Dec 20, 2011

Imelda May Brings Rock ‘n’ Roll Home to The O2

Last Friday & Saturday nights were Imelda May’s as she rocked Dublin’s O2, the Point Depot to you and me, in a double homecoming gig. And boy did the Liberties belle make some noise – the shows were rollicking from beginning to end. Of course I’d heard about Bono’s surprise appearance on stage on Friday night, where he dueted a stomping “Desire” with May. We made our way to the venue across a wind swept Eastlink bridge on Saturday night wondering if there would be a Second Coming…

Irish singer/song writer Mundy opened the show, rocking out in his cowboy hat and getting us in the mood with “Galway Girl”. As elves set up the stage for the main event, a montage of vintage Americana flashed across giant video screens setting the Christmas tone. May’s band, including her guitarist husband Darrel Higham, soon appeared followed by the lady herself. Imelda May was every inch the star in a hip hugging sequined number, complete with her signature red lips and blonde pin curl.

Getting stuck in straight off, May delivered “Love Tattoo” followed by Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful”. A born entertainer who cut her teeth in Bruxelles and honed her craft in the pubs and clubs ofLondon, May let us know she was here to rock. “Kentish Town Waltz” and “Big Bad Handsome Man” perfectly showcased her sassy brand of smooth to growling vocals. This very sexy sound is owned by May. She was joined next by Mary Black for an emotional rendition of “Mountains to the Sea”.

The show was punctuated by May’s own stories of her musical history and her genuine affection for Dublin is touching, the audience connected with her familiar accent. May belted out gems from her latest album “Mayhem” with an assured je ne sais quoi, shimmying seductively against blasts of Rockabilly energy from her band. Her second guest of honour was Paul Brady, who like Black was a hit with the middle aged crowd. “The World is What You Make it” made a great team of May and Brady.

The special thing about May is the twinkle in her eye and a palpable sense of mischief – and that is why she’s on her way to becoming an Irish musical legend. May launched into blistering versions of “Mayhem” and “Johnny Got a Boom Boom” before exiting the stage. She was soon back with Black, Brady and her singer sister Maria in tow for a Christmas themed finale. Fluffy snow filled the O2 during a beautiful “Silent Night”. We were left on a retro festive high – good times Imelda!

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