Saturday, March 11, 2006

Post-Pogues Report

Good show last night at the 9:30 Club in DC as we caught the reunited Pogues playing one of their first US gigs together in many a year. Our original dining plans got scrapped (but you'll have to read about that over at The Hungover Gourmet) but the show gods were with us as there was still parking in the club's lot, I quickly found a buyer for my extra ticket, and we arrived shortly before the opener with plenty of time to grab a couple beers and secure a nice spot.

For all their reputation (mostly McGowan-influenced I bet) the band took the stage around 10 and played a pretty non-stop two-hour set with Shane disappearing offstage every few songs as somebody else in the band took over vocal duties. Unlike many in the audience I don't know Pogues song titles and lyrics by heart, but it seemed like "the hits" were in abundance: Dirty Old Town, Sunny Side of the Street, Tuesday Morning, and even a nicely done encore of Fairytale of New York, complete with fake snow during the finale.

Unfortunately, watching McGowan on stage is akin to watching a living, barely breathing car accident. Never a great enunciator to begin with, his between song banter was an unintelligible mix of gibberish and drunk talk. "Sweet, sweet drunk talk" as Barney Gumble would say. He still has the lyrics down -- or what sounded like the lyrics -- and I get the feeling the band treats his presence in love/hate terms. They need him to truly be the Pogues, yet he must bring a tremendous amount of excess baggage to the table.

That said, it was a little sad and disquieting to see the crowd cheering the weaving, shaking, inebriated singer as he downed close to an entire bottle of whiskey during the show. At some point you wish that somebody with that kind of talent could pull their act together, even just a little bit.

1 comment:

Clurg said...

Have you seen any documentaries on MacGowan? It's frightening and sad as you've said.

I'd love to see them, though.

A friend of mine helped MacGowan get a plane. He had flown to see the show and while he was waiting to go back home, he saw a dazed MacGowan walk by. MacGowan had no idea which plane or what time he was leaving. He may not have even had a ticket. My friend was astounded that MacGowan was just shambling through the airport with no help.