View Full Version : Planxty in Galway

Dec-06-2004, 6:30pm
Hi folks,

I've just got home from the first of the current round of Planxty gigs in Galway. My kids and wife are all asleep and I have nobody to jabber excitedly to about the gig, so I figured I'd write about it here...

I got big into them when I was fourteen which was a few years after they broke up and I never thought I'd see the day when I'd get to a Planxty gig, so tonight was a big deal for me. You could say I've been waiting for this for over twenty years.

It was great to see them in Galway, because this is where they had the first gig that made them realise they had something special (playing support to Donovan). Luka Bloom (aka Barry Moore) played support tonight and that was nice too, as his first big gig was as a 17 year old playing support to Planxty, also in Galway.

Leaving aside the sentimental stuff for a minute, the music is still great. Now, speaking honestly, there were rough spots - some rhythm slips, a false start or two and a fairly big mistake from none other than Dónal Lunny. I think the next gigs will be a bit smoother - there was a bit of settling in going on tonight. But nobody cared - they still played great and all the better if they're human. Plus, when they had a false start on a tune called "The £42 Cheque", Christy Moore quipped "Only another £41 to go". Priceless.

Lunny and Irvine's interplay on guitar / bouzouki / mandola / mandolin / guitar-bouzouki is indeed a joy. "Little Musgrave" was worth the price of admission alone. Lunny has a pretty lovely Yairi guitar on which he tunes the bass string (or strings - I couldn't be sure) way down. It sounded like they had a bass player at times. I was in some good mandocentric company (including Jaws and Spencer from the Cafe here) and it was fun to ogle all the lovely instruments.

I could go on at length but the bottom line is, tonight I got to see four individual masters of their craft play together in a truly masterful band that rightly attained legendary status. It was wonderful to see these seasoned compadres still playing great music together all these years later, still enjoying it and, perhaps only now, getting the recognition they deserved.

Dec-06-2004, 9:02pm
*Goes green with envy*

Dec-07-2004, 6:43am
Well, I can only say that it was good to hear that such great musicians can actually be human at times. What I'll remember from the gig is the fantastic twin mandolin/bouzouki playing of Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny on the intro and outro to Little Musgrave, sweet, simple yet complex, and brilliant.
Liam O'Flynn's piping on reels is as smooth as ever, and Christy Moore still looks like Homer Simpson.

Another moment to remember was the Blacksmith/Black Smithereen's. Lunny kept upping the tempo while playing rythm on the bouzouki so hard I thought his goal was to break at least three strings. Add to that the fact that I think the sound guy upped the volume a bit, so it sounded less like old Planxty and more like Planxty - now trying to start a mosh pit!
Being one of the youngest in the crowd I had no objection to it, it's great to hear them not only to be able to play with finesse, but also power, conviction and enthusiasm.

Other highlights: Liam O'Flynn likening his spotlight to a 747 landing in New York, a good rendition of Arthur McBride (probably my all-time favorite song), and an oft overlooked aspect of Planxty, the great harmony singing they are capable of. Donal Lunny especially has a great voice which is not heard often enough.
Note for ticket-holders of future gigs. The pre-encore ovation brought them out for three more tunes, after which I think the audience figured that was that, and left. I'm convinced that if you keep the crowd going for long enough after the initial encore, you can get them out again. Please, do try!!!

And Padraig, we'll say no more of what transpired during the intro to Raggle Taggle Gypsy # http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

(and I was taking a small study break, thank you very much http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif Exam went OK, BTW)

Dec-08-2004, 7:06am
Not much left to say after Padraig and Jaws, other than to third the comments that it was a great concert.

When it first was announced that they would play in Galway, Jaws suggested I come over, and I quickly accepted. In the meantime, it turned out that the Chieftans were playing a charity concert Friday evening, so we got tickets to that too - Another fine concert, no mandolin but a lot of good music.

Saturday afternoon I heard a local session at a pub as well while enjoying a pint or two.

Stumbled across a Bluegrass session Sunday evening at the Weigh Inn, so I got to play with some locals. 2 mandolin pickers, myslef included, one guitar/mandolin player, and the dobro player finger picked a bit on the mandolin, so we had them outnumbered. Left that session and walked across the street (almost) to see Sharon Shannon. Mary Shannon plays electric mandolin and tenor banjo quite well, so I got some more inspiration. They had a fantastic guitar player, whose name unfortunately escapes me. What an exciting group.

Monday night was the Planxty concert, so well described earlier in the thread. It was a real treat to watch and listen to Andy Irvine play.

Not a bad weekend, we even had a little sunshine!! Came home yesterday, hardly needed an airplane as I was still flying high.


Dec-24-2004, 1:07am
Padraig and Others,
if you want to write in more detail about the gigs I have a YOUR PLANXTY STORIES (http://www.chinatogalway.com/Stories%20YOURS.htm) Section on my site, and it would be of great interest to all to read. All personnal reviews and stories VERY welcome.

For those who missed the gig, I have a few photos of the SAS Galway gig 2004 (http://www.chinatogalway.com/Gallery%20Page.htm) Up in the gallery section, I hope you enjoy them. For those that have ANY Planxty photos from the night or of any of the gigs I would love to hear from you.

all the best and have a great Xmas