The Granary, Killarney
Thursday, 17 February 2005
My name is Gill and I'm from Cork, Ireland. I feel I have to let you know of my amazing experience
seeing Luka play last Thursday night in Killarney. I'd normally see Luka play in De Barra's in
Clonakilty, Co. Cork, but made the journey to Kerry for a change.
The Granary is a lovely small intimate venue and the sound there is great. Luka had a girl from
Boston called Meg (didn't get her surname) on as a warm-up act, she was fantastic, very talented
altogether, writes all her own songs and has a beautiful voice. He came on stage after 9pm and
started his set with Sunny Sailor Boy, I think initially the crowd were a bit shy and didn't participate
as Luka would be used to in Clonakilty. In all the times I've seen him play I've never seen him
play such a varied mix of his songs.
I didn't get the songs in order but he played "I'm not at War" which I've never heard him sing live,
you could've heard a pin drop and I'd goose bumps all over. Other songs he played were
Primavera, Innocence, Gypsy Music, No Matter where you go, Thank you for Bringing me here,
First Light of Spring, City of Chicago, Make you Feel my Love, and THE MOST amazing version
of Diamond Mountain (which I'd heard sang before but never like this), I'm a Bogman (which went
down well with the Kerry people as did) Acoustic Motorbike, a Cure Song which I didn't get the
name of, and many many more songs that I just can't remember.
He came back for an encore and after that got a standing ovation and had to come back
again to keep the crowd happy as they just could've get enough of him. He was truly in top
form and looked as if he was thoroughly enjoying himself. He told some entertaining stories
in between songs and had everybody in stitches. I managed to have a word with him after
and he said he enjoyed the gig. One word of warning though, if (like me) you were holding
out on buying the CD 'til after the concert to get his signature DON'T, as the record shops
in Ireland are slow enough to stock his music, he wants people to go in and ask for it rather
than buying it after the show. He said he is really excited about playing Australia and the
next 18 months of touring.
All in all it was my most enjoyable experience of seeing him live and I've seen him approx.
6 times in Clonakilty, once in Dingle (St. James' Church) and the INEC - Killarney with Christy,
but last Thursday night was the most special.
I'm envious of those of you who'll see him soon. Enjoy every minute and savour the experience.
Vicar Street, Dublin
Thursday, 24 February 2005
Well, I treated myself to see Luka in Dublin on the 24th. I had a winter recess from the job,
and everything seemed to fit nicely into place. And so there I was, at Vicar St!
I flew out of Newark, NJ to Chicago and then on to Dublin, a round-about way, but it saved m
e about $300 off the price of the airfare. As I was waiting on the tarmac, looking out the window,
I sang to myself "FROM the City of Chicago, as the evening shadows fall....".
It set a very special mood for me -- my little joke! Eh, Chicago is quite lovely in the evening.
There was a lot of security at Vicar St, and they were very strict about people loitering
about the inside door of the venue. But before we were ushered away (into the bar area)
we saw Alyanya coming in, as beautiful as ever, with her guitar strapped to her back.
What a treat to know that she would be Luka's support that night! As it happened, there
was supposed to be 'somebody else' for support, but at the very last minute they
couldn't come. So Alyanya was implored upon to save the day.
And Alyanya came through with flying colors, of course, singing with her lovely voice
her lovely songs. I was sharing a small table with 3 young people, and the one girl was
tapping her friend on the shoulder, saying "Settle down, be quiet, this singer is
The venue was full, but not unbearably packed. And it definitely was a crowd that knew Luka
and had seen him before. I did not get the impression of any 'newbies' or 'Luka virgins'.
I had purchased a single ticket, and was looking forward to mingling with the Dublin
audience and getting the Luka feeling. The crowd was very excited for Luka and welcomed
him onto the stage with much enthusiasm. I was very pleased for Luka -- he deserves a big,
warm, welcoming crowd!
And, he was very at ease with the crowd, looking all around, at every row of seats, up
and down,--- a very special technique he has! But, in a smaller venue, when Luka looks
into the crowd, he is able to catch your eye and is looking right at you, and you know it,
ha ha! So, happy for him when the crowd is large, but happy for us when the audience
Also, because the crowd was so large, I think he did not come into the lobby after the
show for this reason. So, no signing of CDs at Vicar St. And, this may have to do with
security reasons, as well. I suppose the venue didn't want hundreds of people milling about !
The show itself was much as Gill gave forth in the lovely review of Killarney. Luka opened
with Sunny Sailor Boy, but not too many people singing U wah U wah! He did much to
encourage it, but only a small percentage gave him the satisfaction of singing along!
And then a guitar solo (She Moved Through the Fair?) which beautifully flowed into First
Light of Spring. Whoa! That was breathtaking! And when finished with First Light of Spring,
with great care, back to the instrumentation. I was ready to jump to my feet for this, as the
arrangement was tricky and very well done. Alright, I will use the word 'stunning'!!
Then, many songs from Innocence. I would say the crowd was not very familiar with these
songs. But we fans who were lucky to see Luka last year as he was composing and
learning these songs of course knew them all!
He snuck in between the Innocence songs I Am Not at War With Anyone. I was very
moved and did not want to blubber, cry and sob in front of my companions! But, as
an American, this is a very wrenching song, and I broke down and cried the first time
I saw it on the website. This time, in Dublin, I felt just as bad, being aware of the
sentiment towards America and the war.
Tendonitis notwithstanding, Luka played some oldies: Make You Feel My Love, Diamond
Mountain, In Between Days. I love In Between Days, but I do not understand its meaning!
I was hoping to capture the meaning when he played it live, but... I still don't get it! :)
I had a good seat, several rows back, in the middle. A good view of comings and goings,
that is, of the exact moment when he entered the stage! I was wondering what his 'costume'
would be, you know, the clothes he wears for performing. He wore jeans and the short
sleeved black shirt, much the same as he wore the first time I saw him live at the Bickford
Theater in May 2003. Last year, with new songs and new image, he was wearing the
brown pin-stripe suit. Very handsome in it, too!
