Luka Bloom » live reviews
Luka Bloom - Live in Concert
Tollhaus Karlsruhe 2006 Leopoldsburg Vicar Street, Dublin
 concert » reviewed by
06-03-2007  Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Michael (Australia)
06-03-2007  Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Sarah Gregson (Australia)
08-03-2007  National Theatre, Melbourne, Australia
Murray Bamford (Australia)
15-03-2007  The Basement, Sydney, Australia
Sarah Gregson (Australia)
19-03-2007  Tilley's Devine Cafe Gallery, Canberra, Australia
Murray Bamford (Australia)
22-03-2007  The Tivoli, Brisbane, Australia
Sharon Grantley (Australia)
29-04-2007  Folkfestival Dranouter aan Zee, De Panne, Belgium
Koen Vervoort (Belgium)
16-06-2007  EKKO, Utrecht, Netherlands - TRIBE Launch Concert
Rena (Germany)
17-06-2007  Amstelkerk, Amsterdam, Netherlands - TRIBE Launch Concert
Jolande (Netherlands)
15-09-2007  Music Hall, Worpswede, Germany
Gudrun (Germany)
03-11-2007  Cactus Club @ MaZ, Brugge, Belgium
Karl Catteeuw (Belgium)

Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Tuesday, 6 March 2007

It has been a long time since Luka visited Oz so it was a special night at the Enmore Theatre on Tuesday night..

He was in fine form, playing for 2 hours. Started the show with Throw your arms around me, then Water Ballerina, Innocence, Blackberry Time, Here and Now, Make you feel my love and some of the slower songs, Love is a place I dream of, before starting on 3 I think from Tribe.

We got treated to a very funny version of another "classic australian folk song" - aka Kylie Minogue - "la la la la la la la la .... I can't get you out of my head...... la la la la la la la la....." ad infinitum.

Sunny Sailor Boy, City of Chicago, Ciara, You couldn't have come at a better time, Exploring the Blue, Monsoon, were some of the highlights for me.

He also sang a traditional song, Blackwater Side. He said it's one of the songs his sister Anne sings beautifully

He finished the concert with I'm a Bogman, and the encore with Perfect Groove and Diamond Mountain.

Looking forward to the dvd.

- Michael

Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Tuesday, 6 March 2007

It was a wonderful night. I met up with my friends at the Bank Hotel and lo and behold we bumped into another couple we haven't seen in years. Our sons were at primary school together (boys now aged in their 30's) so it was a bit of a shock/surprise. None of us knew that each other was a Luka Bloom fan. So Luka brings together lovely people.

Now on with the night. It was just so lovely to hear the favourites and three new songs from his latest album.

Luka signing CDs Throw Your Arms Around Me
Here and Now
Love Is A Place I Dream of
Make You Feel My Love
Sunny Sailor Boy ~ he can't resist having the audience sing with him ~ was sung at the request of a 13 year old girl, Tara.
Bog Man
You Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time ~ One of my old time favs
Throw Your Arms Around Me
Water Ballerina
I Need Love
A few more that escapes me...

I just sat back and drank in all in. Luka came back with three more songs for an encore.

His not so serious side sang a Kylie Minogue song and we all La La La'd with him. At least now I can get Merve Hughes out of my mind :-) Aussies will know what I mean.

I felt sorry for Sabrina. Lovely girl with a lovely voice but she seemed very nervous. I was annoyed that people were still in the bar making a racket and coming and going into the theatre like it was a pub or something. I didn't realise that Sydney siders had such bad manners. I apologise for them and hope it won't be her last time over here. I would like to see her for herself next time.

Bye for now and I am off to by the CD. Would have got one at the venue but as you can imagine it was a bit of a bun fight.

No doubt after I send this I'll remember the other songs but right now I just wanted to say, your turn Melbournios, you are in for a real treat. Enjoy!!!!

- Sarah, still dreaming and dancing!

> photo by Anne E.
> setlist

National Theatre, Melbourne
Thursday, 8 March 2007

Well, Luka was in fine fettle at the National Theatre last night. Seems he put the verbal punch-up with the supercilious Terry Lane quickly behind him! Sabrina was great and the sound quality in our seats perfect.
It all seemed to be over in a flash but here are the songs that I can remember:
Throw Your Arms Around Me
Here and Now
Love Is A Place I Dream Of
Make You Feel My Love
Blackwater Side
Tribe ~ now we know what the 'white heels' are all about!
See You Soon ~ hadn't heard this one before and it was fantastic!
Eastbound Train
Sunny Sailor Boy
Traditional Australian Folk Song ~ new song for Luka
No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
City of Chicago
Exploring the Blue
Rainbow Day
You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time
Water Ballerina
I Need Love

- Murray

The Basement, Sydney
Thursday, 15 March 2007

Well after crawling into bed early this morning (1am) after a fantastic night at The Basement I managed to drag by body up to post this before I go to work. I will be doing overtime this weekend (it couldn't have come at a better time) so decided to sacrefice another hours sleep.

