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UK two CD live set from the acclaimed Irish Folk/Prog Rock act, taped during special performances in December '09 at the 02 in Dublin. At one point in the mid-1970s, Horslips bidded to be Ireland's answer to Steeleye Span. They also had crossover fans with Jethro Tull, Genesis, and even Yes in their folkier moments. Horslips released many superb albums along the way, becoming Ireland's most acclaimed band. Horslips drew on their distinctly Irish roots, and were capable of playing straight Folk material when the moment called for it, but weren't afraid to turn up loud and hard, in the best art-rock style, on the right songs. Talking Elephant. 2011.
That, however, wasn't my initial reaction when I first learned that one of my favorite '70s acts were reforming for a handful of concerts in Ireland and the UK. While anticipatory I was also a bit leary. Afterall when a bunch of 60-somethings decide to "get the band back together again" the results are often less than satisfactory, sullying an otherwise stellar career - relegating their act to casinos and county fairs playing aside local cover bands. And in Horslips' case they hadn't played together (excepting the ROLL BACK sessions) for nearly 30 years. Several members had left the music scene decades ago although Johnny Fean had continued playing in several obscure ventures. I recall seeing Charles O'Connor's name exactly twice in the past 20+ years - once as co-performer on the ANGEL ON THE MANTLEPIECE CD and then as co-producer for More Power to Your Elbow's second album FINGERS OF FUN. What about Devlin and Lockhardt? Had they kept up playing (and singing) as hobbies or otherwise? I don't know. For unspecified reasons drummer Eamon Carr was unable to perform. That's why this looming CD held both promise and dread.
Well my fears were almost entirely alliviated within seconds of inserting the CD into my player for its maiden voyage. The playing was tight and crisp as I remembered it back when. Carr's replacement, Ray Fean (Johnny's much younger brother), who's impressive session credits include Natalie MacMaster, Sharon Shannon, Dan ar Braz, Clannad and Capercaillie, was the perfect fit. He was probably as familiar with Horslips as anyone other than the longtime quintet. The first track 'King of the Fairies' is an instrumental so one unanswered question still remained... How would they acquit themselves vocally?Read more ›
This is a celebration. A reunion concert that defied the odds, and overcame the skeptics, and proved what a great, powerful band that Horslips still is ... after all these crazy years. Yes, nearly 30 full years after their last concert performances, the great Irish band reunited onstage for this amazing show. This isn't just a sentimental stroll down Horslips memory lane, but an intense, passionate, and moving performance. The songs you love are all here (okay, maybe a few favorites are absent, but the basic goodies are liberally spread out over these 2 discs) and the band is on fire. Rejuvenated, inspired, whatever the adjectives, they really sound in top form. No worries about any barnacles on the hull in this case. They are fired up and ready for action. In case you are new to Horslips, imagine The Chieftains combined with a wee bit of ELP, and mixed with some Thin Lizzy, and maybe a dash of Jethro Tull. Okay, maybe that comparison might be a tad too loose, but Horslips were a VERY accomplished group of musicians who used guitar, flute, fiddle, drums, and keyboards (organ) to create celtic-folk-rock masterpieces. Hearing these songs again, and played with such love and feeling, puts a big smile on my face. Horslips fans rejoice!
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