Christy Moore on fire for Marquee gig

Christy Moore on fire for Marquee gig
Christy Moore on stage at Live at the Marquee. Picture: Miki Barlok

Live at the Marquee is a terrific night out when all the ingredients gel and everything crystallised beautifully for Christy Moore's Saturday night performance under the sloping dome that is by now Cork's favourite summertime venue.

"Fair play, youse are on fire!" he roared three songs in, having belted his way through City Of Chicago, North and South and Black is the Colour, with about 4,000 fans singing backing vocals.

From Chicago, we were swept onwards to New York, as celebrated in that oh-so-black Fairytale, which Christy sang in memory of Kirsty MacColl and at the behest of two members of the NYPD who numbered among the crowd packing out Ireland's biggest tepee.

"I got 486 requests for songs tonight," he said, "so I picked three out of the bucket."

"The first one is for Jimmy and Dan of the NYPD who are here tonight with their partners. I know some people will say 'It's not Christmas Eve', but every night is Christmas Eve in the drunk tank."

The Marquee was no drunk tank on Saturday - as is customary at Christy gigs, the bar closed before the performance started with everyone - from very young to very old to mainly middle-aged - in their seats by the time Christy came on stage.

Hit Factory comrade John Spillane and Andy Moore, Christy's brother, were up front and centre, and both got a shout-out from the artiste as he took us through many of the events that have helped shape modern Ireland, including the recent shooting dead in Northern Ireland of young journalist Lyra McKee.

Dedicating Burning Times to her memory, Christy said the song had fallen off the set list "until we got word from Derry that Lyra McKee had been murdered and we started singing it again".

Jimmy McCarthy, one of the country's foremost songwriters, was also up for mention, with several of his songs featuring in Christy's playlist.

It was like one giant sing-a-long, from Don't Forget your Shovel to Only our Rivers Run Free to Ride On. The musicians accompanying Christy - Declan Sinnott, sublime fiddler player Cathal Hayden, and percussionist Jimmy Higgins, were superb and the gig ended to a standing ovation. Christy's encore included The Voyage and an Oh Lisdoonvarna/ Tell me Ma mash-up, with a few oh-lay oh-lays for good measure, ending the night with a feelgood factor reminiscent of Italia '90.

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