The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

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ScottM
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The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby ScottM » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:08 pm

The word genius, as most of us are aware, is used in exaggerated terms for a great many musicians. Few are really deserving of this accolade. I don’t know if Mike Scott, the leader of the Waterboys qualifies either, but he must be as close as any British artist still playing. After decades of fronting the Waterboys he continues to beat his own path and never rests on his laurels. Bob Dylan has been quoted as an admirer of Scott’s work. At Liverpool, and I presume on the rest of the current tour, he opened proceedings with a first half of Waterboys classics and then played the songs from the new album in the second half of the show. The music was fantastic throughout.
The Waterboys have been around since 1983 so the band could have chosen any of their back catalogue and this would still have been appreciated. Scott however told us that there would be lots of love songs and, true to his word, in the first half of the show they delivered a number of ballads including A Girl called Johnny, All the Things She Gave Me and How Long Will I Love You.
The second half we were treated to songs from "An Appointment with Mr Yeats", where Scott sets the words of Nobel prize winning Irish poet, playwright and artist William Butler Yeats to music. Having owned the album and enjoyed it more at every listening, I was really looking forward to hearing these songs/poems played live. Those of us who attended the Leonard Cohen shows at Lissadell will be aware that Leonard professed a great admiration of the works W.B Yeats. Indeed, at Lissadell he recited Yeats: “The light of evening, Lissadell, great windows open to the south, two girls in silk kimonos, both beautiful, one a gazelle”. He had learned the poem 50 years ago in his home town of Montreal, and said: "I never knew my steps would take me to this place, and that I would receive such a welcome sheltered in the spirit of the great master whose lines I have just quoted”.
Mike Scott goes much further. This album has been the culmination of a 20 year quest where he has attempted to set every Yeats poem to music. Those he has completed are superb and the band played them magnificently. Highlights included Song of Wandering Aengus; White Birds; The Lake Isle of Inisfree; News for the Delphic Oracle; An Irish Airman Foresees His Death and my personal favourite; Mad as the Mist and Snow. In fact there was not one of over a dozen of these songs which wasn’t performed brilliantly.
For the encores, the Waterboys returned to more traditional crowd pleasers; The Whole Of The Moon and Fisherman’s Blues which sent everyone home happy.
To the uninitiated, to describe the Waterboys’ musical style is difficult but I will try. Celtic soul,a fusion of Scots, Irish and English folk, epic rock and everything in between.
Scott leads a superbly versatile band. All extremely accomplished musicians with virtuoso performances from Steve Wickham on violin/electric fiddle a stand-out and great harmonies from young Irish folk singer Katie Kim. If you buy no other album this year I would suggest you could do much worse than "An Appointment with Mr Yeats". If you want a great live musical experience then go and see the Waterboys.
2008: Dublin/London (O2)-Jul 17/London (O2)-Nov 13/London (RAH)/Brighton
2009: Liverpool/Madrid/Barcelona
2010: Sligo x2/Lille/Las Vegas x2
2012: Ghent/Amsterdam/London x2/Dublin Sep 11&12/Paris Sep 28
2013: London (O2) Jun 21/Brighton/Manchester/Cardiff/Birmingham/Amsterdam
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Diane
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Diane » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:02 am

Last weekend another forum member alerted me to the fact the Waterboys are currently touring (he saw the same recent concert as you, I think), and I have a ticket to see them in Cardiff next month (second row, £30, feels like a bargain after LC inflated prices). Having read your review, Scott, I can't wait. I appreciate your posting it.

Yeats has been covered by other singers, but The Big Music and Scott's intense persona is the perfect match for his bold imagery. I've put the album in a playlist including The Stolen Child, the earlier Yeats cover from Fisherman's Blues album. Song of Wandering Aengus is possibly my favourite, but this cd is so rich, it's hard to choose.

Steve Wickham - yes what a fine fiddler he is!

Nice to hear that the old classics are getting an airing, too, but I would love to hear Come Live With Me (that Ray Charles song breaks my heart), or some of the songs on Too Close to Heaven, like Lonesome Old Wind. But one can't have everything.

ps, From White Birds, that plays as I write:

the flame of the blue star of twilight
hung low on the rim of the sky
has awakened in our hearts beloved
a sadness that may never die
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ScottM
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby ScottM » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:39 pm

Thanks for the response Diane. Thinking about going again soon myself. I know you will not be disappointed in Cardiff. One or two "fans" at Liverpool seemed to only want to hear the old stuff, but the vast majority seemed to really enjoy the new album and there will still be plenty of classics too. Have a great night.

p.s Just had to re-listen to Come Live With Me. You are right about it being a heart-breaker.