Last night was really something. The atmosphere was electric. Luka seems to be totally charged up when he performs at the Basement. He sang 23 songs! Is that a record!!

tour poster in Sydney I took a friend of mine who had never heard of Luka nor any of his songs except for Chicago (sang by Christy) and I can say ladies and gentlemen we have a convert. We got to the venue just after 7pm to bags a couple of bar stools (2 left) and settled down for the evening.

It was much nicer venue for Sabrina this time. She seemed more relaxed (to me), maybe because I wasn't so far away from her as at the Enmore. The Enmore is a great theatre but nothing can beat the cosiness of TB.

Love is a Place I dream of
I am not at War with anyone
Here and Now
Thank you for bringing me here
City of Chicago
Miracle Cure
I hope I love you enough

Then Claudia Chambers came on with her instrument (a cajon) and together they performed:
Gypsy Music

Then back on his own for: He calls this next one an Australian Folks song. I call it, The Merve Hughes song :-) I can't get you out of mind.
Make you feel my love
Bog man
The way life goes (I am not sure of the title)
Throw Your Arms Around Me
Sunny Sailor Boy

Then he asked for requests but I think he had other ideas.
Monsoon (a prayer for us Ozzies for rain - very thoughtful of him)
(Blank) I just can't read my writing which is not great at the best of times. Something about Day but not Rainbow, I know that song...
Perfect Groove
You Couldn't have come at a better time
I Need Love
and finished with Diamond Mountain.

All through his performance he joked, told stories and totally relaxed with his audience. We were putty in his hands.

Finishing at 12.15am, I wish I could have hung around but this old bod was well and truely ready for bed after such an exciting time. The songs are still running around in my head.

Take care all and Good Morning or Good Night/Afternoon,
No matter where you go, there you are.

Cheers, Sarah

> setlist
> photo by AlvaBean

Tilley's Devine Cafe Gallery, Canberra
Monday, 19 / Tuesday, 20 / Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Luka was brilliant, as usual, at Tilley's in Canberra this week. He performed a new song (only a week old) which is probably called something like "I Love The World I'm In" or "I Love Her Just The Way She Is". It's about jacarandas and cicadas and Coogee, of course. Quite beautiful.

The setlists, apart from that, were pretty much the same as he's been doing lately, except for the resurrection of "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself" and "Gone To Pablo".

Tilley's is the best music room in Australia IMHO.

Cheers, Murray

> setlists

The Tivoli, Brisbane
Thursday, 22 March 2007

I've only recently discovered Luka after seeing a tv documentary called "My Name is Luka". I was entranced by his voice and his spoken and sung words. He struck me as having a poets heart and I'm at a place in my life where poetry speaks more clearly than any prose ever can. Just about everything that can change in a person's life has changed in mine in the past few months. After I saw that documentary I checked out his website and saw that he was in Australia and, even better, he was coming to capital I booked one of the few remaining tickets and waited the two weeks!

I had to change my shifts at work and drive 3 hours south on the day of the concert. My mother asked if I thought it would be worth it, how can you measure the worth of songs sung by their writer? The sounds sung so generously by the person who first heard them in their heads, you can't. But I knew by whatever measurement, it would indeed be worth it.

I arrived early to the Tivoli which isn't the right thing to do as it didn't open until 7.30pm. I'd brought with me a book of poems by e.e. cummings, to distract myself from being there alone. I took me and my poems to wait in a nearby pub... an odd duet amongst the Thursday night poker players. After awhile I walked back to the Tivoli's front door and waited with the other Luka fans, it was interesting listening to the conversations going on around me. They were mostly talking about Luka, his songs and their favoirites, there was a warm anticipatory feel to the gathering crowd.

The doors opened into a plush intimate setting, everyone seemed to make themselves comfortable with a drink and we sat and waited. We each had expectations and memories, and every person would tell you a different account of that night. A cheery Irishman and his Yorkshire friend sat next to me and we chatted briefly about Luka, their friendliness made me forget my aloneness. Sabrina casually walked on stage and all talking ceased and she had our attention for several songs. I don't know how long she sang, I was lost in the rhythms of her guitar and voice. I thought her voice as mellow and transporting as the more well known singer Norah Jones, Ravi Shankar's daughter who sings Blues songs.