But I can see that music and performing are different in Ireland, at least on my short
visit to Dublin, as compared to the expectations of an American audience. In Ireland,
casual dress is the name of the game! In fact, when I came home, my sister asked
me How do people dress in Dublin? In America, we rather like our entertainers to
Last year in 2004, Luka's performances were done sitting down on a drum stool,
although how this is comfortable I'm sure I don't know! It suits his new attitude and
style, althought some fans bemoan the loss of the standing up, jumping up and
frenetic guitar playing.
So, imagine the supreme excitement when he was called back for the encore and
he played them standing up, like the good old days! I saw it as the best of both worlds
in one concert! So, the encore was: Here and Now, The Acoustic Motorbike, and Bogman.
Goodbye again.... and the crowd called for more, much clapping and whistling
and woooooooooooooooo-ing, but no standing ovation. Hmm, don't know why....
His last song was Don't Be Afraid of the Light That Shines Within You. He did sing
this at the Bickford in 2003, and unplugged the guitar and walked up the aisles of the
theatre. That old audience was in awe. Of course this was not possible at Vicar St! But
he did teach the song to the crowd to sing, and again, they are a rather quiet crowd,
I don't think shy, just quiet. He couldn't hear us, so he called to Paul to turn down the
volume of the guitar. Oops! The guitar got shut off altogether! So Luka held the guitar
up to his own microphone to catpture its sound, but it really didn't work too well that way.
But it was a most noble effort from a gentleman who had the audience in his care, and
for this girl, it endeared him to me even more. I will keep a picture of that in my mind
for a long time.
The bouquet of flowers was beautiful and very large. He did give that away to
someone that he could reach to, although he pretended to try and throw it.
There was a full moon that night of Feb 24, but it was bestowing its blessings
unseen from behind a thick cover of clouds. Nonetheless, we revelled in Luka's
songs all the way back to our hotel.
But here is the high point of my trip: I flew out of Dublin to Heathrow (and then on to JFK).
On both of these flights as the plane is boarding there is overhead 'piped-in' music.
It's just like, so annoying -- all this background noise! And the songs were a terrible
mix of terrible music and sitting at Heathrow I just sunk my head in my lap and thought
"That will be the day when a Luka song is played in this manner". And then,
the faint strains of a guitar that I knew... I jerked my head up....! It actually was
Sunny Sailor Boy being played by Himself! I sat up straight, hips shifting along.... and
wanted to shout "It's Luka, it's Luka, it's Luka!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I still marvel that there was Luka played in this manner! This is the first light of
spring, my loves!
The Basement, Sydney
Tuesday, 29 March 2005
First the Venue: This is the very first time I have been to The Basement
and I got a bit of a surprise. Going back to the 70's the place was
depicted as a crowdy, noisy, smoky place to hear great jazz. I was
expecting a bit more bohemian, maybe even a bit of saw dust on the floor.
Perhaps the 80's brought it up a notch with the stockbroker/IT "Suits"
making it very popular as a TGIF Drinking Hole as well as a venue for
The doors were still shut when I got there just after 7pm. A few were
there sitting on the steps and after a few hard knocks on the door, we
were let in. The place was like an up market pub, plenty of wood and the areas
looked well planned out. The bar was in the middle with a snooker room off
one side and the other standing room and then a step down to the table and
chairs area. This is where we sat and where ever you where in the room
you had a good view of the stage.
Thank goodness we had first sitting at 7.30pm. Some poor souls were still
waiting for their mains at 9pm. The food was good if a bit cool, but with
my mushroom roulade and the barramundi fillets was fine. We saw Amanda
Keller (a radio and TV personality plus Angela Catterns from the ABC.
Need I say that Angela did not do her normal Breakfast programme this morning.
I was wondering how she was going to get up at 4am after getting home in
the wee wee small hours. Hardly worth it. She could have just gone down
the road and started work.
The warm up artist was Monique Brumby who started off with a Suzanne
Vega's "My Name Is Luka". She was joined by Marianne on base
and they did a song dedicated to Paul Hester as did Luka later on. As he did not
know Paul and never met him, it was a nice gesture. (No Matter Where You
Go There You Are)
Then about 10pm The Man himself appeared. Just as relaxed as ever, ready
to swing into his repertoire. As I STILL do not have the CD (tried to get
it after work) I did not know all the titles. Luka sang 30 songs. The
last five were his encore. For his finale we were anticipating the Throw
Your Arms etc but he threw in Black Is The Colour and then finished with
the former. The night wrapped up around 11.45pm. My friends just had to
rush out and catch the last ferry to Mosman and I was not far behind to
get the train which would take me in my general direction. Pointless driving
into the city unless you want to pay exorbitant parking fees.
He kept pretty much up with the list from Brisbane and Melbourne with a
few extras thrown in. With Acoustic Motorbike which I really loved hearing
live, I couldn't swear but I am sure he put in a few barbs re Sydney
streets. Someone has been talking to him.
It was a wonderful night. Luka looked great and very relaxed. I always get
the impression that even though the tour might be gruelling he really
enjoys being here and the audience and loving every minute of it. It
wasn't as though the audience was not wanting to let him go, I got the
impression HE didn't want to go.
I loved the venue, good atmosphere, will go back again soon. The best
about last night, it was Non Smoking right throughout the premises.
People had to duck out into the street if they wanted to light up. So if he
considers performing there again I will definitely go there rather than a
Monday, 2 May 2005
Whew, just coming home from "Fabrik" a venue here in Hamburg Altona, where I spent
a lovely night with some lovely people, listening to tatatata: Mr. Moore the younger...
First the setlist:
1) First light of Spring
4) Gypsy Music
6) I am not at war with anyone
7) Peace on Earth
Now the smootchy season started:
8) The Lilies will have grown...
9) Diamond Mountain
10) Make you feel my love
Energy hit the room:
12) Here and now
13) Sunny Sailor Boy
15) Thank you for bringing me here (trying to calm us down, didn't work)
1st encore (me thinks it started here)
16) City of Chicago
18) There is a time - a new song (which of course was written for me again, as it starts with:
"too busy being right" :-))
19) Don't be afraid of the light that shines within you
21) Black is the colour
22) Acoustic motorbike
23) I need love (I won't tell, see for yerself at a theatre near you --- the new version is
another encore after the light had been put back on, some people leaving - but the crowd
demanded Moore: sitting there in his vest, singing:
24) Throw your arms around me
25) Raglan Road
Sandra and I (of course) arrived early and were shocked at the beginning CHAIRS!!!!! for crying
out loud, in Fabrik!!!!!!!
