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The five best gigs of 2007

As the first couple of tickets for shows in 2008 are coming in, it’s time to look back and recognise the best of 2007. Where possible, I’ll quote from my earlier reviews.

1. Marc Almond – Paradiso, Amsterdam, October 27

Even before he’s sung a note, he’s welcomed with a thunderous applause
and the crowd’s enthusiasm doesn’t wane over the full two hour show.
They sing along, the hands go up, the tears run rings and hearts swell.
We’re close to a conga-line here, it’s that kind of atmosphere.”
This show in Amsterdam was nothing less than triumphant, so good in fact, that I’ve got to see it twice. That’s why I’ve booked to see him in Dublin in February.

2. The Church – Paradiso, Amsterdam, April 20
“I go see bands full of expectations and come away disappointed a lot of
the time. So when I went to see The Church I expected them well past
their heyday, coasting on past glory. Instead I watched four guys
soldiering on with more fire in the belly than a lot of the new
‘The’-bands put together. Overcoming ridiculous technical problems,
they played blistering versions of songs from their vast repertoire.”
When I’m willing to travel to Hengelo to see a band a second time, you know I’m on to something good. The Church quite simply blew me away and they’ve since climbed to the #1 spot in my Last.fm chart for 2007 with 527 songs scrobbled.

3. Amy Winehouse – Paradiso, Amsterdam, February 8
After The Church, Amy Winehouse was my most played artist this year (342 songs) eventhough I didn’t listen to her much in the second half of the year. Amy played a late night show at the Paradiso. I suppose we were ‘lucky’ for her to show up at all, let alone play a fantastic set. She isn’t much of a performer, but with pipes like that, she doesn’t need to be. I’m glad I got to see her at her best. And I hope someone, family or friends, will look after her and help her deal with whatever it is needs dealing with.

4. R.E.M. – Vicar Street, Dublin, July 3 and 4
‘This is not a show,’ we were told plenty of times. R.E.M. used five nights in front of a real audience in Dublin’s beautiful Olympia theatre, to ‘rehearse’ songs for their upcoming album, which, by the sound of the songs played at these shows, will sound a little more like the R.E.M. we knew before they – briefly – went mega. Well, I enjoyed these ‘rehearsals’ very much. Stipe really doesn’t have to do much to entertain, doesn’t have to work for it, he is just naturally charismatic. I can never figure out whether he’s a nice bloke or not, but I’m told he is. Good for him.

5. Cathal Coughlan – Sugar Club, Dublin, March 25.
There are a couple of artists on my list that don’t tour that much or at all, which means I have to travel to go see them. Cathal Coughlan is one of them. I’ll happily jump on a flight to see him in London or Dublin. It’s an easy choice to make when you know someone’s going to deliver. And deliver he did at the intimate Sugar Club, playing a short solo set before a full run through his grand opus, Flannery’s Mounted Head, also known as Foburg. I really wish he’d play more often.

Also seen:

Jarvis Cocker – not quite as good as hoped for, but he’s adorable.
Brett Anderson – better than expected
Camera Obscura – really not my thing
Moke – derivative and calculated
Interpol – not great
Justin Timberlake – shite seats, crap sound
The Bravery – good energy
INXS – J.D. was better on TV.
The Police – I shouldn’t have gone.
Luka Bloom – I have seen him do better
Arcade Fire – fantastic show falls flat in large venue.
Sinead O’Connor – can do no wrong
The National – impressive show marred by abrupt end.

And then of course there were the eight Nothing Like The Sun shows, in Stratford, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham and Gent. So totally different from everything else mentioned here I decided to leave them out.

All the photos are copyright © 2007, cvodb.