Regards

Scott
2008: Dublin/London (O2)-Jul 17/London (O2)-Nov 13/London (RAH)/Brighton
2009: Liverpool/Madrid/Barcelona
2010: Sligo x2/Lille/Las Vegas x2
2012: Ghent/Amsterdam/London x2/Dublin Sep 11&12/Paris Sep 28
2013: London (O2) Jun 21/Brighton/Manchester/Cardiff/Birmingham/Amsterdam
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Mabeanie1 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:39 pm

I'm glad you mentioned The Waterboys tour Scott. A big Runrig fan since the early 90s, I knew of the Waterboys but didn't know any of their stuff apart from the obvious hits and had never seen them live, though I had seen Mike Scott performing solo during Celtic Connections at a session for the Iain Anderson programme on Radio Scotland. I wasn't impressed and I thought Mike Scott was a pompous whotsit.

Against this background, I bought a ticket for the Appointment with Mr Yeats show at Warwick Arts Centre in February 2011 more out of curiosity than anything else, expecting to walk at half time. How wrong could I be? I was entranced and couldn't wait to see and hear more of the band. I also went down to London to an event at the Southbank Centre last September where Mike talked about his life long obsession with Yeats' work and setting the songs to music, also singing a few songs from the forthcoming album. It was clear that the Yeats project was a labour of love and it was fascinating to hear how Mike had set about setting the poems to music over the past 20+ years, the liberties taken with them to make them work as songs and how the project had finally come to fruition in early 2010 when the poems finally came out of copyright.

Tony and I went to the Liverpool show as Waterboys novices but expecting to be impressed, and we were. We didn't know any of the non-Yeats stuff apart from Whole of the Moon and Fisherman's Blues but we got into it quickly and loved the whole show. I also went to Manchester a week later and I've just got back from Glasgow where I saw the band again at the Royal Concert Hall. I am bowled over by the quality of the shows - the material, the musicianship, the consistency from one show to another. It's a good evening out too! I now have a ticket for the show in Birmingham on May 22 as well and I intend to be there, whether I am recovered from my forthcoming surgery or not (I just won't do any dancing if I'm still below par ....)

As an aside, when we were checking our bookings with the Glasgow hotel we always stay at for Celtic Connections, the manager commented that he also had a booking under my name for April. I explained that I was travelling up for the Waterboys show on April 3. Turned out he was a big Waterboys fan and had travelled all over Europe to see them in his younger days. When we checked out at the end of the Festival, there was a big pile of Waterboys and Mike Scott CDs waiting for me in reception with a note to return them when I came back in April. How's that for added-value service?

Wendy
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Diane » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:44 pm

Cheers, Scott! Seems I cannot fail to have a great night.

Gosh Wendy you have been impressed by these shows! I have only seen The Waterboys once before, at a memorable country and western festival in Mulligar (where Anjani played, and Christy Moore, and it tipped down, and we missed Tom Russell on account of the fact we had never heard of him). I wouldn't say I was a big WB fan but I do have, or have had, most of the albums incl. the two solo. I tend to return, over and again, to Karma to Burn, a really good live album compiled from various shows, released in 2005, and Too Close to Heaven the Unreleased Fisherman's Blues Sessions, the "other half" of Fisherman's Blues which wasn't released until 2001(?). It includes some thrilling sax from Anthony Thistlethwaite. I am certain I will revisit the Yeats album time and again, too.

I knew of the Yeats project before the first performances of it in Ireland, but somehow hadn't realised they toured it in the UK, nor heard the album until a few months ago. The only song I don't get on with is A Full Moon in March. The other 13 are superb. He has brought the poetry so alive.
Mabeanie1 wrote:I also went down to London to an event at the Southbank Centre last September where Mike talked about his life long obsession with Yeats' work...It was clear that the Yeats project was a labour of love and it was fascinating to hear how Mike had set about setting the poems to music over the past 20+ years, the liberties taken with them to make them work as songs and how the project had finally come to fruition in early 2010 when the poems finally came out of copyright.
Interesting. Yes, I remember seeing a clip of him where he said how his mother had taken him to Yeats' grave in Sligo when he was young and the huge impression it had made.

