Tuesday, October 8
Billed as The Farewell to Rovin’ Tour, it’s a celebration of The Irish Rovers’ 50th Anniversary. Not a lot has changed since their 40th Anniversary Tour (one of four times I’ve seen the band). But it’s still a case of giving the fans what they want. Cousins George and Ian Millar share jokes and lead vocals, moving swiftly through balladry and war songs, through jigs and reels – obvious traditional fare (Marie’s Wedding) and plenty of singalong moments, (Took Me By The Hand and Led Me On )even when the band has to stop to teach the audience the chorus on the spot.
The Irish Rovers show is clearly modelled on the Clancys, The Dubliners, those crossover folk/traditional groups from the 1950s and 1960s and though it’s at the Telethon-end of light entertainment (I’ve heard the same jokes all four times I’ve sat through the band, the one about being half Irish and half Scottish so wanting to get drunk but not wanting to pay for it) it’s all served up as harmless fun – racial stereotypes and all.
The two hour show takes in all of the hits, including 1967’s debut single from the group, Orange & Green. And there’s something in the way the Millar’s manage – still – to spit out the words of Dublin Pub Crawl that, deservedly, raises a dry smile.
Whether you ever need to hear The Unicorn or Lily The Pink again is a thought best left at the door.
There was plenty of clapping from the audience – though worryingly, some members fell into the trap of almost being in time, their efforts then buried in behind the band. That didn’t stop a few of the faithful surging on, proudly marking time in their own special way. Fifty years of the same jokes and a setlist repeated nightly around the world. Fifty years of either never faking it, or forever faking it. You have to hand it to the Irish Rovers. They’ve marked fifty years in their own special way.
This review appeared in The Dominion Post – I’ve reposted it here on Off The Tracks due to requests from people wanting to view it online