The Pogues @ The Shithouse of Blues
I don't generally write much about shows anymore, but the Pogues, well, they're special. Thanks to being at the Concrete Abomination of Lansdowne Street there are no photos.
We saw them a few years ago back when this was still the Avalon, and allowed things like going outside to smoke, and where they believed in the comfort of their patrons and provided us with a nice springy not-concrete floor to stand on for 5 hours.
This show was a good deal more coherent than that last one, if you forgive Shane for apparently thinking he was in Detroit; they've played 4 shows since Detroit on the March 4th, including the first Boston show last night. Shane was on stage for much more of the show and was definitely his lovable drunkard self. As an emcee he's worthless, but I swear that man has a switch. He goes from "be Shane MacGowan" to "Do Work" the instant music starts.
We did have a bit of a scare as Spider Stacy was doing a little jig, and Shane thought he'd join in. He spun around, fell flat on his back literally with his feet comedically straight up in the air. At first I thought this might have been plannery schtickery, but then the rest of the band seemed kind of genuinely concerned that Shane was on the floor, he got up, dusted himself off and was fine. I also thought he was going to burst into flames like a Chinese Walmart teddy bear when his cigarette blew back on him, considering how gin and whiskey soaked he is. Turns out he's impervious to fire, so he's got that going for him, which is nice.
The music was great, the crowd singing along almost all night. Shane was a good ringleader and Spider did great translating from MacGowan into English.
Personally, it's kind of sad to look back at videos and see Shane back when he could do S's and TH's and TCH's and see what's happened to the poor guy. On the one hand, hey fuck it, it's worked out for him. On the other, here's one of the best lyricists in the last 30 years and he can barely pronounce his own name anymore. This is a guy who can still raise a tear and as clear as it is that he can't live forever, it's just as clear that there's a solid chance of Shane hosting wakes for every other man on that stage.
I hate to say that Shane MacGowan is the Pogues, but really, Shane MacGowan is the Pogues. In much the same was I feel that a Clash reunion without Joe Strummer would be Big Audio Dynamite, I feel that the Pogues without Shane is the Irish Rovers. Still geniuses all, but not the same. I would still pay cash money to see the rest of the band, they're all talents in their own rights, but it would just be a different band with 9/10 of the same members.
Hopefully Shane goes on being Shane, and hopefully this isn't really the last call for Pogue Mahone.
What I know we got in no particular order:
Sunny Side of the Street... Funny story. Last time we saw them, Shane would wander on stage every so often with his bottle and say "now Sunny Side of the Street!", and the band would huddle him and say "no no no Shane, not quite yet, you just go back over there and drink while we'll play". This time, he said Sunny Side of the Street, and that's what happened. It was nice to see him get his way!
Bottle of Smoke
If I Should Fall From Grace With God
Thousands are Sailing
Streams of Whiskey
A pair of Brown Eyes
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Dirty Old Town (Now Detroit, now THAT is a dirty old town)
Rainy Night in Soho
The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn (?)
That's probably about half the setlist, I have a shitty memory, years of drinking, lalala, sue me.