But then we did not waste time and sat down in the front row, friendly greeted by Paul (great to
see you again, GREAT JOB!).
At a quarter past 8 the room was half empty and I was worried...
I have to tell you we had lovely weather here for Mayday and still today, more than 25°C (that's in
your 70ies Americans) which is quite unusual for this time of the year up here in the north of
Germany, and I was afraid many people would rather stay outside and NOT go to a Monday night show.
BUT I was wrong: the room filled quickly and when the concert started - a wee bit late since the
entire city was sort of cut off by the police - they had found a bomb from the night bomber Harris
hit this town in 1945 - and therefore people had to face massive trafic jams and even the trains
did not run on time (that's today's Germany for you, that is..) there were people all around and up
stairs and even behind the stage...
So here we were in a packed hot venue and were taken in the very moment Barry started to play,
much more energetic than the last times I heard him.
I don't want to tell you much about the little stories in between or the way songs were played,
you will see it all happening in the next weeks all over Europe.
I want to tell you how happy I was, seeing this show and the artist in such a good mood, really
eager to play and sing - It was just great.
The sound has changed, I don't know whether for good or just tonight, but it was soooo good.
Thanks Paul. - And of course again: Thanks Luka for this lovely night.
You should have seen the lot, afterwards - serious promotion went on - the artist, the distributor
and the label owner - in so many photos were taken. Luka signed CD's after this exhausting and
very long concert and I am sure he enjoys a big "apfelschorle" right now.
Fair play to him!
An Cruiscin Lan, Cork - Tuesday, 7 June &
Dolan's Warehouse, Limerick - Wednesday, 8 June 2005
Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of seeing him play in the Cruiscin Lan, Cork and on
Wednesday night in Dolan's Warehouse in Limerick. Even though I'm from Cork I'd prefer Dolan's
as a venue, much more intimate and cosy. I thought Luka was in top form, he was so at ease and
comfortable and really seemed to enjoy himself. The audience could not get enough of him and
I must say I would have watched him play for another few hours if I could. In fact I've come to the
conclusion that I'd watch him play forever. He sang this beautiful new song which he penned
recently and I'm embarrassed to say I've forgotten the name of. On the Wednesday night in
Dolan's he played a beautiful Australian song that he learned for his tour over there as there
were a group of Australian fans in the audience. As we'd say at home the craic was mighty
and highly infectious and unfortunately the night seemed to end too soon.
For all of you in Belgium and Holland who have the opportunity of seeing the great man himself soon
enjoy every second. Sorry this is so short but am in a mad rush to finish up in work.
- Gill (who's still on a high from my Luka double fix)
> Dolan's Warehouse setlist
Klinkers Festival, Brugge
Sunday, 7 August 2005
We got to the Luka concert in Brugge, last Sunday.
We came in right during his first song, and we enjoyed the concert
so much I really can't reconstruct any song list. Luka played sitting down,
with Coogee, his Spanish guitar [a Fender CG-24 SCE Natural, if you want to
be precise]. It was in the middle of the old Burgh of Brugge (not the
market square as Luka said, but rather the administrative centre, where
there used to be the old cathedral and a castle, blabla). Anyway, lots of
old medieval buildings, his stage was right in front of the illuminated
town hall, and there was a crowd of a several hunderds. At first, when
there was still daylight, some people were sitting on benches and lots were
talking or ordering something to drink from stalls in the back. But when
darkness fell and Luka really 'dug into' it, people started to sing along
really really good (and I mean that) and even swaying and dancing. Anyway,
we tried to show the good example.
Let's see, we heard songs like I Am Not At War, Innocence, and June (right,
in early August, he knows), but some older work as well, performed in the
'innocence' or 'before sleep comes' style, like Rescue Mission, Gone to
Pablo, Sunny Sailor Boy or Diamond Mountain (one Australian clapped). And
really funny introductions. 'Here and Now' gave goosebumps, because it
gained a new meaning after the tsunami. The song really changed
after that event, I'll listen to it differently now. Mohammed was right on,
and meaningful as well, in a country where anti-immigration politicians
rear their heads. And it was beautiful. Gypsy Music did the same. We also
had the privilege of hearing the Saint Bridgit song, something he doesn't
do a lot. And we heard a new song as well. And tons of other stuff I won't
mention just to make you envy us. And because I'm sloppy and forgetful as well.
And then. For the encore Luka came back, his chair was gone, microphone
raised, and there came Rudy [a black Alvarez DY88BK, in case you actually
want to know numbers]. No soundchecking, just a simple "guitar, voice, turn
it all up, please". That's when the concert reached a boiling point:
Exploring the Blue (with some chord soloing), Make You Feel My Love (or was
that earlier in the concert?) and a jumping You Couldn't Have Come at a
Better Time. Everyone was having a really great time, couldn't have been
Anyway, Luka seemed glad to be performing in Brugge, the setting was
extraordinary, the crowd sang along like I've never heard before and we had
a very good time. See you!
Balor Theatre, Ballybofey
Thursday, 15 September 2005
Yet another excellent show from Luka in the intimate setting of the Balor Theatre, Ballybofey,
Co Donegal. As always with Luka, it feels as if you're sitting at a small party in a friend's living
room and the songs are being played just for you. Old favourites like "Sunny Sailor Boy"
with a nice vibe from the audience on the "Ooh Ahh Ooh Aahs", mixed with brand new
material such as Luka's additional verses, regarding the removal of yellow school buses, empty,
so they wouldn't be damaged in the New Orleans hurricane, on Woody Guthrie's "This land is
your land", sat very well together. Luka tried out a few new songs that he hopes to use on
his new live DVD - due to be released in 2006 and finished with the last song written by Ewan
McColl "The Joy of Living" which he'd just learned and was really enjoying singing.
