David Gray ends tour in mesmerising style to packed Marquee

David Gray ends tour in mesmerising style to packed Marquee
David Gray at Live at the Marquee. Picture: Miki Barlok

Tell the Repo Man and the stars above that David Gray is the one we love.

A hugely successful artist, with fans all over the world, there's no doubt that Ireland must hold a very special place in David Gray's heart. His shows here have always been a thing of legend, always hugely anticipated, capacity affairs. As was this one at the Marquee; packed, really packed.

"Hello Cork, this is the last night of the 'Gold in a Brass Age' tour," he says. "We'll start with some of the new songs."

Initially, while the new songs are excellent, he's playing over a lot of chatter. Later, of course, this all changes. He's some character for grinding out a result.

He doesn't demand respect, he earns it. Hard. From 'The One I Love' on, the night gradually rises and rises.

This night is proof that all is well the Bard of Sale, Cheshire. Arguably its biggest icon since the smiling cat in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland., he may not be in the same league of good cheer as Lewis Carroll's famed feline, but this crowd clearly got what they came for: a night of power, integrity and intense entertainment.

"This is the first outing on this tour for this next one. It's from 1995. I barely remember it. I hope you do.'

Late Night Radio. They did remember, and with some volume. He's a grim, commanding presence, but he certainly puts a broad grin on our faces.

An incredible encore, an a capella Raglan Road followed by This Year's Love.

Gray's star stills shines bright. A mesmerising performance.

His voice has aged well, as has the rest of him to be fair. At 51, trim and energetic, he's every bit as intense as he was in his thirties, when he bonded deeply with Irish audiences, and delivering a committed performance that draws a fully charged reaction.

When he's really into it, his head bobbles. Well, tonight he's like a lifesize bobble head of himself.

You'd be forgiven for presuming that Gray is on a greatest hits tour. Far from it. There's no doubt about it, the mood goes up a notch when he plays hits from 1998 classic album White Ladder. To be fair, he was never going to top an album which gave us This Year's Love, Say Hello Wave Goodybe, Please Forgive Me, Sail Away and, of course, Babylon.

If you don't already own White Ladder, then it's more likely a fault of your age than your taste or choice. Let's face it, if you're 50+ and depending on your musical preference, you probably own Fleetwood Mac's Rumours or Michael Jackon's Thriller; if you're 40+ and Irish, then your copy of White Ladder is nestled next to your Blur and/or Oasis purchases.

The reality for Gray, however, is that he has kept writing quality songs in the 21 years since. In fact, it's only a few months since he released 'Gold In A Brass Age', his latest studio album and his fourth in the last ten years; more if you include his excellent live albums.

And tonight some of those many great new songs went down a storm. Highlights included Mallory, The Sapling, Gold in a Brass Age. Old classic Shine is another highlight. The crowd was in magnificent voice for The One I Love and, in fact, for pretty much all the hits. In truth, they're all hits. Breathtaking.

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