My big bummer story is being one of the first fifty into
a Whelan's gig before the recording of Turf. The first fifty were invited to the studio to
be the Live Audience to record Turf ... but I had booked to go home to Australia - SO MISSED OUT !!!!!
Paradiso, Amsterdam, I guess 1993.
Luka came back several times for encores, apologizing to the light-
and sound engineers, people were leaving because they needed to
catch last buses or trains, and he continued on and on... the last
time he crawled, tigering like a soldier, back on stage, pulled
himself up using the microphone, and sang another three or four
songs... incredible... it must have been almost three hours!
Highlights: In 1990 at the Park West when I asked him to play City of
Chicago and he did. I felt like such a special "anonymous, faceless" person
in the crowd!
2000 - when I met up with Uncle Flip, Vicky, Tara and Jonetta from the List
when Luka played at the Vic in Chicago. My sister and I stayed with the
Listers after the show and got to meet Luka for the first time. He was very
warm and friendly -- putting up with my nonsense with kindness and good humor.
The biggest highlight was when my sister and I sang "A Frog Went A-Courtin"
for him and he came back and asked for one more round. hehe.
Disappointment: When, through no fault of his own, Luka had to cancel his US
tour in the summer of 2001. I was planning to see him in Chicago and at the
Milwaukee Irish Fest in Wisconsin. Broke my heart... but now I've got
something wonderful to look forward to --- his return to Chicago!!
For me a highlight was meeting Luka in Manchester in 2001 and front row seats at the show!
Second, coming into contact with other luka fans mad about his music via the lukalist!
Having Luka hold his hand out from the stage to shake mine at the end of a gig and
pulling mine away because I was too in awe,
and having the opportunity to be the only person in a venue apart
from Paul Scully watch Luka rehearse and not have the courage to say
a word to him.
Running into Luka outside a cafe the morning after the Hobart show last year and
having the courage to ask him to sit with us, which he did, and having the pleasure of buying him an apple
juice, and him remembering and apologising for running out of flowers
before he got to give me one the night before, and also remembering
that I had written him a letter or two!! Almost made up for the "big
bummer" story, but I'll always regret a missed opportunity!
As for highlights, it would have to be the
look on his face when my friend Jennifer and I had learned all the lyrics to "I
Need Love" and were singing it back at him from the audience at a gig in
Providence, Rhode Island. We were quite besotted at the time and I think he probably
thought we were completely around the bend, and at the time he was probably right!
But we had a blast and I look back on that night many times and it always brings me a giggle.
Again, a tough one, as every one of his gigs I've been to ranks up there as a
favorite, but I would have to say it would be the Róisín Dubh in Galway,
in the summer of 1999, sitting in the midst of new lister friends and next to Luka's son Robbie,
and basking in the glow of the intimate venue with the newly made life of my little girl
percolating inside me along with the music. It was such a special evening and will
long remain one of my absolute favorite gigs.
Oostende last year:
I remember boats floating on the water, seabirds circling high above my head, salt on my lips,
the letters of Vincent Van Gogh packed in my backpack. There is this empty square filling
up with people wearing beautiful clothes, hugging each other, bringing children along.
And then finally: a guitar with finger-prints on it is put on stage. I guess that's the moment the
voice in my cd-player (kind of a god really) turned into a human being. At first there's a little
search for contact and then I can see him surrender to what's inside of him. There's this man
who's really enjoying what he's doing and he passes that joy on to me, it stays with me for
several days, even comes back now when I listen to songs he played that evening. Only
a small 'bummer' : I had to leave before the show ended because I had to catch the last train.
I can still remember turning back, seeing Luka with his guitar in his hand, in the spotlight far away....
oh yes I was definitely hooked!!
1994 or 1995 -- Luka and Christy in a small coffee
house in Rathgar in Dublin. One mike in the corner, one stool. Luka played and sang,
then Christy played and sang, then both played together. Magic.
