Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The last word from The Rolling Stones...

Our review of the Rolling Stones at Slane Castle is finished now...
Slane was one of the last shows of their 2005-2007 world tour (they ended up in London). Will they be back? The last word today from website PR-inside.com...
ROLLING STONE RONNIE WOOD has laughed off reports the legendary band are planning to quit touring - insisting they will carry on performing until they drop. It was recently claimed the band's current A Bigger Bang Tour would be their last, because bandmembers Sir Mick Jagger, 64, Keith Richards, 63, Charlie Watts, 66, and Wood, 60, will be too old to hit the road again. But the guitarist insists, "We need a rest, but of course we will tour again. We'll never stop."
So there you have it!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Glyde Inn trad music...

Trad music at The Glyde Inn, Annagassan (YouTube video)

Video Link: <YouTube video of trad music at The Glyde Inn>
The music at our local, The Glyde Inn Annagassan was just outstanding last night. Particularly "Dirty Old Town" with the harmonica ending... WOW! (sorry we didn't record that one)... but we did record another 6 minute clip (uploaded on YouTube) - Now it's really NOT visually stunning, but have a listen and the clip maybe gives a sense of the depth of talent here on Friday night's now - there were 2 fiddles, 3 guitars, harmonicas & squeeze box and the French sax guy by the end of the night... Brilliant. My ability to capture these sounds (and vision) is limited to my little 4MP digital camera (designed for happy snaps), so I know the sound quality ain't great. Clare discovered a new bottle of rum behind the bar, but apparently it's pretty special and will probably never get opened while we're here. So Clare will tolerate the "Captain Morgan" for now... and I will be content with a pint of cider or two. Thanks Connor...
It's been much warmer here in the last few days. Much less rain. Good. Bye then...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

1 year of blogging...

Annagassan Boat Harbour, Sunset, 08 Jul 07
(please click on this photo for a larger version)

Our blog was started up on 23 August 2006... so 1 year has gone by. Thanks for all the hits and please keep looking in. We're constantly adding new things to the site - the latest is "snap shots" which adds a visual preview to all of our links, and allows you to look through our flickr photos without going into flickr in full size.
Please feel free to leave comments on the blog at any time, by clicking on "comments" (underlined) at the bottom of each blog entry - it's really simple to do and you can write anything you like - honestly! (and we'll get inspiration from your messages)
Thanks for looking in from time to time...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Can't Get No Satisfaction (Part 3)

Top: The rain comes pouring down at Slane
Bottom: The fireworks finale to the Rolling Stones concert
(please click on either of these photos for a larger version)

Photo Link: <Rolling Stones photos>
Rolling Stones "A Bigger Bang" Review:
Saturday 18 August 2007, 8.55pm - 10.50pm (plus fireworks till 11pm)
Full Set List: Start Me Up; You Got Me Rocking; Rough Justice; All Down The Line; Dead Flowers; You Can't Always Get What You Want; Midnight Rambler; I'll Go Crazy; Tumbling Dice (with band introductions); You Got The Silver (Keith); I Wanna Hold You (Keith); Miss You (moving to B-stage); It's Only Rock'n Roll (B-stage); Satisfaction (B-stage); Honky Tonk Women (moving back to main stage); Sympathy For The Devil; Paint It Black; Jumping Jack Flash; Brown Sugar (encore); fireworks close...
The Day: So here we were, on the top of a double decker bus at the Drogheda bus depot (20 minutes from Slane) with rain pouring down the windows. It really didn't look good. The bus drivers were hanging around smoking, Stones fans were thin on the ground and punters were jumping off the bus to get McDonalds from over the road. What a beautiful day for an outdoor concert! Eventually we had enough people on board to leave and pulled out towards Slane. Everyone let out a cheer and our pilgrimage began. Slane is a pretty small place, and vehicle access was blocked from all directions. So the bus dropped us before the River Boyne bridge. At the first security checkpoint (manned by the Garda), everyone was hanging around drinking their cans of lager (but you could still get alcohol through if you planned well!) The river was buzzing with inflatable boats ready to swoop on people trying to make an illegal swim to the castle grounds - loads of high-vis jackets everywhere. Across the bridge, we went through the second security checkpoint (more bag checks) but again the checks were pretty cursory - I think years of Bluesfest visits have honed our skills in contraband smuggling. Then down a long, muddy path that seemed to go forever. At this point, you gained a real understanding of the need for wellington boots at concerts & festivals in Ireland (you really need them!) The Slane concert venue is a large amphitheatre, right in front of the castle, going down to the river (the castle is actually quite small). We found our way to the E2 seating block then went to explore. Lots of food vans - 80% of them serving chips and curry sauce... Quite a limited choice at the bar - but ok if you like Heineken for €5 a cup. We bought a couple of t-shirts at €30 each (nothing like a bit of concert merchandising), but gave the programmes a miss (too steep at €15 each). So we sat and watched the crowd build. Clare marked some papers, then the rain came down (hoods up) and I thought for a moment the stage would actually disappear into the cloud... but it didn't. Helicopters buzzed in and out in what seemed like a constant stream for hours. The warm-up acts were fairly lacklusture - there was no doubt this was the Stones show, and they wanted to keep everything else low key. By this point the crowd was well and truly into the Heineken and blokes had discovered the joy of mud-sliding down the drenched embankments... This carried on for a while with much whooping and hollering until the security guys put an end to the fun. The rain eventually stopped, the grounds had really filled up now, the light started to fade, and the stage was all set...
The Show: With a huge wall of lights & video and a burst of fireworks, the Stones started the show with Start Me Up. Binoculars came in handy as the stage was quite distant for us, but the design and use of video throughout the grounds gave everyone a good view. Apparently the set list was almost identical to their last show at Slane back in 1982 - highlights: You Can't Always Get What You Want, Miss You, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It), Paint It Black, Jumping Jack Flash... Keith Richards sang a couple of numbers too. At the half way point in the show the amazing stage design came into play - a "chunk" of the stage lifted up and moved along a track into the middle of the crowd. From there, they had the whole crowd singing along to Satisfation, then on with Honky Tonk Woman, and more of their really classic numbers (the second half of the show was probably more familiar and memorable than the first, especially for first-timers like us). Mick Jagger was constantly taking jackets off, then putting them back on. He ended up wearing a long coat and scarf (a chilly wind had come up!) All in all, a really great show.
Our Thoughts:
- Lots of the crowd seemed to be just interested in drinking and covering themselves in mud - I can understand the drinking, but the mud must be an Irish thing. We don't think a lot of people were there just for the music.
- When the Stones finally came on, the crowd seemed, well, somewhat lacking. There was applause and some cheering, but nothing like the level we expected (not like other concerts we've been to in Australia, etc.)
- The whole gig was incredibly produced and rehearsed (obviously they play very similar sets at all their shows), but there was some interaction with the crowd. I don't think you can expect too much more from a band that's played around the world for so many years.
- A little gripe, and I've seen this many times, is people streaming out at the first sign of the end of the show. LOADS of people were streaming out before the Stones came back for their (short) encore. At U2 in Brisbane last year (ANZ Stadium), again loads of people had left before U2 played 2 long encores with some of their best hits. I know some people want to get the first bus, but what a waste to leave early!
Check out all the photos from the day on flickr - they're getting LOTS of hits! We're starting to think there's quite a few people out there searching for pics of wellington boots !?!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Technorati Profile
We have joined Technorati, which is bound to propel our blog into stardom... Yeah right! :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dublin HHH - Leixlip