Luka took us from the beginnings of his musical journey in Doolin in 1973 with the German girls
with tight T shirts, to the Iraq war with his "I am not at war with anyone" which he'd hoped
to sing for a few weeks, but is still singing a couple of years later, via the tragic seige in Beslan,
where Luka was moved to write an instrumental as he wasn't able to put the feeling into words,
to the now international "I'm a Bogman" with thanks to the Danish girl who gave him the Danish
translation. My own current personal favourite is Luka's version of "Make You Feel My Love" -
his song to sing at weddings. He never did tell us which song he sings at funerals!
Roll on the 2006 DVD, and all you on mainland Europe, go straight to www.lukabloom.com
find out where he's playing near you, and treat yourself to a laid back, chilled out night.
Tavastia Club, Helsinki
Friday, 7 October 2005
This was Luka's second visit in Finland within one year. Just one year ago he made three concerts,
also under headline of Irish music-festival which is an annual
event in Finland every autumn.
The venue, Tavastia is a traditional rock-club so I was a bit excited how it might suit for Luka and his
music. Last year I saw him performing in Kerava at a concert-hall and I liked that moody and quiet
First the speakers asked people to smoke in the bar and they got applauses for that.
Opening band was called Jane Raven. I didnt know anything about this Finnish group. Their
music was country-pop with Irish influences.
After that, 15 minutes for roadies to put everything ready for Luka. Table with a bunch of flowers
on the stage and a wine-red velvet curtain on background, that was all.
Luka came to the stage and directly got applauses, took his Spanish guitar and started to
twang a beautiful melody of his first song. Sound was great (despite of small humming-problems
in the beginning), his voice was ok, audience was silent and excited. Luka seemed to be in
a good mood and during the songs he chatted gently, told the stories behind these songs etc.
He got some laughs because of his jokes and good humour. Some conversation with people
too, about similarities between Finnish and Irish people ("we love to suffer"), about
the Cure and Robert Smith, politics etc... The audience also had a chance to sing chorus during
"Sunny sailor boy", "Dont be afraid of the light" and "Rainbow day",
and Luka was very pleased for that.
I was surprised to see how hard he could hit his quitar, so much energy on some songs
(thanks to the sound man because of the mellow and magnificent sound!).
The show lasted nearly two hours and people wanted more and more. Unfortunately after
four encore songs the concert was over. He threw his flowers to us and waved goodbye.
Songs we heard were:
I am not at war with anyone /
Open up your arms /
Blackberry time /
Here and now /
Gypsy music /
Peace on earth /
Love is a place I dream of /
Make you feel my love /
In between days /
Sunny sailor boy /
City of Chicago /
Thank you for bringing me here /
Don't be afraid of the light that shines within you /
No matter where you go /
I'm a bogman (he sang the chorus in Finnish: "Olen juntti!")
Exploring the blue /
Gone to Pablo /
Rainbow day /
You couldn't have come at a better time
- Mika Puhakka
Tuesday, 25 October 2005
Best gig yet. Longest gig yet! Thirty songs nearly!
Fair amount of people in attendance, it filled up very fast and after
a bit of jockeying for position we were rescued and waved upstairs to
huddle in a corner of the balcony. Fine by me, as I have the uncanny
knack of standing behind or under very very tall people.
Saw and said hello to Alyanya who is still lovely and delightful!
Eithne Ni Cathain warmed us up, singing very lovely sean nós tunes
plus a few folky ones. I have to say she seems much more comfortable
and sure of herself when she's singing in Irish rather than in
English though I would think that it has to be a bit nerve-wracking
to not only open for Luka but also open for Luka at Whelans, so fair
play to her! Lovely voice, lovely songs. The last song which had a
title that was Irish for 'prayer' (not going to try and spell it) was
Luka's set list, scribbled down by me - new songs without proper titles that I know are in quotes:
I Am Not At War With Anyone
NEW: 'There Is a Time'
NEW: 'Open Up Your Arms'
No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
Here and Now
Sunny Sailor Boy
In Between Days [The 'goth' moment.]
Make You Feel My Love
[Here Luka brought on Ken ("It is Ken, is it?")
[Kenneth Edge] who played
the sax brilliantly on the next few songs marked with asterisks.]
Peace On Earth*
Love Is a Place I Dream Of*
City of Chicago*
Thank You for Bringing Me Here - with Eithne
Gypsy Music - with Eithne & Ken
NEW: 'The Light Inside' - [for Rosa Parks] with Eithne
Exploring the Blue
Gone to Pablo
Love Is a Monsoon
You Couldn't Have Come At a Better Time
The Man is Alive / Hill of Allen
As you can see this was a neverending night of brilliant music. The
saxophone (or 'the thingy' as I called it later, because I couldn't
see him) was an excellent touch, what an amazing addition that was.
That's something we don't get much of at the shows in the states,
understandably of course - but it's wonderful to hear little
surprises like that. 'Love Is a Place' with the sax was the best
performance of that song I've ever heard.
The new songs were great. A couple of them I have heard, as far back
as two or three years ago in San Francisco ['The Light Inside'], but
one I had never heard before, the one I wrote down as 'There Is a
Time'. Lovely song, lovely.
It's very interesting to see Luka with a proper Irish home audience.
The Helix was a great event, but the crowd was a very mixed one -
described by many as a sort of musical UN summit. Whelans was Irish,
and Dublin with a few folks from the rest of the country thrown in
here and there, and that made it an excellent sort of a party
atmosphere. It really did feel like a session in a living room, Luka
and a few close friends and family. There was a very silly but joyful
attitude in the room - like McGann's in Boston times ten thousand.
And in half the space! Whelans is tiny!
'Bad' was outstanding, with the entire room joining in to sing it.
And, er, it was played for 'a woman all the way here from America,
who's fresh from her 47th U2 concert, but this is her 50th Luka Bloom
concert so she's got her priorities straight.' The crowd laughed, and some
joker shouted out "PSYCHO!" which is fair enough, I suppose.
Then Luka said, "I'll play the song for you but so long as you don't
start stalking me!"
