January 2009 by John Dunford
I am just surfacing now after an absolutely brilliant Sharon Shannon Xmas tour. Eight spectacular shows in a row in Ireland. Great audiences everywhere ... thanks to everyone who turned up at the shows despite bad weather and a raft of illnesses.
The touring party was badly hit by stomachs bugs and flu’s too. Hannah who was supposed to run tour merchandise had to pass the baton to her cousin John for the tour. When I arrived in Castlebar for the first show, tour manager Damian McCollum had succumbed to a back injury. Worse was yet to come as Sharon arrived and had to go straight to bed, getting out about 10 minutes before the show started! Crew driver Sean Staunton, sound engineer Leon O’Neill, monitor engineer Mini Moore and Lighting designer Liam McCarthy all succumbed to one ailment or other during the course of the tour. While sharon recovered after 24 hours, Shane MacGowan, Dessie O’Halloran, Richie Buckley and Jack Maher were also casualties over the 8 days.
However the show must go on... and it did every night with a great result. Shane MacGowan was in great form as was Mundy and Dessie O’ Halloran. Stage technician Decky Hogan (Decky the Techie) made his Irish debut; fronting the band with on stage each night with terrific versions of Dancin’ in the Moonlight and Land Down Under. Confusion reigned as Decky is now a crew member and special guest.
The circus moved from Castlebar to Donegal and then onto Cork, and from there to Galway. Don Stiffe made a surprise guest appearance at Leisureland ... and then it was onto Killarney where New Years Eve was celebrated in rare fashion. Mundy led the band tan audience through a rousing version of Auld Lang Syne while Liam McCarthy covered the audience and stage in snow-flakes courtesy of snow machines borrowed from Pat Shortt’s production team. Thanks Pat!
On to Wexford where Sharon and co were joined by local man Kelvin Busher on stage. Kelvin gave a great version of the gospel classic Old Time Religion. Then on to Ennis where Sharon’s parents and Shanes mum showed up. It was brilliant to see Mrs. Shannon and Mrs. MacGowan holding hands and singing along to Courtin’ in the Kitchen!
We finished up in Kilkenny at The Hub, the cattle mart... what a great venue.
My thanks to all of you who came to the shows. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as Sharon and the gang did.
Special thanks go to the following people....who made the whole event possible - Sharon and all the guests, Shane, Mundy, Dessie, Joyce Redmond, Decky the Techie and Joey Cashman. The Band - Jason Duffy, Aongus Rawlston, James Delaney, Jack Maher, Richie Buckley, Jim Murray, Gerry O’ Connor, Mary Shannon. The Crew - Damian McCollum, Leon O’ Neill, Paul 'Mini' Moore, Ger Kearney (Who loves ya baby?), Liam McCarthy, Decky Hogan, Sean Staunton. Merch - John Patrick Dunford. Shane’s driver - Brendan, Shane’s manager - Joey Cashman, Mundy's manager Dave O’ Grady. Martin Nolan and his staff at MP (Sharon and Shane’s agent). A special thanks to Murt Whelan ,Dan, Dennis, Mike and all the crew. And to Hannah Dunford and Dave Turner at Daisy Entertainment. Also to all the promoters and venues.
And finally again to you .......the ones who make it all possible...the audience.....HAPPY NEW YEAR!