It interests me that Mike Scott makes many spiritual allusions in his lyrics, from Pantheism to Shamanism to Christianity to Mysticism. e.g. The Pan Within (many references to Pan in WB songs and in WB Yeats), Medicine Bow, This is the Sea, The Christ in You, Bring Em All In, Long Way to the Light, Everlasting Arms, Open, Every Breath is Yours: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOo7N6n9Qfs and etc. He has spent a lot of time at the Findhorn spiritual community in Scotland, a place maybe most known for the fact that Eckhart Tolle, of The Power of Now fame has run retreats there.

I found this quote from him: "I've always been interested in spirituality, and I've never joined any religion. And it really turns me off when people from one religion say theirs is the only way. And I believe all religions are just different ways to spirituality. And if you call that universality, well, then I'm all for it." He's in good company there - that's what Krishnamurti said, and that's what Leonard Cohen says, to my ears, even though culturally of course he is Jewish.

I know WB Yeats was a life-long friend and admirer of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore and amongst the delicious faery stories, I detect an Eastern influence, particularly in Before the World was Made, which sounds very much like the famous zen koan, "what was my original face before my parents were born": "Yes I'm looking for the face I had before the world was made."

Happy Easter:-)
Last edited by Diane on Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ScottM
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby ScottM » Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:59 pm

Hi Wendy. You really seem to be getting up to speed on the Waterboys! Glad you are enjoying the shows and pleased to hear about the added-value service you received in Glasgow. Hope your recovery from surgery goes well and you can get your dancing shoes on for the concert in May!

Diane, I enjoyed reading your latest post on the Waterboys too and learning more about the background to some of Mike Scott's lyrics.

I am off to listen to Karma to Burn now!

Regards,

Scott
2008: Dublin/London (O2)-Jul 17/London (O2)-Nov 13/London (RAH)/Brighton
2009: Liverpool/Madrid/Barcelona
2010: Sligo x2/Lille/Las Vegas x2
2012: Ghent/Amsterdam/London x2/Dublin Sep 11&12/Paris Sep 28
2013: London (O2) Jun 21/Brighton/Manchester/Cardiff/Birmingham/Amsterdam
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby hadley » Thu May 10, 2012 12:28 pm

I love the Waterboys. You're right Mike Scott is a great songwriter, and a very decent human being too
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Liamberney » Fri May 11, 2012 5:45 pm

Well, I've read enough! I discovered Leonard Cohen at a time when I had started reading W B Yeats and always felt that the instant connection I had with LC was largely due to this. I will listen to the Appointment with Mr Yeats album and no doubt buy it. Thanks ScottM for bringing the work of Mike Scott and The Waterboys to my attention.

Liam
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Diane
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Diane » Tue May 15, 2012 10:37 am

It was a superb concert in Cardiff last night! When they came on and launched into Killing My Heart, I wondered whether in fact we were going to get any Yeats, but they did a Waterboys classics set first - including The Girl in the Swing and Lonesome Old Wind (a big fave of mine although without a sax player it wasn't quite the same) - followed by a selection from the Yeats album, and more old Waterboys for the encores. Fisherman's Blues had the entire audience up and dancing. It was all delivered with admirable musicianship and theatrical intensity. The Yeats outdid my expectations, which were already pretty high: I won't try and fail to do justice in words. Katie Kim was unfortunately absent, though. I concur with the rave reviews of Scott and Wendy. And thanks again, Dave, for the alert.
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Mabeanie1 » Tue May 15, 2012 11:07 am

Glad you enjoyed the show Diane. (Was there ever any doubt you would?!) I am looking forward to seeing the band again in Birmingham next week. Hopefully Katie will be back by then(?). It's great fun watching her rocking out with the band during the encores after her rather ethereal contribution during the Yeats set.

Wendy
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Diane » Tue May 15, 2012 9:34 pm

Wendy, nothing was said about her absence, but this was their first concert after a three week break, so maybe she just didn't make it back from Ireland in time.

While googling for news, not for the delphic oracle but about Katie Kim, I came across this Guardian piece with Mike Scott's guide to the tracks. Worth posting I thought:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicbl ... mike-scott

Mike Scott returns with a new Waterboys album, An Appointment with Mr Yeats. He describes it as a culmination of a 20-year-old dream to "recontextualise the work of Ireland's most venerated poet, WB Yeats, by singing his words against a backdrop of gloriously full-tilt rock'n'roll." You can read Mike's track-by-track guide below.

The Hosting of the Shee
Using one of Yeats's mythological poems as a lyric, this song describes the riding forth of the war-like gods of old Ireland, the Shee. The first line mentions Knock-na-rea, an eerie flat-topped mountain overlooking the coastal lands of County Sligo from which one could well imagine a tribe of supernatural creatures spilling with malign intent. The musical arrangement is deliberately primal and drummer Ralph was instructed to play no recognisable rock or pop beat, but to keep the groove as a pre-civilisation, feral caveman stomp.