Ah, a bit late for that, I suspect. Er. Right.
But the whole room lit up and sang the song and really, it was
magical and it's very nice that Luka played it because I've never
managed to get U2 to do it!
Wexford Festival Opera
Dun Mhuire Theatre, Wexford
Sunday, 30 October 2005
I wandered Wexford for a while, because the show didn't start until 23:30.
Wexford is a nice place. The people are very friendly and there were
nice shops and pubs, and the whole place is right on the water. The
bus journey there, while long, was in fact rather beautiful. Rolling
green hills dotted with stones and sheep, with the odd glimpse of
village and sea between the trees. And with the opera festival going
on in Wexford there was loads of art on display, opera could be heard
in the streets and all the pubs had live music going on inside them.
And it wasn't too crowded, which was also a relief.
Finally, I made my way to the theatre and bought my ticket.
The show had a standard set though Luka seemed determined to win over
the odd crowd with particularly funny introductions to songs and by
keeping things at a quick pace. He didn't play too many slow songs -
it was very late! - and the fast songs seemed even faster. I have
decided that 'Lonesome Robin' is one of my favourite songs, because
the guitar is just so lovely and the words tell such a compelling
story in a simple way. I'm very glad he's started playing it - I've
had it stuck in my head since Doolin!
And we got 'Bogman' - for me it was the first time in ages that I've
heard that song live, and it was brilliant! With the first chorus in
Finnish no less!
All in all a lovely concert, stark contrast to Whelans which was more
or less a big party. This was a proper sit-down sort of a show and
while the audience was very reserved (only a few voices raised for
'Sunny Sailor Boy'), they did laugh in all the right places and they
were properly appreciative of the songs. I saw quite a few CDs being
sold in the lobby afterward!
Savoy Theater, Düsseldorf
Sunday, 20 November 2005
After my first impressions of Luka from a Promo-CD of Boston Acoustics (for demonstrating speakers)
with some songs of the Riverside-Album, I joined him for the first time live on the 5th of April 1990 in the
'Live Music Hall' in Cologne. What an incredible experience that was for me!
Then I went to every gig of Luka in Germany, that was possible for me over the following years. The last
gig before the Savoy I've seen was on the 24th of February 2002 in the 'Grosser Sendesaal'
of the WDR in Cologne. So it was a long time I wasn't able to enjoy Luka live.
For all the times between the gigs I can only enjoy all of his albums on the cd, wich I proudly all own.
Every time since the first time I saw Luka live, I brought one different friend to his concerts to infect them
with the Luka-Virus, too. So I came to Düsseldorf with my good friend Andy.
The location was very nice, but the crowd seemed to be very lazy, maybe this was about it was
The gig was very nice and the mood was quiet and relaxed. The opener John Spillane was funny and
preparing well for Luka. My thought as a musician by myself, too, was that John Spillane played his guitar
not very clean. Maybe it was about he was nervous, maybe he can't play better, I don't know. If the
chance will be there, I will think about checking him out on another gig. But anyway, just as Luka came
onto stage, I had forgotten all about this stuff.
Relaxed, funny and friendly he opened with a little personal story about the actually situation
all around the world, the wars and the nonsense politics and how he wrote this special song
this one morning. Then he played this song called "I Am Not At War With Anyone".
Together with knowing about the birth of this song, I had tears in my eyes while listening to this
fantastic song. This is how I know and love Luka. I didn't know this song before.
Following he played some of the newer songs: "Open Up Your Arms", "There Is A Time",
"June", "Innocence", "Lonesome Robin", "Gypsy Music" and
Then we heard "Diamond Mountain", "Love Is A Place I Dream Of", "Make
You Feel My Love" and "Sunny Sailor Boy".
All the people were now under Luka's spell and deep inside this own world of music and dreams.
The mood was very silent now, except of the singing together on "Sunny Sailor Boy".
Me, for myself was sitting with closed eyes and slowly carried away from Luka's music.
While he played "In Between Days", "Peace On Earth", "Thank You For Bringing
Me Here", "City Of Chicago" and "No Matter Where You Go, There You Are",
I was just sitting there in this theater and forgot about all the problems we all have every day in our lives.
After the regular set, he played for bonus "Exploring The Blue", "Gone To Pablo",
"Love Is A Monsoon", "You", "True Blue", "Black Is The Colour",
"I Need Love", "Rainbow Day" and "Water Ballerina".
Of course, this last set included some of my very favourite songs of Luka, so I was in heaven now.
When Luka ended this gig, all of the people, including myself, seemed to be be sad that this
evening with Luka was over now. But anyway, some time later I sat in my car on my long way
home and was feeling very happy, still dreaming of going to Ireland some day and enjoy
Luka in some pub in Dublin, listen to his music and after this, sit and talk with him.
Savoy Theater, Düsseldorf
Sunday, 20 November 2005
John Spillane entered the stage in Düsseldorf for his 30 minutes interlude with the words that he was not
Luka Bloom but John Spillane and he managed perfectly to get the audience into the mood for a nice
Irish evening. To start as a pre-act must be a thanklessly task, but John did it very well.
Still talking to anyone behind the curtain, Luka entered the stage smiling accompanied by a cup of tea.
He said that he was not John Spillane but Luka Bloom... and started the evening with a local joke about
the rivalry between the cities Cologne and Düsseldorf. Then he sat down and looked around into the
audience carefully, contacted the faces around him and we felt very welcomed and introduced.
The old Savoy cinema, now used as a theatre, was not sold out, but this cannot be blamed on Luka.
The acts in this place will not be announced in ads, normally. Luka made his best and his songs
were intensive and strong in the very relaxed atmosphere.
I AM NOT AT WAR WITH ANYONE
I never heard it so simple and clear - the simple words of a simple man who could be living in any
part of the world. Luka showed at any time that his heart belongs to the whole world - he writes about
the ceasefire of the IRA, about what happened in Beslan. He sings about love in general and about
women in particular, about his homeland, about rain and about children. His singing and playing
is so unique and strong that every song seems to be his own - even if he sings a song by
"The Cure" (In Between Days). His show is condensed to the only important thing - music.
