Luka Bloom » fan reviews
Luka Bloom - Live in Concert
Koeln 2010 Luka Bloom New York Irish Center
 concert » reviewed by
12-02-2011  Stadsschouwburg, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Rena (Germany)
20-03-2011  WOMAD, Taranaki, New Zealand
Tricia Fitzgerald (New Zealand)
22-07-2012  Moore Abbey, Monasterevin, Co Kildare, Ireland
Debbie Young (UK)
11-09-2012  Matt Molloy's Pub, Westport, Co Mayo, Ireland
Debbie Young (UK)
20-09-2012  Waldsee, Freiburg, Germany
Heather Munro (USA)

Stadsschouwburg, Nijmegen
Saturday, 12 February 2011

Since 1999 when I had listened to Jan Douwe Kroeske's 2 METER SESSIES for the first time I knew his radio show and who he was. One of my favourite shows at that time was the recording with Luka in the Old Mill in Ireland from September 1998. I have often listened to this particular show in their archive (unfortunately the page is no longer available.).

Since months I was following the tour announcements and the information published about the upcoming 2 Meter Sessions Tour in the Netherlands. They called it a "Multimedia-Show" and I knew that the main part would be a presentation in Dutch by Jan Douwe Kroeske, and that only a part of the show was featuring Luka Bloom, but I was curious and I wanted to see it at least once. We had chosen the show in Nijmegen because of the weekend date, and it's also not too far away from our place, but not really knowing what to expect I tried to keep my expectations low.

I have to admit that I had expected it to be different. I thought there would be a relatively strict structure of the show, not allowing many changes, maybe like a theater play, that Jan Douwe would sit in a chair, talking about his shows, and showing us a lot of his recorded clips from the huge archive of the 2 Meter Sessions, but instead of that he was always moving around the stage, never standing still for a longer time except when the clips were shown, and it seems the videos which are shown in the shows are always different and always changing, often also depending on the requests from the audience.

It is a bit strange to follow a presentation on stage, to be able to understand many words and sometimes even sentences, to guess a lot what Jan Douwe was talking about, but still very often not getting the whole sense. But then it was also quite interesting to watch him acting on stage, to see and hear him interacting so well with the audience.

Some of the videos I remember were from John Cale, The Foo Fighters (Learn to Fly), Nirvana, Supergrass, Arno, and my favourite was a great recording from Anouk and Sarah Bettens (I Alone).

For the first time Luka came on stage to the end of the first part. After the introduction they were talking about his first appearance at the Pinkpop Festival in 1991. It was Luka's first appearance in Holland in front of a really huge festival audience, and the fans who were there still remember the moment when he cycled on stage.

Then Jan Douwe played a Supergrass video as a gift for Luka, and in return Luka played a song for him (and us). He always introduces this song as the best love song ever written, and so he played it for all the people in the audience who are looking for love or are in love: THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE, written be Ewan MacCall.

After the break Luka came back. Sitting on a stool Jan Douwe followed Luka's performance on stage. In between the songs they were chatting about the songs and some other topics.

Luka began with DIAMOND MOUNTAIN, one of my favourite songs, followed by another favourite, TRIBE, supported very well by the audience singing along.

The next song was MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE, his wonderful cover of the Bob Dylan song, and HEAD AND HEART by the late John Martyn.

Remembering the awful massacre in Beslan in 2004 and the song he wrote after he had seen what has happened on TV, he played his beautiful song without words, PEACE ON EARTH.


The time went by very quickly, and of course his performance was over too soon (it ALWAYS is!!)
After thanking him for his coming, Luka left the stage.

I thought his part was over, but after showing us a few other clips, the great surprise, Luka came back once again for an encore! They asked for requests from the audience, and there were many. People shouted for "Delirious", "Irishman in Chinatown", "The Man is Alive", and someone for "Exploring The Blue".

