On Sunday morning, I flew to Dublin with two friends to attend the first of two Christmas performances at Vicar Street by the incredible Glen Hansard and his band. This was something we had been talking about doing for 6 months before the gigs were announced at the end of August. We were promised bells, horns whistles, special guests, and an early start… and boy did he deliver.
Walking on stage at 8:45pm accompanied by the Songs in the Key of D choir before the rest of his band start trickling onstage, Glen began a show that last almost three and a half hours. He performed tracks from his solo albums, along with cover versions of Gloria by Them and Woody Guthrie’s Vigilante Man, along with a sprinkle of tracks from the much loved movie, Once, including Falling Slowly and a beautiful rendition of Interference’s Gold. The latter is quite often played on a venue balcony by just Glen & Rob Bocknik,, this time, however, he was accompanied by band at the front of the stage unamplified, in what was one of my favourite moments from the gig.
Other highlights included his brief interlude during Her Mercy of Star, which includes a verse of Pure Imagination [yes, that one]. It is performance that I’ve only heard on the 2002 ‘Setlist’ album but never live, plus Fitzcarraldo with a guest appearance from The Frames’ violinist, Colm Mac Con Iomaire.
I believe this was the fifth time I’ve seen Glen’s show, and every time I come away feeling as though I’ve left the gig of my year, and that was still the case this time. Bring on Glen’s return to London in February following the release of his third solo album, Between Two Shores.