Only some light effects on the stage and a bunch of flowers on the table behind him.
SUNNY SAILOR BOY
The audience sat down relaxed and listened. It was a Sunday evening and regarding to Luka 'all had
a very strained weekend' and that could be the reason for the very elf-like chorus coming from the
rows at Sunny Sailor Boy. It could happen that the main part of the audience did not know all the
songs, but I am sure, after this concert they all got at least one CD of Luka.
After a short break he snatched our illusion he would have been changed his clothes for the second
part of the show - in his words he was just taking a leak. His straight appearance and his presence on
stage brought the irish feeling to the audience and he allowed us to take a look into his world.
Guilt without sex
Between his songs we learned that time is also running in Ireland. The business has come to the
island and meanwhile exhausted Irishman will come over to Germany for some relaxing days.
THANK YOU FOR BRINGING ME HERE
After some extensive and obstinate demanded encores Luka left the stage with the flowers in his
hands. We promise to take our family and friends to his next concert and we will occupy all the
red fluffy chairs at the Savoy Theatre.
- Pia Recht, Mettmann
De Oosterpoort, Groningen
Monday, 28 November 2005
Just back from the concert. Where do I start...
Well, let's start with the support act. I wasn't really impressed by
this young lady. Thought her music was quite depressing and found it
hard to tell the difference between some of her songs. But then
Oosterpoort is not really a nice venue. It's quite big and has a cold
atmosphere. Very hard for a young singer, so I'm wondering how she will
sound in Utrecht.
Then Luka... well it is a monday night. He was very talkative. When
he came to the stage he started telling that he just had to try a song
he wrote 30 years ago and that he had in his mind in the dressing room,
but that he only remembered one verse and the chorus....
So he started of with:
1) In Groningen (first part)
3) Open up your arms
Again talkative. A story about the Germans coming to Ireland in 1973,
but somehow I missed the connection to the song
5) Lonesome Robin
6) Gypsy Music
He told us he had a little accident the day before and fell down the stairs
and hurt the lowest bone in his back (don't know the English name,
stuitje voor de Nederlanders). He did move a bit difficult.
7) Diamond Mountain
8) Love is a place I dream of
9) Blackberry Time
10) Make you feel my love
11) Sunny Sailor Boy
(compliments for the audience, "we captured the mystical sphere very well")
12) In Between Days
I thought he asked pretty much of the audience changing from this song
to the next. I really had to switch, but it was an impressive combination.
13) Peace on earth
15) Thank you for bringing me here
16) City of Chicago
Then he was joined by Mohamed (Bouhanna) (only for one song :-( )
17) No matter where you go, there you are
Encores and change to his black guitar:
18) Exploring the blue
19) Gone to Pablo
20) Black is the colour
21) Te Adoro
22) True Blue
Of course he told a lot more stories and made several jokes. I found
the setlist real nice with songs from all over the years. Luka didn't
have any problem with the venue and made a very strong impression. So
it really was a wonderful concert!!! Looking forward to Utrecht!
Tuesday, 29 November 2005
Sitting with a little drink and a new found friend (Anna is spending the night at my place) and we
just returned from the concert and wow DID YOU MISS SOMETHING!!!!!!
I haven't seen Luka like this for years (well maybe Deventer came close). Yesterday I already
knew his voice is really good at the moment. He was so there!!!
But first things first.
His support act Sabrina ... was really good tonight. Her voice came alive today. So very different
from yesterday. Still the music is a bit too sad for my taste, but what a difference.
And then..... Luka at his best. Enjoying himself and singing a lot of songs...
1) Open up your arms
2) There is a time (a new song for me and quite a difficult one.
Didn't really got a grip yet, but am looking forward to hearing it again)
4) Lonesome Robin
5) Diamond Mountain (real great)
6) Here and Now
7) Make you feel my love
8) Sunny Sailor Boy
9) In Between Days
10) No matter where you go, there you are
He then was joined by Kenneth Edge (and wow what an amazing thing he added)
11) Love is a place I dream of (with the saxophone)
12) Peace on Earth (incredible with the clarinet)
13) City of Chicago (with the most incredible intro on the clarinet;
the best version I ever heard of one of the best songs ever written)
15) Miracle Cure
16) Thank you for bringing me here
18) Gypsy Music
19) Don't be afraid of the light that shines within you (asked the audience to join him again ;-))))
Encores (no more Kenneth :-( )
20) Exploring the blue
21) Gone to Pablo
22) Rainbow Day (and again asked the audience to join him,
so we really must have been good!!!!!!!!! hihi Haarlem)
23) You couldn't have come at a better time
24) Black is the colour (changing into)
25) Te Adoro (changing into)
26) True Blue
So what else to say. Said enough. Let's give Anna a chance.
Tuesday, 29 November 2005
Wow. Just... wow.
I have never seen Luka in a place so big before, first of all. We Americans
get him in tiny pubs (which is nice, because you're practically in his lap
and well, who's complaining about that?) or clubs (not so nice, sometimes)
or the occasional church (there once was a man from Nantucket...). We don't
get the big theatres very often, so it was particularly amazing to see him
in such a large space, full of people!
Second, he was in fine form tonight. Jael (who is kind enough to put me up
for the night so that I do not have to make the trek back to A'dam so late)
has already posted the set list so I will just add my own crumby
interjections. Aren't you all lucky? Yes, you are.
Ken the sax man is brilliant. He plays as if he's dancing around the song,
looking for a place where it'll let him in, and he slips in quietly and
pulls the music in around him. It's wonderful. I especially liked 'Miracle
Cure' and 'Peace on Earth' - but 'Gypsy Music' was the jewel of the night.
The two of them worked some kind of strange magic on that stage. You could
And the intro to 'City of Chicago' bears special mention. Ken plays the
chorus solo, very soft and careful. He did it in Whelans and it was just
mesmirising then, but this time it just filled the entire place and everyone
was dead. quiet. (I'll never be able to tolerate a club gig again. Am
spoiled by attentive, polite Dutchies. Damn it.)
