Getting requests

12 November 2010

I’m sure there are people who are not fond of Christy Moore, who I’ve blogged about here before, but he is hard to dislike. I saw him at the Royal Festival Hall, with Declan Sinnott, last weekend, and a bit into the set someone in the front stalls was hollering for a request.

Moore has this thing he does to deflect this – you can hear it on the live recording at The Point in Dublin – where he says that he’s got the next few songs planned out in his head, but he might do a ‘jukebox’ later on. On Saturday, he did this, and seemed about to go into the next song, before he paused:

‘I was playing for nine years before anyone asked me for a request’, he said. ‘Don’t think I’m not grateful that you ask.’

Later on he played Delerium Tremens, perhaps best described as an Irish version of a talking blues, in which the singer’s drunk so much he starts imagining strange (and satirical) things, with new verses written in response to changing events.

‘I was going to play this last night, but a guy in the audience kept on asking for it, and he really fecked me off. So I didn’t. If you see him, I want you to tell him I played it tonight’.

Finally, for someone of my generation, for whom the CIA-sponsored coup in Chile was a decisive event (the other 11th September) I liked it that he got to the end of a song (by the Moving Hearts, in which Moore and Sinnott were leading lights) and announced that it was to have been the last song in the set.

But during the day he’d seen a picture of Pinochet with Thatcher, and so closed instead with Arlo Guthrie’s song about the Chilean singer Victor Jara. Pinochet died a frightened man dogged by lawsuits and unable to leave Chile for fear of arrest, thanks to the courage of the Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, and a display of backbone by Jack Straw. Victor Jara, who was tortured and shot in Santiago’s Estadio Nacional during the coup that brought Pinochet to power, will live while we can still make recordings of songs.

The picture, which shows Christy Moore and Declan Sinnott playing at the Royal Festival Hall last year, is from the photostream of Rebecca19804, and it is used with thanks.

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