We had a short interval for more drinks and the opportunity to but cds. I bought "Tribe" and was looking forward to listening to the track called "Change".

Finally....Luka walked on stage wearing a bright turquoise shirt which brought several approving comments from the audience. He told us he'd bought it at the markets that morning and was glad to be in Queensland. I got the impression that he, as many people do, relax in this state of sunshine and thongs.

He sang much the same songs available as downloads from the Port Fairy Folk Festival...some old ones and some from "Tribe". He began with Sunny Sailor Boy to gauge our mood, he said, our mood was one of wanting to follow him wherever he led us. He sang his heart out, told us anecdotes that filled in spaces of his life, swapped guitars...was quiet, meaningful, spiritual, good-humoured and joyful....we were lost in the journey which was Luka....the journey, which if we pay close attention, opens us to the life in front of us. His colourful shirt blended with a large arrangement of Bird of Paradise flowers behind him and the rich colours of the venue added to the liveliness of the performance. Luka seemed to embody life!

When he finished singing it was too soon for us, we didn't want to be brought back to the everyday so abruptly. He returned wearing a fresh white shirt and continued singing several more songs, which I can't exactly tell you about because I was too grateful for his return on stage and I quickly became absorbed into his world of sounds.

When he finally finished it was at the right moment for us, it was perfect, we knew we had to let him go and take with us what he'd so freely given...a spirit for life, a renewed spirit for each of our lives.

He later signed cds in the foyer, was photographed and hugged by appreciative fans. I asked him to sign my Tribe cd, and my book of poems with the name of my favourite song, Be Still Now...he was gracious.

The next day I drove home, only stopping in Eumundi where Luka will be singing tonight. I had a late breakfast and read my cummings poems. I found a poem that matched "Be Still Now" and the thought occurred to me to photocopy that and leave it at the pub for Luka...I did that and found a barmaid working tonight who'll pass it on to him....the best words go:

    may my heart always be open to little birds
    who are the secrets of living
    whatever they sing is better than to know
    and if men should not hear them men are old

    may my mind stroll about hungry
    and fearless and thirsty and supple
    and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
    for whenever men are right they are not young

    and may myself do nothing usefully
    and love yourself so more than truly...

I, for one, am so glad that Luka listened to a heron one day and sang to us about it. On Thursday night at the Tivoli in Brisbane he sang life to us in all of it's shades.

Cheers, Sharon.

Folkfestival Dranouter aan Zee, De Panne
Sunday, 29 April 2007

Luka Bloom performed at the beach folk festival 'Dranouter at the sea'. It was pretty hot in the hugh tent, but it didn't stop Luka Bloom to give everything he had for the audience. After the sweat started to pour down from his face, and the flowers next to him started to beg for fresh water, Luka said that both Ireland and Belgium must take advantage of the global warming to have such a nice and warm day at the end of April.

He also made comments on the girls of LAIS. I noticed that Nathalie of Lais was standing at the right of the stage watching Luka play during some songs. It was a great experience.

Luka got the audience after 3 or 4 tracks. At the Dranouter festival in August, he still had to introduce Sunny Sailor Boy, but... I suppose a lot of people wanted to see him again, as during the first notes, the audience already started to sing along, and it was obvious that this came as a small surprise to him... I don't know the setlist, but I do know, that he played an awful lot of extremely good songs! Didn't expect anything else!

Anyway... It was a marvelous experience... and we look forward to a next encounter!

- Koen Vervoort

> setlist

TRIBE Launch Concert @ EKKO, Utrecht
Saturday, 16 June 2007

Bloomsday in Utrecht!

Normally this day is only celebrated by James Joyce fans in honor of the anniversary of another Bloom, this year also Luka Bloom fans in the Netherlands had a good reason to celebrate. Today the first of the two special organised album launch concerts took place at the Ekko in Utrecht.

Luka was already in a great mood when he came in. He opened with "Love is a place I dream of" and then - practising for his performance at the Children in Crossfire Conference in Derry in front of the Dalai Lama in July - he sang "As I waved Goodbye". This song - once inspired by Heinrich Harrer's great book "7 Years in Tibet" - used to be a highlight in many concerts in 1999 when he performed it live only accompanied by a Shruti Box, a very simple drone instrument from India. Tonight he just played the guitar but it was as beautiful as ever!!!

