Romantic Ireland’s Dead and Gone? – Live review of the Waterboys – Mike Scott, An Appointment with Mr. Yeats at Town Hall, NYC 3/20/13
About halfway through last night’s live performance of Mike Scott’s and the Waterboys’ new album An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, several members of the band suddenly put on dark long-beaked masks. It was Eyes Wide Shut-ish without the creepy kink clubs, it was Black-Plague-era Venetian, it was creepy, mysterious, and… sexy? Yes, it was.
This most recent project of The Waterboys’, in which fourteen of W.B. Yeats’ poems are set to music, is set to be released in the U.S. on March 26th. Last night’s one-performance-only-(for-now) at Town Hall in NYC was a transcendant experience, something one imagines Yeats himself would have been proud of. Taken on their own, these songs are typical-Waterboys-rocktastic, and given that they also provide the listener with a chance to appreciate Yeats’ genius in musical form, are multi-faceted ear-feasts.
Last night’s band included an array of local New York musicians, all in sync, all fantastic, as well as Scott’s fave (and most of the rock music world’s) fiddle player Steve Wickham, who almost stole the show with his melodic duels with the guitarist and Pan-esque dancing. Sound effects were used, creating an aural seascape, and in-between-song commentaries by Scott were brief and to-the-point. Perhaps Scott’s most moving vocal delivery was of “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” during which the lyrics were the main focus, amidst a stark and haunting organ line and a repeatitve miltary-style drumbeat. “Sweet Dancer” and even more so “September 1913” are FM-radio-worthy, if radio was still cool, that is. The concert was concluded with several Waterboys favorites, which basically brought the already-pleased house down, especially “The Whole of the Moon.” Overall, the night provided a spot-on performance by all involved, and was quite probably the best advertisement for the album. Even if you’re not Yeats-obsessed, or Waterboys-familiar, the best thing you’ll do all day today is pre-order An Appointment with Mr. Yeats. Romantic Ireland may be dead and gone, but Mike Scott and the Waterboys certainly aren’t, and neither is W.B. himself.