A Saint Patty’s Musical Wish: The Irish Rovers Live

April 6th, 2012 by The Professor


The Irish Rovers share their charm to entertain loyal fans

by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman

2012 is being touted as signifying the numeral 50. There’s quite a collection of musicians celebrating their Silver Anniversary as musicians on stage. The Beach Boys, The Moody Blues, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Pete Best, The Quarrymen, Status Quo, Roger Daltrey, Bob Dylan, Eric Burdon, Van Morrison, and Phil Lesh are all ready to hit the road to entertain their individual fan constituencies.

Rumors are rife that The Who anticipate launching another tour performing their 1973 mod-rock opus Quadrophenia later in the year. Still British contemporaries like Ray Davies, Jack Bruce, and The Yardbirds are presently in between touring engagements. July 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of England’s enduring export: The Rolling Stones. The word is that the classic rock icons will tour anew in 2013 now.

The Irish Rovers formed initially in 1963, but 2012 is curiously identified as their 47th Anniversary year. Two original members remain, George Millar on acoustic guitar and Wilcil McDowell on accordion. Bassist Ian Millar is the son of retired founding member Joe Millar. Sean O’Driscoll plays banjo and mandolin, and Fred Graham plays bodhran and drums. John Reynolds was absent from the stage lineup at the Barns of Wolf Trap for this date.

Appearing in Vienna, Virginia, on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, The Irish Rovers performance perfectly prefaced the impending Saint Patrick’s Day holiday on the immediate weekend. The band was promoting their recently released album Drunken Sailor. They delivered a total of seven salty songs on stage from their new disc.

The in-between-song banter and spirited interaction among the musicians was highlighted by a series of amusing exchanges and shared roadweary tales from their global touring experiences. Although the group attracts an exceedingly elderly audience, the rousing ethnic instrumental reels of The Irish Rovers engage the energy of the spectators who clap in time to the jaunty jigs.

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic which struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, George Millar composed a moving memorial to the Irish shipbuilders in Belfast who constructed the pride of the White Star Line and the 1507 souls who lost their lives a century ago within the waves of the chilling Atlantic waters.

The Canadian gents dusted off three tunes from their 1967 record including the title track “The Unicorn”, which was an uncommon hit for a folk song all those years ago. The biggest surprise of the evening was a cover of “Lily The Pink” taken to Number One in England by The Scaffold with Mike McGear in 1968.

With the modern miracle of advances in medicine, people leading health conscious lives, and the physical stamina to perform live, it’s a true blessing that seasoned musicians who continue to age also continue to tour. Every band in this demography has either lost members to retirement or death sadly. You are as young as you feel and good vibrations will surely keep us all young for many years to come!

The Irish Rovers, Barns of Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA,┬áMarch 14, 2012 setlist: Irish Rover * Boys Of Belfast * Ireland Boys Hurray * The Gracehill Fair * Dan The Cobbler > I Will If I Can * Brady Of Strabaney * Whistling Gypsy * Lewis Bridal Song * Sweet Anne * Willie Hunter > Dennis Murphy * The Titanic * Lily The Pink * intermission * The Orange And The Green * Dear Ould Ireland * When The Wife Is Mad * The Girls Of Derry * Black Velvet Band * Shamrock Shore * The Clare Hornpipe > Reconciliation * Whores And Hounds * The Unicorn * Dark Island > The Mason’s Apron * The Dublin Pub Crawl * Encore: The Drunken Sailor




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