The way that Tilleys used to be, the backstage
area was literally a little area on the way to the bathrooms. I was lining up for the girls'
bathroom about 3 hours before the show, and struck up a conversation with a gorgeous
man who curiously was hanging out there too. Had a wonderful conversation, fell madly
in love, and didn't realize until he came on stage that I'd been talking to Luka all that time.
In some ways I'm glad because had I known I probably would've made a goose of myself,
but I'm also bummed because I didn't get to tell him just how much his music made me smile. One day.
Sitting on a seat, not being able to dance to the music, like
in the Stadsschouwburg of Brugge.
Weirdest venue was with Lisa and Ed down at Santa Cruz.
It had a five foot high stage and then round table and
chairs set up twenty foot back from it. Only fifty
people were there but all sitting down. When Luka came
on stage he said "Would everyone like to come forward".
Lisa, Ed, and I raced forward to have out heads just
pokeing over the lip of the stage below him. We then
heard an almighty scraping behind us as almost everyone
else dragged their chairs up and arranged them in neat
semicircles behind us. A few people stood with us.
You could see that Luka was as amused by this behaviour
as we were and he wryly stated "Or you could bring your
chairs". It was great fun though.
The T-Shirt-Story is too awkward to tell, but still "my highlight". To make
a long story short - some day I found a picture of a ballerina on a surf
board. What is the best text for this picture? Right: Water Ballerina! I
copied the text, took the picture and had everything printed on a t-shirt.
There was a funny incident at one of the September
shows at the Tin Angel. This woman was talking and drinking to the side of the stage
and when Luka had a sound problem with Judy, she stuck her head next to his and
whispered "Are you going to play I need love?" He said I'm kinda busy right now.
When he came back for an encore he remembered the request and announced a little
earlier in the night a woman came up to me and asked if I was going to play I need love...
a voice from the audience said "She left." Luka looked absolutely crushed.
And someone said sing it for us anyway. Someone threw a daisy which hit him right in the
middle of the chest. He went off on a singer-songwriter slaughtered in Philadelphia vein
and someone said the woman left because of the bad look he gave her... He replied
defensively I didn't give her a bad look and a woman in front said yes you did you gave
her a cross-eyed up in the air look. Audience chuckled loudly. This produced a whole
discussion on whether or not he could do a cross-eyed up in the air look and ended with
him saying "I'm going to smile at yas for the rest of the night. You're beautiful and
I love ya." Everyone clapped and I think the man thought he had it under control
again until a little angelic voice came from the audience again. "Mr. Bloom,
I believe in you." I can't describe his face at that point, tehehe... needless to say
he screwed up the lyrics to I Need Love royally and nobody gave a damn.
Last summer's cancellation notice came too late for me to
cancel 2 weeks of vacation time. I had planned to go to the Milwaukee,
Chicago and Michigan shows. I ended up still going as I brought my
niece to visit our cousins, but of course it was very disappointing.
Ooohhh.....so many. The NYC fleadh in 98 stands out-bummer, as Luka didn't
make it there. Highlight, as it was the first time I had met other listers.
I spent a lovely weekend with Vicky, Rhonda, and Kevin (oh, and Vicky's dad -
FABULOUS guy, that Tito). We also met Tess and her man at Richard Thompson's set.
The soundcheck in Chicago in 99 is obviously also a highlight...got to sit at the bar and watch basketball with Luka, as well.
99 Fleadh was also good- even if Luka wouldn't give me a kiss. :) (Those of you who were there know what I'm talking about!)
Also, seeing Claudia and her sister sing "Froggy Went A Courtin" for Luka
at the Vic was great. (That whole weekend was fun- got to meet Claudia's
family, and spent some great time with them - as well as spending Saturday
with Claudia, Vicky, and Tara. Heck, I even enjoyed getting lost on the way
back from taking Vicky to the airport next morning!)
giving luka a big fat hug after his performance at féile bhríde but not
knowing who he was (I couldn't hear the introduction at the gig) and later learning who it was that I had warmly embraced
giving luka the first brigid's cross I had ever made knowing it was made out of local rushes that grow on the property where I live
My husband asked me to marry him after the concert in November. Hearing about Luka and feeling like I have found the most precious treasure
that I get to share with everyone I know.The excitement that maybe one day I will be to thank him in person for making my heart smile.