The next song was "June", another favourite of mine, followed by an outstanding version of "Sunny Sailor Boy". He said, it was in the beginning of the 90s when he started singing the song and that he performed it live for the first time in front of an audience in Utrecht, so the audience in Utrecht would actually be the parents of the song! Well, it was a really impressive audience participation by a relatively small crowd... soft and very powerful at the same time!!

Luka Bloom Then it was time for the new songs from TRIBE!

The first song of the new album was "Lebanon", written during the madness in Lebanon last year, very beautiful and very sad.

Celebrating "nationalism", it followed the wonderful title track "Tribe"! The song was inspired by the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Ireland. On the album his son is doing the background vocals, but he wasn't there so the audience had to do it, and again they did it very well!

That were the two songs from the new album on which Luka plays the guitar, and in the past months that were the only two songs of TRIBE he used to play live in concerts. Tonight was the launch of the new album, so as a huge surprise we got to hear some more!! Supported by his "Paddy Apple Band" he also sang live "I am a River", "Out There" and "Change"!!!

He said, it was a very new way of performing for him and he would do it for the very first time live in concert, just to check it out! For a first time performance it went very well! It was a great experience and to hear some more of the wonderful new songs from the album live was really amazing!! I LOVED IT!!! I really hope to hear them live once again and that his "band" was not only with him for the launch concerts!!

After the new songs from TRIBE he played some of his great oldies, "You couldn't have come at a better time" and "Exploring the Blue".

It was a standing concert but I'd say the overwhelming applause at the end of the concert was a "standing ovation"!!!!

He sat down again, but before doing the encore he asked if anybody wanted to ask him anything about the new album, so it followed a little "Question and Answer Session". As a last "question" a woman asked for "I need love", and he played it for her, joking that it seems he has to sing this song forever and ever...

At the end of this song again a never ending applause, so he did one more.

"I love the world I'm in", a beautiful new song written during the Australian tour in March, was a great closing song for this wonderful concert!

When we left the city at 21:30 there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky! I think that was a bit unusual for this time of the day, but actually it was one of those rainbow days... :-)

- Rena

> concert photos

TRIBE Launch Concert @ Amstelkerk, Amsterdam
Sunday, 17 June 2007

Luka Bloom was going to appear at a special, secret concert somewhere in Amsterdam to launch his new album "Tribe". I heard about it some time ago, but the only way to get into the concert would be to order the new cd and then hope you would win a ticket. Now, being the true fan that I am, I ordered the cd from the website when it was first released, so was I going to get another one? While I was still thinking about that I saw at an Amsterdam record shop that if you pre-ordered the cd there you would get a ticket, so I figured that might be a better option. I'd have another copy of the cd, but that is okay because I don't mind giving away Luka cds as a present. Then I heard about a competition you could simply enter through the internet, one very difficult question, "what is Luka Bloom's real name", and you could win two tickets. So I thought I'd try that one first, and if it didn't work, I'd go and order the cd.

Well, I ended up winning tickets for the concert in the Amstelkerk today through the competition of the record company, so I was very happy. An unexpected Luka concert at an unusualy venue and at an unusual time. The concert was held in the daytime, so the sunlight was streaming in through the high windows of the church. Luka could see his audience as well as we could see him. The Amstelkerk isn't a traditional church building, it's a little like an open square with the building surrounding it, even when you're inside the building. I think Luka enjoyed the atmosphere. He mentioned 4 seconds during his childhood when he had considered being a priest and this was probably as close as he was ever going to get. So he started with "We are gathered here today...." The setlist was a little different from most concerts, and different from the concert last night in Utrecht:

Luka Bloom @ Amstelkerk Throw Your Arms Around Me (for Chris from the record company, celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary today)
As I Waved Goodbye (rehearsing for a performance before the Dalai Lama in Derry in July)
Here and Now
Sunny Sailor Boy (a chance for the congregation to sing)
I Am A River (with the help of Paddy Apple)
Out There (with Paddy again)
Change (with Paddy)
Exploring the Blue (where he forgot the words to one of the verses and needed a little time to recover)
Wave Up to the Shore (Luka was inspired by the atmosphere an he sang this a capella and "unplugged": it was very powerful and beautiful.)

Encore (both songs were requests):
Black is the Colour (ending unplugged again)

The set really suited the venue, and made this a very special and unusual concert. Some of the new songs for the first time live for me, and then this beautiful old song "Wave Up to the Shore". Luka seemed relaxed and he was in great voice. He came out to sign cds after the concert and took time to chat to people, which was nice. I'm looking forward to the concerts in October now.

