‘Restricted View’ said the tickets…a phrase that can send shivers down the spine of any seasoned concert goer but as this was my 27th visit to the best venue in town I had a fair idea that seeing the show wouldn’t be a problem. Sure enough, as we took our seat two rows from the back (I booked late before you ask), we were indeed behind a column but, just as I thought, it didn’t limit the view too much…although I admit at times we had to crane our necks to see the stage.
It wasn't an issue though and I was far more concerned with being able to breathe, cramped in as I was in the ridiculously tight seating that thankfully isn’t normally used in the Olympia stalls. It was a relief that the view wasn’t so bad, especially as I tend to drag my wife along to lots of gigs that she doesn’t particularly want to go to. Feeling relieved about the view I offered the Mrs the better seat…hey I’m not completely selfish after all…and it’s not my fault she declined. At this point my wife will rightly point out that, at five feet 5 inches, she rarely gets a clear view at any concert as she is married to someone that usually insists on standing at gigs. Admittedly I tend to forget that at over six foot tall I usually see over people and not the middle of their backs.
So what of the Dexys? Well there were some here that were no doubt hoping for a run through of the hits. I admit I wouldn’t have necessarily been adverse to such a thing but as much as I love Geno, the band’s version of Jackie WilsonSaid and yes of course Come On Eileen (which I have drunkenly danced to at many a wedding…who hasn’t?) this show was all about the new album, One Day I’m Going To Soar. As it happens that is a very good thing as it is catchy, humorous and quite frankly a brilliant collection of music.
When you think of Dexys you think of Kevin Rowland and this was a (sort of) homecoming for the singer who although hailing from the West Midlands in England, has Irish parentage. Kevin couldn't be Dexys on his own though and tonight I counted ten musicians / singers on stage including Jim Paterson (the original ‘Celtic Soul Brother’), the magnificent Lucy Morgan on violin and Kevin’s foil for the night, Pete Williams. They were all outstanding and Madelein Hyland added some dramatic style for I’m Always Going To Love You and the best track of 2012, Incapable Of Love,not forgetting her appearance in one of Olympia Boxes during She Got A Wiggle. A star in the making me thinks.
The show encompasses two parts with the first being a run through of the aforementioned new album. From the excellent opening track, Now, until closer It’s O.K. John Joe, you know the record is something a bit different. I’ll admit that I was concerned how the audience would react to the new album being played in full. I needn’t have worried though as the standing ovation that met its completion was wonderful to see and judging by the reaction of the band (and particular Kevin himself) they were pretty chuffed by it to. The second part kicks off with The Waltz from the criminally underrated Don’t Stand Me Down (a record too far ahead of its time?) and there are new takes on a few others including a foot tapping, Latino (?) version of Geno. Until I Believe In My Soul is one of the best songs the band ever wrote as is Tell Me When the Light Turns Green which are both personal favourites and after tonight I will be humming them for weeks to come...and I even think the Mrs will be to.
I’ve seen some great encores in my time but few match the rousing This Is What She's Like which seemed to go on forever but was truly fabulous and included the near 50 year old Kevin running up to one of the boxes to finish introducing the band. No Eileen tonight which really didn’t matter as it isn’t what the show is about although I would be lying if I said I didn't want to hear it but after a 2 hour 15 minute theatre show it is fair to say we got our money’s worth (even though I maintain that Restricted View tickets should be half the price of the usual prices).
I said the words ‘a run through’ in relation to the new album earlier. That doesn’t really do it justice. This was more than that. This really wasn’t one of those gigs were you break out in a cold sweat when the lead singer says ‘Ok we are now going to play our new album in its entirety’. For starters the new album is a great one but it is more than that. This was not a run though of songs in the vain hope of flogging a few more records. This was unlike any gig I had been to before and would highly recommend you catch the tour while you can. This is a proper show. This is theatre, and Mr Rowland is completely in his element.
Ticket: May 2nd 2013
Ticket Price: €34.50