Getting the concert tickets in the mail for an August 2001 concert in Grand Rapids, Michigan and finding out it was canceled.
Boston 1997. Luka had walked into the clothing store I worked in and
was struck by the red maned woman I worked with. He invited her to the show and I forced her to take me.
After blowing the place away, he sat down with my co-worker and myself and chatted for a good hour.
There had been a gig at the Roxy that was cancelled so they
honored the tickets from that show, removed the seats and everyone stood to watch the show.
The room was very small. I was in high school at the time so I wanted to be up front and center.
We all sat on the floor waiting for the show to start. When Luka walked on the tiny stage (which was
only about maybe 3 feet tall) we all stood up. I was really close, needless to say. He played beautifully,
of course. I know I was smiling alot. I hope he didn't mind.
Somewhere in 1995 or close to that year, Luka
came to Leuven (town with largest student population in Belgium)
to play a kind of benefit concert for Aids victims. The audience was
simply the best crowd I was ever part of!! Although it was winter
and very cold outside, the tent was crowdy and warm in all
possible ways and meanings!! I'm sure Luka himself still
remembers this gig as a very special one!
Sept 1991, Yeats Festival, Dublin: Luka played
a couple of songs, some of the other artists were Mike Scott (playing Sunny sailor boy
and Luka heard it for the first time) Hothouse Flowers and a few others.
Cancellations of two Philly shows. At least we had
a nice dinner with Rena, Erwin, Crys and Claire at the Painted Parrot Cafe.
During a life recording at the Kleine Komedie
Amsterdam the 12th of March 2000. I sat in the middle of the first row and armed with
a half-a-litre bottle water and "dropjes" because I had a bad throat I got
an awful cough attack during True Blue which I try to suppress with all the force I had
with the result that I nearly blew myself up what made it worse. I got my lesson:
NEVER empty it before a gig is over and one litre bottle water next time.
Pinkpop, early nineties (he came up on stage on a bike, and played 45.000 people 'plat' on his own)
Writing my dissertation I played Turf a lot. It helped me through some stressful times.
The gig in Brussels, Octobre 2000. It was an amazing concert, I took some
nice pictures, got a live-recording afterwards and for me it was the
(re-)start of a wonderfull friendship with the person that had been (and
still is) one of the most important persons in my life.
I missed the chance to see him live in montréal '93. My friend opened the show.
I think, that was in Tilburg/ NL, a few weeks before my wedding in '98; we
met with Ronald, Annemarie, Martijn & some others from the list... it was also I heard "Gabriel"
for the first time - the last song of the encore - wow! Great gig, nice memories...
After my mum's return from her first gig in New York -
telling me how great it was and after Luka wrote a message to me after mum's second gig in
Manchester. Sure that my highlight will change after Munich though! I am having guitar lessons
and to be able to play some Luka tunes one day would be great.
Suikerrock, Tienen, must have been 1998. Just before the encore, Liesbeth got sick
and started to faint. I carried her to the red cross post, where two helpers, a tall one and a
short one, insisted on carrying her on a stretcher to the doctor. First
they ran in the wrong direction, me chasing them, then the latter one
tripped over and fell on top of Liesbeth on the stretcher. By that time we
were just under Luka's nostrils, while he got into his encore "I'll walk
beside you" - funny combination. We heard the end of the concert from the
medical tent, next to the stage.
Hearing "As I Waved Goodbye" is always a
highlight; the whole of the 12th March concert at the Kleine Komedie was amazing; hearing BTMTM for the first time...