- Jolande

> photos by Ankie

Music Hall, Worpswede
Saturday, 15 September 2007

I have just come back from my trip to Worpswede, and I am absolutely happy that I had decided to attend Luka's concert at the Music Hall there :-) Right from the beginning there was such an enormous energy in that room. The people were so friendly, clapped loudly after each song Sabrina had sung, and they hardly stopped clapping after each song Luka sang. Really incredible gig and venue! Luka had the impression that all inhabitants of Worpswede were present :-)

Luka sang some new songs as he felt love in the audience (as he put it), and felt "supported" :-) I had the feeling these are totally different songs, none sounded like the other. There was one song that almost moved me to tears, that was so intense. Luka introduced this song with the words "it is a song about not going to mass". I was eager to hear what he would make of this, and I listened carefully. He sang that he is outside a church, hearing the preaching/prayers and - that is what my understanding is - feeling that "god/the highest good" or whatever you call it, is everywhere! Luka experimented with his voice, and I was so amazed to listen to a totally different way of his singing. I had not thought that Luka would try to sing so differenty or could do it, and it was so very well done!! I hope he will sing this song on a regular basis :-)

In another song he had a conversation with his guitar ("me and my guitar"), and that was really nice, too :-) It was like thanking his guitar for being there, for letting him sing and play songs on it ... :-))

Luka did not start with "I am not at war", which surprised me, but it was still sung as a young lady had asked for it at the end. That was really lovely as the audience was so willing to sing along (they had sung with Luka right from the beginning. And some even clapped while Luka was singing (when Luka sang "no matter where you go"), which I think has become rare and shows pure emotion). So I hope you can imagine what was going on in that hall :-)

I wish all who are going to be at a concert in the near future a fantastic/lovely experience :-))

- Cheers, Gudrun

Luka Bloom Luka Bloom

> concert photos
> setlist

Cactus Club @ MaZ, Brugge
Saturday, 3 November 2007

It's a mighty long time since I've posted something, but this time I have an excuse: last Saturdays show. I'm not used anymore to write concert reviews - was I ever? - so it's a mish mash of impressions.

Sabrina was very good, we bought her cd afterwards. She has an amazing voice, I would call it 'old' if that wouldn't sound too negative, 'ripe' doesn't describe it either. Did I tell you this review was going nowhere? Let's say it was surprising, reminded me a bit of Ani Di Franco. Anyway, her fingerpicking, pace changing guitar playing was very impressive, switching tunings sometimes. She had some good original songs as well, otherwise we wouldn't have bought the cd I suppose. Loved the freshly written song, and vote for 'Tea and Toast' as a title - she was open for any suggestions, she said. You can't go wrong with that. She was a bit surprised, even overwhelmed by the politeness of the audience. She wasn't very talkative, a bit nervous, but did a very good gig. And got to do her first encore, on the closing night of the tour!

It was the first concert I saw with Luka sitting down start to finish. And sitting down in quite a funny way. After hurrying a technical guy to chance the height of his drum stool right before coming on, the screw of that stool wasn't tightened well enough. So song after song Luka went down slowly. Until the encore, when he called the stagehand back, and left him enough time to do his job properly.

Old songs, new songs. I was surprised to hear some rare gems: Nora and Te Adoro, The City of Chicago, Ciara. Some classic in-concert songs, like Exploring the Blue, Diamond Mountain. Some great sing-a-long choruses, like Sunny Sailor Boy, Tribe. Fertile Rock ended in a chorus whispered by the entire audience, very breathtaking, you could hear a needle drop. And some great new songs: Eastbound Train was one, and some others-but-aargh-I-forgot. I warned you about this review, didn't I? Luka read a poem about five Irish brothers falling during the 1st WW in Flanders, something he wrote after reading Sebastian Barry's A Long, Long Way. And handed it out to an elder lady at the end of the show, who was standing at the stage's edge.

Luka enjoyed it so much, that the encores kept coming, even after the lights went on. It was a strange show, being the last in a series, an indoor standing gig, really hot, no ventilation, an attentive-rather-than-partying crowd, and a new guitar (or am I wrong? - Coogee was a Fender CG-24 SCE, this one wasn't) and a Luka Bloom in fine shape: witty, energetic, guitar-wielding and singing his longs out.

Liesbeth and our friend Tania and I loved it. See you!

- Karl

Luka Bloom Luka Bloom

> concert photos
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