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The Orpheum Theater, Boston MA, USA (03.05.99)

Review #1 from Paul Bowen (The Orpheum Theater, Boston MA, USA 03.05.99)

I just got back from the show at the Orpheum in Boston. It was totally awesome. The night started off on a bad note. I had to wait out in the rain for 25 minutes to pick up my ticket, and I didn’t have an umbrella with me. It was like 7:45 when I got inside. Jude was already playing, but I didn’t care. My seat was a lot better than I had thought it would be. I was dead center about 20 rows back. I would have liked to have been closer, but I was still close enough to see their facial expressions pretty clearly. I don’t know exactly what the set list was. It was close to what they had been playing in the other shows, but I think they mixed it up a little. They opened with Promises and then two more new songs. For the most part, everyone was just sitting during these songs. Then they played Ode and Sunday and Linger. The crowd loved these, of course. Dolores had the crowd sing a couple parts of Linger. At that point, I realized that I hadn’t been singing along at all. I sang along with all the songs I knew after that (that means every non-BTH song). Some people sang all along, but most people only sang when Dolores told us to. They played a nice mix of new and old songs. The crowd cheered for their old favorites, but everyone responded well to the new songs too. They finished off with a great rendition of Zombie. Everyone cheered and clapped and stamped their feet continuously until they came back out a little while later. My hands hurt afterwards from clapping too much. They started the encore with Pretty. Dolores introduced it with “this is a song for women, about inner beauty” or something to that effect.

They followed it up with a song from BTH, When You’re Gone, and finally Dreams. When You’re Gone stands out as one of my favorites of tonight. I think the show was on the order of 105 minutes, including the dead time before the encore. The house lights came on almost right away after Dreams ended and everyone filed out. It took forever to get out. I bought a tour T-shirt for $25 and headed outside to wait for the band (more on that in a minute). I was surprised by how many old people there were at the show. By old I mean about 30 or older. There were also quite a few people there that were obviously still in high school. It was a good demographic mix. For the most part, everyone sat through the concert, but everyone stood during a few favorites like ICBWY and Zombie, and then during the encore. Out of respect for the people behind me, I only stood when the people in front of me stood up and blocked my view. But I didn’t hesitate to stand when the girl in front of me stood up and blocked Dolores. The people on either side of me (who were all old as per my earlier definition) only stood up during Zombie and Dreams. Even though the views of the band were certainly blocked during many of the songs, they wouldn’t stand. I don’t see the point in going to a concert if you won’t even try to see the band. Why not just buy a bootleg?

Dolores started off wearing a leather jacket and a tight, long leather skirt. She took the jacket off after a few songs to reveal a silvery sleeveless blouse. For the encore, she started off with a hooded long brown cape that looked like it might have been made of velvet. She took it off pretty quickly to expose a very pretty long pink dress. She was looking pretty damn good throughout the show. Mike was wearing all black. Fergal had a white T-shirt on that he took of at some point during the opening set. I can’t really recall what Noel was wearing. I think he may have had a blue shirt on, but that’s the best I can do. I have no idea what the two extras (keyboardist and backup vocalist/guitar player) were wearing. I thought that both of them did a good job. I didn’t think adding them detracted from the sound, but I don’t know if they were really necessary. I thought that Fergal did a great job tonight. He’s a very energetic drummer. Noel and Mike played well too. Dolores’s voice was great. I had heard that it wasn’t up to par, but it most certainly was. The crowd loved her unique dance moves. Everyone cheered whenever she started dancing. But anyway, I waited by the door after the concert. It was raining harder now, which really sucked. I counted about 35 people waiting for them.

To pass the time, we got to watch the roadies load all their equipment on to a big truck. After maybe 45 minutes Dolores and Don came out. We asked if she would sign things for us and she told us that she would do it over by the bus. We all ran over there and were kind of confused until we saw her open up a window. I figure that she probably stayed in the bus partly because it was raining and partly for security reasons. She looked even better from up close.

She really is a beautiful woman. She signed everything we handed her. Most people just got her to autograph their ticket stubs. I brought my NNTA CD along for all of them to sign. I handed it to her and told her that today was my 20th birthday and asked if she could write happy birthday on it. She asked what my name was and I told her. She signed it “To Paul/Happy Birthday/Dolores”. So, not only did I get a personalized message, she said happy birthday to me too, How awesome is that? Everyone in the crowd said happy birthday at that point too. There was one girl there that was totally freaking out about meeting and talking to Dolores. She was like “oh my god, I’m talking to Dolores O’Riordan” and started like hyperventilating.