Song of Wandering Aengus
This lyric conjures in my mind's eye a moonlit wood on a hallucinatory night in some old Celtic dream time, and the bard Aengus, silver-bearded, wandering out on his quest. This music is the soundtrack to that vision. Flute solo by Sarah Allen.

News for the Delphic Oracle
A passion play in three parts. In the first we're hanging out with Pythagoras and the boys during the philosopher's golden age, on an ancient Greek beach in an atmosphere of somnambulant bliss. In part two we ride on dolphins' backs through the dancing waters of the sea between death and whatever unknown adventure follows it. And in the third passage, set to a crumbling waltz, we encounter human love, the kindling of sexual desire and finally, at the gates of his intolerable cavern, the great god Pan.

A Full Moon in March
A cracked nursery rhyme, set in a twisted psychedelic toy-town landscape. Jack and Jill have gone to play but Jill has murdered Jack. Chiming guitars by me and Joe Chester. Organ solo by James Hallawell.

Sweet Dancer
Created from three Yeats poems and set to music by myself and fellow Scottish songwriter, the excellent Freddie Stevenson. Lead vocal in the middle by Katie Kim, exquisite singer from Waterford, Ireland.

White Birds
One of the most beautiful of Yeats' love poems. I edited the lyric slightly for song format and inserted, as the bridge, a passionate speech by one of the lovers in Yeats's early play, The Shadowy Waters. Music again composed by Freddie Stevenson and myself. The soulful trombone is by Blaise Margail, the Catalan horn player.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
In Ireland this is Yeats's most famous poem, a veritable national treasure, oft quoted in sonorous, grave tones. The only thing to do with such a piece was corrupt it, so I reimagined it as a delta blues song. Yeats helpfully included a line about a "hive for the honey bee", which Muddy Waters would have been delighted with. What sounds like an electric guitar at the third verse is Steve Wickham's fuzzed-up fiddle.

Mad as the Mist and Snow
The poet wonders if the ruminations and realisations of the great philosophers, for all their cunning wisdom, were nothing more than madness; whether in fact there is no purpose or rhyme to human existence at all. Meanwhile, Steve Wickham weighs in with two killer solos; the first a delicate, lilting, psychedelic Irish jig; the second an invocation of the mist, snow and madness itself.

Before the World Was Made
I share lead vocals on this short esoteric poem with Katie Kim. Forgot to tell you she has her own indie band, named after herself, and they're fab.

September 1913
A first take live in the studio by myself, Ralph, James and my co-producer, bassist Marc Arciero. No messing around! Yeats wrote the lyric as an attack on Irish politicians and clergy who refused to support workers in their struggle for basic rights. It resonates again in these days of corrupt banks, compromised politicians and paedophile priests.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
I tried to catch in the music the sense of the narrator's dislocation, his consciousness profoundly removed from all normal states of mind. The cor anglais solo is by Kate St John.

Politics
The final poem in Yeats's final collection of poems; an ageing man looks on young beauty and feels desire undimmed.

Let the Earth Bear Witness
Two verses from two Yeats plays, turned into one song. The first, "They shall be remembered…", from Cathleen Ni Houlihan, refers to Irish freedom fighters during the struggles for independence. When I was working on the music in June 2009, I became drawn into the drama of the Iranian election protests; those courageous people risking all to resist a vicious fundamentalist regime. I realised Yeats's lyric applies to all freedom fighters, in any culture at any time: by their sacrifice they truly will live forever.

The Faery's Last Song
The world changes, Katie Kim sings the last faery lament, a lone wind blows – and we bid you farewell.
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Diane
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Diane » Thu May 17, 2012 12:21 pm

I just discovered The Waterboys are on in Dublin on July 20th, two days after Springsteen. Impossible to resist:-)!!

http://www.mikescottwaterboys.com
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Junk » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:58 am

I just discovered The Waterboys are touring Australia for the first time EVER in January! :D
Presales are today.
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Diane
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Diane » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:51 pm

glad you'll get to see the Waterboys down there at last, Junk:-) !
(ta for causing me to see the recent New York clip of She Tried to Hold Me, clicking just now on the WB website.)
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Re: The Waterboys at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Postby Junk » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:00 am

You mean this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN5z2P5WVrM ?
Isn't it fantastic?
Whets the appetite.

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