Actually thinking of playing "I Need Love" - because of the upcoming Valentine's Day - he changed his mind and picked up the wonderful blue guitar to finish with a great version of EXPLORING THE BLUE.

It was a great evening, very entertaining also for me, despite the lack of understanding the Dutch spoken part. Luka's performance was great, the choosen songs were wonderful, and the acoustics were brilliant in the Stadsschouwburg in Nijmegen!

- Rena

Sunday, 20 March 2011

It was brilliant to have Luka back in New Zealand for the first time in about nine years I think. I was beginning to think it would never happen again but ..... thankfully, it did. And while I didn't need to travel to Australia to see him perform, as I have done a few times, it was a big road trip to get there but well worth the effort. My good friend Norma came and we hit the road on a Luka mission. I couldn't have done it without her so it was quite apt that Luka sang a few songs about friendship and it was great for Norma to finally experience what I've been raving about for years. She LOVED Luka's gig and I'm under strict instructions to never let her miss another NZ Luka performance.

Luka's performance at WOMAD, Taranaki may have been short but it was very, very sweet. The weather was perfect and the park was gorgeous, a perfect setting. Made me smile to watch him winning over a new group of music lovers, especially with I Need Love at the end of his set as people got a taste of his humour and charm. The set was a good mix of old and new. The personal standouts for me were Tribe, I'm on Your Side and No Matter Where You Go, There You Are .... especially the line "the music in his spirit, is his shelter and his home". Gorgeous!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a good sized crowd gathered to see Luka and know they all left happy and impressed.

Managed a quick chat with Luka after his set and was even happier to know he's looking into coming back to NZ for a longer period ... hopefully in the not too distant future.

Another satisfying Luka show .... happy daze!

- Tricia

Luka Bloom
Photo by Tricia Fitzgerald

Venice of Ireland Festival
Moore Abbey, Monasterevin, Co Kildare, Ireland
Sunday, 22 July 2012

The night began with humour and laughter as Luka entered the Baronial Hall on the wrong cue!

With the fun we have all come to know and love he apologised to the Master of Ceremonies, he thought the clapping was his cue (incorrectly), told us to carry on and just give him a shout when we were ready for him! Needless to say the room peeled with laughter; housekeeping details out of the way, the lovely Margaret from Monasterevin welcomed Mr Luka Bloom.

The evening was one of fun and frolics. Despite the ancient essence of our surroundings in the Baronial Hall of Moore Abbey, and the humid and grey evening outside, Luka clearly felt like summer had arrived and he was full of energy and enthusiam. In the warm and deeply historical surroundings he beamed with how happy he was to be sharing the evening with us, joking that it had only taken him 40 years to get a gig here at Monasterevin.

We were held captive by this wizard of music, we were romanced by his work old and new. From the soft and gentle lyrics of Water Ballerina to the full on energy of The Race Runs Me. Gladly Luka gave everything he had: fun and frollic, thought provoking and romantic, topped off with traditional and historical paying tribute to Count John McCormack himself ending on I'll Walk Beside You.

The evening was laced with reflections on his work and on individual pieces, such A Seed Was Sown, a reflection on the visit of queen Elizabeth's visit to Ireland. We listened at how, when having shared his feelings and the impact this visit had had on him with a good friend, known as a staunch Republican, he got the reply "I know, I know, I'm finding it very hard to keep up the negativity!". This might not seem funny outside of the Irish arena, but with the lovely lilt of Kildare in his voice and his expressive natural story telling, all in the room laughed and laughed at the irony.

Luka Bloom It might be hard to believe, but this is Luka's 40th year; 40 years since his first professional gig, where his journey began, support to Planxty. What isn't hard to understand or believe is the love in the room for this unique and truly inspirational singer/songwriter.