Dolores was incredibly nice. She seemed just like any ordinary woman, not a big rock star. She signed whatever people gave her. She shook everyone’s hands (including mine :) , and yes, she does have a firm handshake). And she was talking to us throughout. She said that Taylor is doing well. One guy asked her if she was going to go drinking tonight. She said no, she had to go to bed early. She asked us what our favorite songs were. One girl said Daffodil Lament, another said What’s on My Mind, but the consensus was that they were all our favorites. I tried to think of what my favorite song was, but I couldn’t pick one, so stupidly I didn’t say anything. We asked her if the lads would sign stuff for us and she said that Fergal would, but that she didn’t know about the Hogan brothers since they’re kind of shy. I hung around until she was done signing everyone else’s stuff just to hear what she had to say. Then I went over to the other bus, where the guys were supposed to be. Noel and Mike were just finishing signing things when I got there.

I only had time to shake Noel’s hand before they shut the windows. Noel said that Fergal wasn’t out there yet, so we waited near the bus for him (there were probably about 15 people left at this time). A few minutes later, one guy got them to open the windows again. I got Noel and Mike to sign my NNTA booklet. A few minutes later Fergal appeared in the window. I’m thinking he had probably been in the bathroom when we asked about him before, or something like that. He also signed everything that people gave him.

They were all very nice to us. It’s nice to know that fame and fortune don’t change everyone for the worse. They conversed with us throughout, but I think it was mostly Noel doing the talking. He said that they were going back to Ireland in a month and that they’d be back in the area to play Greatwoods on August 21st. He also said they’d be driving down to New York overnight to get ready for their next show. After they finished signing things, Mike started throwing candy bars out the window to us. I got a Chocolate Chip Rice Krispies Treat. After that, everyone in the crowd headed home. As far as best nights of my life go, this one ranks up there. I got to see a kick-ass show.

I got to talk to the band. I got to shake all of their hands. And I got all of their signatures, including a happy birthday message from Dolores herself. I’m actually going to frame the CD along with my ticket stub. Basically, the only thing that would have made it be better is if they had invited me on to the bus with them. :) I would like to be able to relive this concert again. If anyone knows how I could get a hold of a CD-R or even just a cassette tape of it, please, please, please let me know. Also, if anyone knows what the set list was, please let me know. As I was leaving, I saw a guy holding a set list from the stage. I wish I had thought to try to get one.

Well, that’s it for the concert recap. Now for my personal commentary. Actually I doubt anyone read down this far, but who cares? A few years ago, I was totally obsessed with the band. I spent money on cranberries items at a sickening rate. I was totally psyched to see them in Philly in September of ‘96. When they canceled the show at the last minute, I was really disappointed. I wasn’t mad at them, since I couldn’t blame Dolores for being sick, but I slowly lost interest in them. I didn’t think TTFD was quite as good as the other two, but I still liked it. After they dropped off the face of the Earth for a couple years, I started listening to them less and less. I wasn’t thrilled when I started hearing mp3’s from the upcoming BTH. I had heard that it would sound like EEIDISWCW, but it wasn’t what I expected. I started getting sick of this list, and considered unsubscribing. I knew they were playing Boston soon, and of course I was going to go, but I wasn’t too excited about it. In fact, I was pissed that the concert was tonight since that meant I had to have my birthday party last night and not actually on my birthday. I went with low expectations since I knew they were playing lots of new songs. I hadn’t heard them all (I still haven’t bought BTH), but I just didn’t think they’d be any good. Well, I was wrong. As I described above, this was a truly great experience. It has rekindled my interest in the cranberries (maybe I’ll even update my web page now :) ). I’m going to buy BTH tomorrow. Maybe the new songs will suck. Maybe I only liked them tonight because of the live experience. But I doubt it. I feel a rebirth in my interest in this wonderful band.

So, the moral of this story is…..GO TO THE CONCERT. If they are playing anywhere remotely near you, make sure you go. You’ll thank me afterwards. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I’m already planning on going to at least two shows this summer, even if it means going to the Greatwoods show in August (even though I’ll be at home then, six hours away).

—Paul Bowen

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