Himself looked a little stiff tonight, indeed he did take a scary tumble
down a flight of stairs earlier in the week, and as a result he's rather
achy in the nether-lands. (Har har.) Having fallen UP a flight of stairs two
weeks ago in Eindhoven, I can empathise. Ouch.
Didn't slow him down at all, however - because in addition to blistering
versions of 'Rainbow Day' and 'Here and Now,' we also got 'Te Adoro' which I
don't know that I have ever heard before.
I really like the Dutch audience, because they really and genuinely like
him. The place wasn't sold out but you wouldn't have known it, from the
response and the participation. It was wonderful. I can't wait for
Eindhoven. That's going to be one hell of a show.
Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, Eindhoven
Wednesday, 30 November 2005
Tonight's room was smaller than last night. It made it a much better
atmosphere I think, and also it wasn't so bloody COLD. Vredenburg was
freezing to the point where I put my wool jumper back on halfway
through the show. Tonight was toasty warm and cozy, and the audience
receptive if a little timid about interaction.
I'll let Rena post the setlist, but I have to say this: LISTEN TO THE RIVER.
This was the first of his songs that I knew all the words to, because it is quite
possibly my favorite song he's done. I grew up surrounded by rivers, which is
good for a little fish like myself, and as a child I spent many days
splashing around in them. I also listened to them, at great length,
and throughout my life I have lived on or near some of the great
rivers of America - the Mississippi, the Hudson, the Colorado - and
each of them had something different to say. There's a great deal to
be learnt from the whispers of the waters around us.
Anyway, all poetic wanking aside, he promised he'd play it and play
it he did, and it was lovely how he got the audience to hum along. As
I said they were a little reluctant about the whole 'audience
participation' deal, but in the end it sounded simply marvelous and I
am so, so very glad that I didn't miss this show, and I finally got
to hear it.
Kenneth Edge joined Luka again for several songs, and I have to say
that hearing the two of them live on 'Primavera' and 'Gypsy Music'
have really taken those songs somewhere else for me. And there was a
surprise tonight of 'The Parting Glass' which Ken played solo before
'Love Is a Place'. I don't know how the man does it (he credits Paul
the Amazing Technicolour Soundman, but I know better) but he managed
to make the sax sound for all the world like a tin whistle that was
pretending it was a sax. It was absolutely fantastic, and quite a few
jaws met the floor by the end of it.
I sat next to a lovely couple, who were very nice in letting me take up an empty
seat in their row so that I could be near my friends Martine and Thomas,
who had never seen Luka live before. I love bringing new people to
his shows. It's always a treat to watch their faces from song to
song, and there's a selfish little moment of triumph when at the end
they are on their feet with the rest of us, clapping and calling out
for more. They come in liking the albums but they leave loving the
songs, and that's the whole point of it, isn't it?
Out of all the shows I have seen in Europe, I still think Whelans is
likely the best one. The energy that night - it's a bit untouchable
and probably unfair to put any other gigs up against it. Dublin aside
however, Eindhoven is up there. Definitely up there.
- Anna Hight
Cultureel Centrum, Leopoldsburg
Sunday, 4 December 2005
It was very miserable weather when I started the 40 minutes drive to
Leopoldsburg last night but from the moment I turned on the engine of my car
I felt like the king of the world.
It had been exactly a year since I last saw Luka and I couldn't wait to see
him bashing and caressing his guitar again. With the great reviews I had
read from the Dutch concerts but also with his fall on his backside in the
back of my mind I approached Leopoldsburg. Was he going to be able to
perform and if he did would he be alone on stage?
Sabrina Dinan who played the support was a great musical surprise to me.
She definitely has the prospect of a fine career. She has the ability to
play in the same league as Gemma Hayes, Cara Dillon and all the other great
female singer-songwriters Ireland produces.
After a 15 minute break the man himself took stage. He looked very energetic
and ready to go standing up. Sitting down was another story. You could tell
he suffered finding the right sitting position.
He played a great short set (for his standards) of 19 songs:
I Am Not At War With Anyone
Love Is A Place I Dream Of
Open Up Your Arms
Peace On Earth
Joy Of Living
Here And Now
Make You Feel My Love
Sunny Sailor Boy
In Between Days
Exploring The Blue
Gone To Pablo
I Need Love
Thank You For Bringing Me Here
City Of Chicago
No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
"Joy Of Living"
was the highlight for me. He dedicated this song to George
Best who past away last week. As a true Manchester United fan I had
difficulties keeping my eyes dry. Rest in peace Georgie!!
Good to see him mixing up his guitars again. I've a soft spot for the black one.
Hopefully for Luka the pain gets bearable very soon so he fully can enjoy
the respect and appreciation he gets from the Flemish public.
I drove back to Antwerp as a happy man in the world.
- Dirk Goris
Cultuurcentrum Belgica, Dendermonde
Thursday, 8 December 2005
What a difference a few days can make. Leopoldsburg was a solid and
enjoyable gig but this was first class musical ecstasy! Dendermonde made
Luka feel at ease and it showed.
But first I want to praise Sabrina Dinan who once again did the support. For me
personally she can be Luka's support forever. Chances are however that she's
going to big herself. Last night she finished off her set with a cover of
Coldplay. Breathtaking and goose bumps everywhere.
Starting the evening on row 12 I quickly moved forward to row 4 right beside
Erwin and Rena. Out of the bottom of my heart I thank the people who didn't
show up for these reserved seats :-)
The man started at 9pm and at 11pm he was still going strong. The comfort
cushion on his seat wasn't there anymore so I hope that this means he's
recovering from his fall in Amsterdam.
There were so many highlights and funny remarks that time flew by very
quickly. But I'm especially grateful that he played Joy Of Living, Listen To
The River, City Of Chicago and the medley Black Is The Colour, Te Adoro and
True Blue at the end of the concert.
Once again driving home as a happy man in the world!
- Dirk Goris
Cultuurcentrum Belgica, Dendermonde
Thursday, 8 December 2005
The first time I saw Luka was in Ostend, it was a free gig in open air. It started quite slow but as
it began to rain and the people went home Luka got excited and the fire from his guitar and voice
warmed all who persisted in standing in the pouring rain. That evening I fell in love.
