A last minute ticket was acquired for a concert, and I was duly informed that my attendance was required. No struggle there – I do love a musical gathering. The band was The Blizzards. The location was the Olympia Theatre.
Who are the Blizzards I wondered. The name sounded vaguely familiar. After some extensive research (on Wikipedia) I discovered that they are an Irish pop-rock band from Mullingar in County Westmeath. And that they are fairly big names on the Irish music scene.
Which is why I knew nothing about them. Spending fifteen years abroad has the effect of making you ignorant about various happenings and movements in the homeland. This band had released a few albums before splitting up. The lead singer – one Niall Breslin went on to launch a successful solo career. And become a judge on the Irish version of The Voice.
Apparently he used to play rugby for Leinster.
When I mentioned to some colleagues that I was going, the ladies at lunch, gave each other a knowing look and murmured ‘Oooh Bressie’. I was told that he was a great advocate for depression. I am sure that she was mistaken and that she meant to say that he was an advocate for mental health awareness – having had his own struggles in this area over the years. Well there’s nothing wrong with that, and if he is using his voice and position for this cause, well then that can only be good.
The Olympia theatre is a gaudy nineteenth century music hall on Dame Street in the city centre of Dublin – a fabulously ornate and tacky venue. But intimate – having a capacity of under a thousand. So much the better – I prefer smaller venues – you’re never reduced to watching a big screen to see the action. You can get up close and personal.
We got the cheap seats – way up in the gods.The second tier, where it’s advisable not to lean too far forward. Any sudden movement and you could plunge to your instant demise.
With a stroke of good luck, one among our party has a brother who works in the venue. He gave our names to the heavies on the door, and told us that we’d be upgraded. Connections people.
We arrived at the theatre – it was blisteringly cold. When we mentioned our connections, we were given special wristbands and whisked up to the pit, right at the front of the stage. Now this was more like it. I could get a good view, without the vertigo.
I glanced around. The audience was mainly women (and some sexually suspect men – myself included). And they were quite young. I would have expected an older crowd considering that the band have been together for a while and this, after all is their reunion tour. The fact that the singer is a judge on a TV talent show might explain the age profile.
There were quite a few Mammies in attendance with their daughters. There solely for the music no doubt.
When the band arrived on stage, I gave a gasp. I had seen the pictures of course. but nothing could quite prepare me for the sight of Bressie. What a great big ride. Standing tall at well over six foot, he just exuded an air of gorgeousness. Ripped arms. Massive feet. Beautiful face. I felt like a teenybopper at a Justin Bieber gig.
And I won’t be seeing my fortieth birthday ever again.
I was awestruck. Such a vision of masculine loveliness. And seemingly a very sweet guy too. Joking along with the crowd in his sexy Mullingar accent. When he told the audience that it was much easier to be nice to people than to be horrible I cheered.
The family of the band were in the booths at either side of the stage – there to support their sons who were doing their first gig together in six years.
The other four band members are all very talented musicians and were clearly loving the performance. But the shrieks were for Bressie. I made a deliberate point to watch the other band members – it must be irritating (or a relief) to fly under the radar of such beauty.
I kept a special eye on the keyboard player Declan Murphy. He looked so happy. I may have feelings for him. And I wouldn’t even need to change my name, should one day he decide to make me his husband.
The music was fantastic. It probably isn’t the most experimental or genius music ever written, but at a live gig it’s all about the atmosphere, the adrenaline, getting lost in that magical moment, where you believe that the great big lunking frontman is singing directly to you.
Never having heard them before I didn’t know which songs were new, which were old, which were hits, and which were band favourites.
I loved the show. I’m a fan.