Photo Link: <Dublin HHH - 19 Aug 07 photos>
Went on a walk around the scenic town of Leixlip, County Kildare (West Dublin) this afternoon. The temperature hit 21c - Wow! (according to the weather oracle, which is the temperature readout in the Peugeot!) Just a few photos will be added shortly (the camera ran out of batteries) So the weather seems to be changing - maybe for the better...

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Can't Get No Satisfaction (Part 2)

Mick Jagger (stock photo)

This weekend we move from Viking re-enactments to the Rolling Stones... Weather forecast: wellington boots and raincoats :(
The concert is held in the grounds of Slane Castle, a smallish village in County Meath. It would be something akin to having a massive concert (70,000+) at say, Samford, or perhaps even Maleny, with the same type of road capacity - although the lanes here are far narrower than in Australia. No wonder the locals were having temporary fencing installed in front of their homes when I drove through last weekend. I think the best thing for them might be to move out for the weekend. The venue backs onto the River Boyne which is "dangerously swollen" at the moment according to the head honcho at the Castle. I don't doubt him on that! Apparently people have drowned in years gone by in a vain attempt to cross the river and gain free entry to the grounds - perhaps too high a price to pay to see Madonna or REM, but there you are. So, we've decided to go by bus. Thus avoiding our car being stuck in a mudbog to rival the Byron Bay Bluesfest on the best of rainy years. More reports after we've seen Mick Jagger strut his stuff.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Viking Festival at Annagassan

Sword fighting action at the Viking Festival, Annagassan
(please click on this photo for a larger version)
Viking Festival Night at The Glyde Inn (YouTube video).
Not the best sound quality but sums up the atmosphere on the night!

Photo Link: <Viking Festival photos>
Video Link: <YouTube video of Viking Festival Night>
This weekend we had Jackson Allan (John Allan's son) to stay with us for a break from the rigors of Dublin living. So of course we went down the local for the usual Friday night trad session, and we heard about the Annagassan Viking Festival. What Viking Festival!? Apparently a full size Viking boat had tried to get into our local fishing harbour that day, but the boat was too big, so they went to Clogherhead (the next village along) instead - where they have a full size port with deep water access. This boat was sailed/rowed to Ireland by a Danish crew - it took them 7 weeks via Norway, the Shetlands & Orkney Islands. So on Saturday afternoon we checked out the Viking boat at Clogherhead and saw some quite large grey seals chasing fish that people were catching. Back in Annagassan, the Viking Festival was well underway in a local cow paddock. Trad music, Irish dancing, a chip van, Viking sword fights, etc, etc. They had history tours of the village and Clare got all the info about Vikings living here in the year 836 AD. All good fun for the village, and the Master of Ceremonies was dressed as a Roman Centurion - not sure what that was all about!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

East End

(please click on either of these photos for a larger version)

flickr photo link: <London photos>
Hi all, we were back in London again for the Irish (summer) long weekend, 04-06 Aug. Raining as we left Dublin, raining as we returned to Dublin, but London was fine and got to 30c on Sunday. Nice. We stayed at Aldgate East (East London) - like a different country. It's called Bangla town - all the Bangladeshi's live there. Totally unreno'd, filth everywhere but full of buildings from the 1850's and before - having techno raves, outdoor bbq's, ferals selling their belongings at a night street market, brilliant graffiti, even found a Banksy in a back lane on a Jack the Ripper walk. Also did about 7 photographic shows as well as lunch at Wholefoods - the worlds best supermarket. Then on Monday we sped over to Notting Hill to find someone who knew what Eggs Benedict and Iced Coffee was. Checked out the local real estate - couldn't afford to rent a dog box there - would take our entire salaries and more. Could just afford a bedsit in Bangla town though. And we were almost in the middle of a West Ham vs Roma football riot outside Aldgate East Tube Station. And Clare took part in a "Down with Mugabe" rally outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. All the pics from the weekend are online.