Divine Comedy offer a lot more than “Something for the Weekend”.
800 pack out a sellout concert to pay homage to Neil Hannon and the Divine Comedy.
Tonight’s Venue St George’s Hall Liverpool, Built in the early 1800s as a space for music festivals and the Civil and Crown courts, the hall has always been at the heart of community life in the city. Provides a stunning backdrop to tonight’s host, The Divine Comedy, formed in Enniskillen Northern Ireland in 1989. Neil Hannon, being the only and ever present member of the band.
The Support tonight was provided by Lisa O’Neil, who bounded onto stage Hands on hips and immediately sang acapella, taking songs from her latest off album “Pothole in the Sky”. I suppose the best way to describe O’Neills Presence, is Stead fast, a raw uncompromising vocal, a deep Gaelic brogue, with a delivery that would have you believe she would have been at the forefront of any of Ireland’s turbulent past. “Rock the Machine”, a song written about the decline of the Irish dockyards, something that was not lost on tonights audience, has led me to seek more about this enigmatic performer.
The Five piece band take to the stage followed by as usual a smartly dressed Hannon, Guinness in hand, sporting a black suit and grey shoes.
The band drop into the set for the first few songs Hannon, before talking to the ever so attentive audience, “We’re going to be talking a lot about nothing in particular,” he tell us. He knows that’s the sort of thing we like.
As he pops on a Bowler hat and complimentary umbrella, civil servant like and launching into “Bang goes the Knighthood“, then onto “Our Mutual friend”, from the absent friend’s album.
Hannon has a unique delivery style, there’s more than a glint in his eye, more than a wry smile, beyond the tongue in cheek, lyrics, lies an intricate and oh so clever performer, Dedicating “Alfie“, not only to Cilla but Liverpool as well, confirms a definite link from host to audience.
Tonight is an 800 capacity sellout, literally as the show was announced it was sold out, not bad for a band that have been going for 25+ years.
Hannon leaves the stage only to return dressed an Napoleon, and we are treated to the wonderful “Sweden” and “Count Grassi’s Passage Over Piedmont,” introduced as “a song about early balloon travel”.
As Hannon opens up the Globe on stage to reveal a mini bar, before getting in a round of drinks for the band, A couple of larger, and red wine with a coke to accompany his own Guinness.
Hannon is left on stage alone and abandoned, sounds a little familiar, to lament, “How can you leave me on my own”.
“Lady of a certain age”, and the latest single, “Catherine the great“, Herald all that is The Divine Comedy.
Lisa O’Neil joins Hannon on “Funny Peculiar”, North meets South. Up until now the audience have been so appreciative and captivated by the stories laid before them. Hannon beckons them to abandon their seats, and join him “At the Indie Disco”, commence the dad dancing, bring on the hits “Something for the Weekend” as well as “National Express”, party is the theme.
The band leave the stage briefly before we are treated to “Absent Friends”,”Charmed Life”, and finally the rather super “Tonight we Fly”.
Obviously, a song is melody and lyrics and they have to work together to hit the heights. You can have the greatest tune in the world, but if the lyricist isn’t trying to communicate something important, then it’s going to fall completely flat. I would hate anyone to think that I’m setting myself up as the arbiter of taste and a lyrical genius. I’m certainly not that. But at least I’m trying to say things in an honest and interesting way. Credit Neil Hannon