The set list tonight ranged many years within the last 40. (not the right order I'm afraid)

Water Ballerina
Thank You For Bringing Me Here
I'm a Bogman
No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
City of Chicago
Lonesome Robin
The Ride
A Seed Was Sown
The Race Runs Me
Make You Feel My Love
Wild Irish Rose (just learned this week!)
Across The Breeze

Sunny Sailor Boy
Gentle On My Mind
I'll Walk Beside You

The Baronial Hall hosted people of all ages and backgrounds, all sharing a genuine appreciation and admiration for this aspiring bogman, but clearly, as he goes on and on the world is a better place because this particular singer is in town.

Pedal on Luka, pedal on x

- Debbie Young

Matt Molloy's Pub, Westport, Co Mayo, Ireland
Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Westport is one of those towns in Ireland that rarely sleeps. Accommodation can be hard to come by at any given time of the year and the air is endlessly full of the sound of fiddle and bodhran, banjo and guitar alike. Tonight, Westport's renowned venue Matt Molloy's, was the host of another celebration of the newest work by Luka, This New Morning. This was my fourth gig of the year, two pre launch and two post, and it continues to amaze me the level of energy that Luka continues to bring to each and every session.

I have to say there was certainly a different feel to this gig than my previous three; perhaps its was the uniquely friendly surroundings, the homely feel of the pub, or the strange familiarity of what was about to take place.. It could be that thing that the west of Ireland appears to do to people, that thing I describe as being called to come home: I'm Belfast born and even when I head into the West I sigh that sigh that releaves the ache in the heart, the ache of someone who has been gone from home too long.... I really don't know, but clearly another special night was about to unfold.

You all know his style folks, the warm, friendly, poet who at every possible opportunity, wants to engage with the people who have come to spend some time with him. There isn't anyone more appreciative of that fact than Luka, and to quote the man himself " know when you've got a gig at the weekend, you know that this is what people do, they go out on a Friday or Saturday night to hear some music, so it's a particular kind of person that comes out on a Tuesday night to a gig, so I thank you for coming out to see me". That heartfelt thanks was honoured with a two and a half hour session of the very best Luka Bloom has to offer.

Luka Bloom Opening with Diamond Mountain the magic simply streamed out of him.... no official set list and in no particular order what followed was....

I'm On Your Side
Thank You For Bringing Me Here
As I Waved Goodbye
A Seed Was Sown
The Ride
Across the Breeze
Wild Irish Rose
City of Chicago
Ride On
Exploring the Blue
Blackberry Time
Heart Man
Gentle On My Mind
Make You Feel My Love
Eastbound Train
I'm A Bogman
The Race Runs Me
Dignity and Backbone
No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

He is completely forgiven for the song that he started and basically forgot the words of, to which his audience roared with laughter and...ironically.... I can't remember myself which one it was!! Regardless, it only remains to say that Luka continues to enchant me with the joy that is his gift, not just of music, but his ever growing capacity to share himself with the rest of us and I for one am very grateful indeed.

Pedal on Luka.

- Debbie Young

Waldsee, Freiburg, Germany
Thursday, 20 September 2012

Luka Bloom Freiburg was fantastic!

I traveled more than 7,000 kilometers to see Luka Bloom perform in Freiburg and it was worth every minute I spent on a plane or train.

Luka played a wonderful mixture of old and new songs, including two of my dearest favorites ("In the City of Chicago" and "You Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time").

I was astounded by his musicianship: His playing was more articulate and nuanced than ever, and his voice was strong and clear. It's rare to hear an artist whose live performances surpass a studio recording, but Luka proved that he truly is an extraordinary musician.

But perhaps what I most enjoyed about the evening was Luka himself. He is a wonderful storyteller, and his anecdotes were full of both wit and wisdom. I loved that he invited the audience to call out a few requests, and to sing along. He struck me as an extraordinarily grounded, generous person, and I came away with an entirely new respect for him.

I hope he will consider coming back to Minnesota sometime. But until then, I will gladly cross an ocean for the privilege of seeing him again.

- Heather Munro


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