Now last Thursday I had the chance to see him again in Dendermonde. I had the perfect spot:
first row, centre. He came onto the floor, looked right into my eyes and started what I felt like a
private gig and it was beautiful. He stole our hearts with a few Dutch words: "Goeie avond
Dendermonde, uitverkocht" and we were all not at war with anyone.
I can't tell you the rest of the play list, I was just enjoying with Goosebumps all over me, and I
think Luka also enjoyed it because he played an hour longer than planned and added some
more when we gave him a standing ovation. I wouldn't have minded it at all if he had gone on
Next morning when I woke up with the Dendermonde Blues (Luka had been improvising on
stage because he really liked the sound of the city name) and I knew for sure, I'll never miss
another chance to see him again!
Little anecdote: This summer I had the honour to hand over some flowers to Christy Moore, after
a concert that had brought tears to my eyes. So when Luka pushed the big bouquet of flowers
in my hands right after singing City of Chicago (I didn't know he's the writer of that!), this gig
became just perfect and one of the best I've ever attended!
- Marloes Decraemer
Cultuurcentrum Belgica, Dendermonde
Thursday, 8 December 2005
I discovered "the Irishman and his guitar" in the early nineties. At that time I used
to go to the Dranouter Folkfestival (Belgium) with some friends, but never had the occasion
to see Luka Bloom live. Only 2 years ago, I went to a concert of him in open air. That was a
great show, but I preferred this more intimate gig in Dendermonde. It was good to see (hear!)
that he keeps bringing this message of respect and tolerance. His enthusiasm, be it in
his music or in his permanent call for justice, works inspiring.
That was evident from the first song on: "I am not at war with anyone". Was it "Open
up your arms" or "Love is a place I dream of" that moved me so with its very muted
guitar sound and nearly whispering voice? "Joy of living" touched me, knowing it was
written by a man who knew he was going to die and dedicated the song to his dear family. As a
"fresh new daddy" the song "Thank you for bringing me here" surely
means more to me than it would have done say a year or so ago. It made me dream of my
daughter and me walking along the sea within a year or 7... But also the more rhythmic songs
such as "Gypsy Music" or "No matter where you go" were great to
discover. I looked forward to hear Luka sing "City of Chicago", which I knew from
his brother Christy Moore, and wasn't deceived. And now I know what it's all about:
thanks Luka for the little Irish history lesson ;-)
(Extra) songs such as "True blue", "Gone to Pablo" or "Diamond
Mountain" brought me back to those earlier years and it still is terrific hearing Luka
bring his own "I need love" version. (Note: my brother - who was at the gig too -
and I used to invent new lyrics to this song to express our wishes - in a creative way - to
our family on New Years day.)
In brief, for 2 hours, Dendermonde has been warmed by a "little Irish fire".
P.S. Still thinking about this Dendermonde blues... the thing is: I don't play guitar, only piano.
Would it sound as good? ;-)
- Maarten Lootens, Dendermonde
Cultuurcentrum De Spil, Roeselare
Saturday, 10 December 2005
As far as I know every seat was taken (I think it was the big room seating 800 people)...
Sabrina Dinan was announced as guest and was singing for about half an hour before Luka came on
stage. Sabrina has a very good voice and her very own style to play the guitar which I enjoyed.
Unfortunately, I find that the topics of her songs are all very similar and not joyful at all (problematic
and sad contents)... she is so young and I wondered why on earth she always sings about so miserable
things... I hope she had not to go through all she is singing about... and I wished she had sung something
more happy, something with more hope or something positive at all in between... but she is still young...
The audience was in an exciting mood, at least from what I could sense around me. Sometimes a bit
disturbing as they spoke in front of me while Luka sang... but at other times it was amazing how impressed
they/we were with Luka's music - we could hardly decide to clap so as if not to break the tension, the
Luka came on stage and although it was his 20 or 21 show he was really good! You could hardly hear
that he has sung so often in the past days/nights and he did not show that he is tired - how does he
manage to do that? and when he said he's happy to be here in Roeselare and yes, he always
says it (i.e. in every other city) - he means it, and I just believe him...
Here's the list of the songs he sang that night:
1. I am not at war with anyone
(he made jokes about the police in Belgium, saying they wanted to make sure that he'll arrive
safe and on time in Roeselare before he sang and this was a big contrast to the topic of the
song I found)
2. Open up your arms
(I love his phrase regarding the IRA: "putting the weapons to sleep")
3. Here and now
(saying "that's all there is" before starting to sing - that impressed me
as I think that's absolutely true)
4. Love is a place I dream of
(Luka's expression: "you can only let songs come if you have innocence
in your heart" is remarkable, I think)
6. Gypsy Music
(said Ireland has an "immigration problem" now and enjoyed saying it!)
7. Diamond Mountain
8. Make you feel my love
9. Sunny sailor boy
(the audience had to prove - and they did - that they can sing as wonderfully
as is said of the Belgian and Dutch audiences)
10. In between days
11. Joy of Living (I hope that's the title! - absolute silence in the theatre!)
12. Peace on Earth (same atmosphere as with joy of living!)
15. City of Chicago
16. No matter where you go, there you are
(song for Sabrina, thanking her for her good shows!)
17. Exploring the Blue
18. Gone to Pablo
19. Rainbow Day
(said he sings this song when he feels good! what a compliment!)
You couldn't have come at a better time
(people clapped and sang along! and Luka didn't mind at all)
I need love
Standing ovation followed - you could see and feel that Luka was absolutely overwhelmed!
Black is the Colour (song for Paul!)
Again standing ovation - Luka looked as if he couldn't believe it! and I felt very happy for him and I
thought that is really what he deserves for this outstanding concerts.
I had been to the show in Berlin before and was absolutely impressed by it. Luka seemed to be
playing as if it was his last show - that was my impression. This show in Roeselare was totally different,
had a different style, was more "quiet", had a totally different atmosphere at all. You cannot really
compare shows, I think. It always depends on so many parameters... every show is just the way it
is, just the way it turns out and this is good. I stop here for lack of words...
- Gudrun Spanka