Since I've been in Ireland, I've found out about all of Luka's
dates AFTER the fact! (I just learned that he was in Wexford in December -- boo!) Hoping to rectify this soon.
Bummer: being in Ireland & missed seeing him by 1 week.
One special concert I have to mention is the
great performance he did at Neerpelt (Eurorock) two or three years ago. He
came on at this new-wave/metal event after a big rainstorm which soaked
everyone even in the tents. He started singing for a few people who dared to
come out and were interested in this "mellow guy" but after a few songs the
crowd grew larger and larger and everyone forgot about their soaked
underwear until he got off from the stage.
Anecdote time: Mullingar, Westmeath, Ireland
He sez to me, carryin' Judy & Rudy, "Where's the gig?"
"Back room, it looks like a fall-out shelter, ya can't miss it"
"Grand", he sez. I popped down to see that he was alright
and he was sound-checking his voice with "As I waved Goodbye".
An Audience of one, nice.
Favorite song, Live: "Exploring the Blue". Not sure why I picked this.
I saw him in Mullingar last year and Anna said, "What would you like him to play now?"
I said, "God, I really don't know." Then, he played this. Then I heard that the man who inspired the song
hanged himself, just before Christmas 2001. But, the song he moved me with more that night, was
"As I waved Goodbye"
Luka Finest Moment: When 3 others liked him too,
and went to see him as well and all they wanted for Christmas was "Turf".
Van Gogh's Earlobe, Early 1994 - I have some very vivid
memories...it was an 'alternative yuppie bar' in Brisbane. Unfortunately alot of people there were there to be 'seen',
and not to see Luka. I remember at one point Luka saying "I'm only here
for a little while longer, so could you please be quiet for a moment".
The place did have atmoshere, and it was very intimate, if you could
block out the wankers. Also, I remember it being very hot, and one of
my friends passing out... For me, it was one of those precious moments where you lose yourself,
but find yourself & where I get caught in the moment... I was blown away by his skill,
repoire, energy & depth. Every gig is a very special moment though.
Highlight: Meeting Luka in Doolin Cafe, 2/01.
Disappointment: I was very sad to not have been able to see him in the US this past summer.
Hopefully 2002 will bring the Man back to the states without any immigration hasseles.
Highlights: ---> Being born on Luka's birthday,
May 23. ---> Enjoying the proximity to Luka from my front row seat despite being in the
throes of the flu (Denver, February 2000.) Allowing Forgiveness to take me into a powerful
waking dream, and at the turning point, the ringing
chords lifted me into a joyful vision of dancing barefoot on a cliff in Ireland. --->
Luka rolling onstage on an acoustic motorbike.
Talking to Luka briefly before his show at the Iron Horse in Northampton,
MA 'round about 1993 or 1994. He was soo cool. Still is.
I love to bike as well, and I often hear the lyrics of acoustic motorbike running through my head.
The virtual explosion of energy and power in the song Mary Watches Everything.
After years of not playing I took up the guitar again inspired by Luka's music.
I have several guitars, one of them constantly tuned
DADGAD, and since 12th march 2001 signed by Luka himself (and one of the members
of Guinan & Red, opening act, told him to write "for sale" on my guitar
instead, which he didn't....)
Not knowing when Luka is playing in Ireland
until the last minute and finding Ryannair want a fortune to get me there !
Luka having to cancel his appearance at the Milwaukee
Irish Festival last August. I was going to see him at the Tin Angel(?) in
Philadelphia, but I put it off because of his (at that time) upcoming gig at
the Irish Fest. Very disappointed.
Every performance is amazing, but if I had to pick a
favorite it would be the Blackthorn in Easton, MA about 1-1/2 years ago,
because I had the wonderful fortune of finally meeting the man (as well as
some listers). He's just as kind and gracious as you'd expect, and he took
the time to really have conversations with fans, pose for photos, etc. (That
show also featured Luka's priceless facial expression when Anna created a
surprise disco ball effect during "Dancing Queen".)