Live: An Acoustic Evening with GEOFF TATE (Cork, 06/12/16) Posted: 19/12/2016 by Philip Morrissey

20161206_Geoff_Tate-v2Mid-week shows are always a tough sell. Especially at this time of year. Most businesses are frantic with the Christmas period, whilst schools and colleges are immersed with examinations and assignments. Tonight was setting itself up as something different. Those promoting it were doing it in aid of Music Generation Cork City. The scheme works in partnership with community based musicians and music organisations to bring music education into the lives of children and young people across Cork City. Using the Community Education process, programmes are being made available in the places where children live, play, and go to school, bringing opportunities for music-making into the heart of Cork’s communities.

Despite the cold and uninviting evening, plenty were gathered in Crane Lane for the event. It is always a worthwhile cause when money is being gathered for such a concern. A free drink with every ticket only sweetened the deal. Kicking off the evening’s fare is Cork based singer-songwriter MARK DALY. Locally, he might be known better for his time in THE VOODOOS. He has also built up a close friendship with tonight’s main attraction and contributed lyrics and vocals to OPERATION: MINDCRIME‘s albums so far. Tonight, he is fronting THE ODDITIES. He is certainly a fine warm-up for the gathering crowd and the band behind him do a decent job. It is easy to cultivate the looks and moves for a lead singer but without the voice, it falls flat. Thankfully, Mark is able to demonstrate that his chords are in fine working order. Recent single ‘The Hearts Reminder’ from his upcoming EP is an example of his talents.

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FIRE AND WATER are led by partners, Tomás McCarthy on guitar and Clódagh Kearney on Sax. The pair have toured with Tate previously and were the ones who informed him of Music Generation. Tonight, the pair are backed up by a number of guest players. The ranks are swelled to include backing singers, a percussionist, keyboards and a bassist. Their lifespan as a duo has concentrated on laid-back melodies and friendly vibes. More of a roots-raggae feel than straight ahead hard rock. Perhaps more in tune with a warm sun-drenched day in the middle of summer (they do exist here seemingly) than a cold December night. Neverthless, their songs are quite infectious and help warm up the crowd well.

Most of their songs are the soundtrack of the pair’s relationship together. It almost reads as a concept album of sorts. And current EP “Cocoon” builds upon this theme. ‘Heatwave’ is perhaps their best known song having garnered substantial airplay on local radio over the summer. They do have other highlights though. ‘Modern Day Cowboy’ is the tale of life on the road, going from town to town in a restless search of new ventures. ‘Untrue’ is the unfortunate involvement of Kearney in a road accident, rather than what the title may have suggested. ‘Sweet Honey’ describes the subject expressing his joy at having someone with him who loves him, regardless of his unorthodox nature and lifestyle. ‘Just Love’ rejects the need for hate in their life anymore. The band finish off with that universal delight of approaching the end of a hard week and the start of better times in ‘Friday Feeling’. One that everyone can testify to. Except us unfortunate saps who have to work weekends.

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The night is being billed as ‘An Evening With Geoff Tate’, with the promise of stories behind some of the most famous songs of his long career, performed acoustically. For this venture, he is being assisted by THE BAND ANNA. Gathered behind him are various different instrumentalists which include a bouzouki, a violin, an upright bass and more. It marks an extremely busy period for the singer. He is set to embark on a tour with TIM ‘RIPPER OWENS and BLAZE BAILEY under the Trinity banner in the US. Dates are also set for further Irish dates in Dublin and Belfast later this month and releasing the second part of the OPERATION: MINDCRIME‘s trio of concept albums. The split between him and his former band-mates in QUEENSRYCHE has seen both parties get on with their own lives now and fading into history.

Those present may have been fearful of concentration of latter day material and more of his solo material. These fears are quickly laid to rest. The band kicks off in impressive fashion with ‘Walk in the Shadows’ and ‘Another Rainy Night (Without You)’. His voice remains as strong as ever even on the higher notes, after all this time. He warms up the crowd with the rest of his welcomes and delves into his various recollections of the past. ‘Until There Was You’ was recounted as being inspired by his wife inquiring why he had never written a love song for her until that point. ‘Those Hundred Mile Stare’ was from conversations he had with his own father and hundreds of other servicemen on their experience in combat throughout the years. ‘The Fight’ told of him being informed of this band who were playing down in Glengarriff who he eventually took out on the road. It led to MARK DALY becoming involved in writing with him, and indeed he co-wrote this number from his latest album “Resurrection”. All the time, his connections with Cork were emphasised. One of his daughters married a chap from here and they take regular visits to the county and city.

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The heat on stage led to him shedding his cap and jacket, even on this cold evening. The sublime ‘Silent Lucidity’ prompted a sing along from the masses. He went all the way back to his beginnings with ‘The Lady Wore Black’ when praising the efforts of the organisers and Music Generation in terms of helping people. Politics is on everyone’s mind at the moment, and Tate is certainly one of the more outspoken musicians, proven by his rendition of the sarcastic ‘I’m American’ from “Operation: Mindcrime II”. ‘Blood’ also got an airing from one of QUEENSRYCHE‘s more forgotten album’s in “Tribe”. Finally, the double whammy of ‘I don’t Believe in Love’ and ‘Eyes of a Stranger’ from 1988’s “Operation: Mindcrime” sent everyone home happy. This album helped make stars of the band. Tate spoke of his continued pride in those songs still. A minor quibble would have been the film crew who took on stage throughout the performances. You can capture a band in motion but when it infringes on them, problems arise.

Review & Photos by Philip Morrissey