17th July, 1999. Lansdowne Road, Dublin
I was privileged to see the Corrs live in concert in Dublin and I will attempt to share that experience with you.
A warm summer’s evening and a capacity 40,000 Lansdowne Road crowd provided the perfect backdrop for a spectacular two hours of entertainment. As I prepared for the concert I couldn’t help but wonder whether the sound quality would match that produced in the recording studio. The performance that followed took my breath away. It was simply a phenomenal display of individual and collective talent, far surpassing any magic produced by a home entertainment system.
Soaking up the Atmosphere
Warm-up band ‘Picture House’ were very good but you could tell that everyone was restless for the main event. They didn’t quite get the reception they deserved but should go on to greater things.
There then came what seemed like a never-ending wait as the crew got to work on re-arranging the stage. The crowd gleaned what entertainment it could get: watching those in the stands attempting to do a Mexican wave; watching members of the crew climbing up the rig including a rather large fellow who was greeted with rapturous applause as he reached the gantry above. Then, the huge curtains were draped across to conceal the stage – we knew the wait was almost over.
With the crew members finally in position, the large screens flashed on to thunderous applause and like a vision the silhouettes of the four protagonists emerged from the distance.
Suddenly, the curtains were drawn back and there they were! Time appeared to stand still for an instant as the crowd gasped at the sight of the three beautiful sisters and their brother Jim. Then, as Andrea burst into ‘Only When I Sleep’, the stadium erupted and the tone of the evening was set. The instrumental section of the opening song proved, without any possible doubt, the all round talent of the band.
After introducing with a couple of classics, Andrea greeted the crowd for the first time, “Hello, Dublin.” Once more the fans went berserk. What followed was the best display I have or am ever likely to see as they proceeded inexorably through all the favourites from both albums and more, ‘When He’s not Around’, ‘What Can I Do’, ‘Love to love you’, ‘Forgiven not forgotten’, ‘Runaway’, ‘Hopelessly Addicted’, ‘Right time’, ‘Closer’, ‘Queen of Hollywood’ (my personal favourite).
There was no respite when Andrea wasn’t singing. As the girls went for a brief break a grand piano was shuffled onto the stage and Jim said, “This is my time…” and was given as big a reception as any of his sisters. As the big brother and producer of many of the songs I would say that Jim’s role is much more pivotal than people would imagine. When men chat about music one question that always arises is ‘what is the point of the two blokes in Steps?’ but with Jim there is a respect for his musical ability. He is the consummate professional who is somewhat overshadowed by his gorgeous siblings.
After delighting the audience with an effortless piano solo, Jim ushered Sharon back on stage to join him and she proceeded to produce a faultless piece on the violin. For the first time in my life, I could listen to (and enjoy) the violin without cringing.
When Caroline returned we were treated to something magical as she joined Sharon in a duet of ‘No Frontiers’, giving them the chance to be at the forefront for a change and demonstrate that they too possess voices to die for. The problem with The Corrs is choosing a highlight because the show is highlight after highlight but this was something special, as I for one had never seen Caroline and Sharon sing before. The audience was mesmerised and once again joined in a spontaneous ovation as the song ended.
Would this overshadow the rest of the show, I wondered? Not a chance! Andrea returned with more verve than before and proceeded to deliver a dynamic finale. She told us a brief story about how their international status had been boosted by the cover of the old Fleetwood Mac hit ‘Dreams’ and duly showed us why. With a passionate rendition of ‘I Never Loved You Anyway’ they said goodnight and left the stage.
In the time it took the girls to change into some slinky sky blue numbers, the crowd clapped, cheered and howled for more. We were not to be disappointed. With performances of ‘So Young’ and ‘Toss the Feathers’ which were as energetic as at any point in the evening the watching throng went delirious and suddenly, in what seemed only an instant, the show was over. The stars accepted their plaudits and said their final goodbyes. I could sum it up as sensational, breathtaking or phenomenal but no one word can adequately explain such an experience.
As the lead singer, Andrea will always be the centre of attention both on and off stage and she showed great enthusiasm as she danced and skipped all over the stage waving at the crowd all the while. However, this concert proved that they are a unit, with the whole being greater than the sum of the individual parts. Jim has such a powerful presence, Sharon’s violin playing and backing vocals provide that essential flavour to the unique style that is The Corrs and Caroline’s drumming is a joy to behold, delivered with such uncompromising ebullience.
I would love to have a gift for music but I can enjoy it through the ability of others. I trust that The Corrs will continue to harness that incredible talent and provide many more unforgettable evenings like last Saturday in Dublin.
If you only see one movie this year see Star Wars. If you only go to one concert, go and see The Corrs!