship and vocal skill for Is A Eirne and a haunting Boolavogue before Darren Holden rocked the place into The Leaving of Liverpool and the party was in full happy swing. Five happy girls in the front of the balcony were a cheer leading section, carefree and rockin’.
A Clancy medley was sad and nostalgic with a rousing salute to Liam and his brothers, not forgetting Tommy Makem, before the house rocked into On The One Road (Fintan O’Toole ate your heart out). The Irish Rover was a massive blast of a finale with a beautiful Parting Glass and a wild Whiskey In The Jar.
What a night, it really was, such a night.