Christy Moore | Review
Waterfront, Belfast • 04 October ’17
By Conor Charlton
It came as no surprise, at how good Christy Moore’s performance was at the Waterfront. Christy’s music is predominantly made up of empathy and concern for the human condition, so in that spirit, I too should have empathy. Also, in all fairness had three or four songs with significant amounts of bodies of water mentioned in the lyrics, including two where running rivers were central to the choruses.
The seventy-two-year-old folk legend was an absolute delight when it came to musicianship and crowd interaction. After a quick “fair play to yous”, he and his three accompanying musician comrades who joined him on a second acoustic guitar, percussion and fiddle launched into a rousing rendition of ‘Viva La Quinta Brigada’, a song detailing young Irish men who went off to fight on the different sides of the Spanish Civil war. Considering recent events in Catalunya, this seemed to be relatively topical, but the biggest cheers came from the audience when ‘Jim Straney from Short Strand’ is mentioned. Christy’s political allegiances have almost always been part and parcel of his music; this set was no exception. Some may find this off-putting, but few who go to see him wouldn’t expect anything less; considering some of his most popular songs such as ‘McIlhatton’ were written by men like Bobby Sands, whilst others make reference to those involved in the Republican movement.
Politics aside though, there is a reason why Moore was named Ireland’s greatest living musician in 2007 at RTE’s People of the Year Awards. Whether it’s the fun ditties about wild weekends in Amsterdam or the haunting and powerful melodies such as ‘Ride On’ and ‘Black is the Colour’, his own brand of unique charisma remains incredible even in his veteran years. There are plenty of young performers who could learn a lot from his well-honed relaxed approach which not only lends itself well for crowd interaction but rebuffs the odd misplaced heckle with deft precision.
Just like Seamus Heaney, who Christy referenced, again much the crowd’s delight Moore is a poet who knows exactly how to elicit incredible feelings from his audience. It has been a while since I’ve heard such a whoops for a song like ‘Joxer Goes to Stuttgard’ did.