Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown. Photo courtesy of Paul Mac Manus.

Few bands have changed as much as these guys as they take their musical journey, with that core folk rock mix, over the past thirty odd years. Their self titled album gave us ‘A Girl Called Johnny’ before 1985’s sky-scraping ‘This is the Sea.’ their music has continually evolved, from the influential mix of Celtic, gospel, country and rock on the classic ‘Fisherman’s Blues’, to the fired-up poetic passion of 2011’s ‘An Appointment with Mr Yeats’, 2015’s the rootsy, funky ‘Modern Blues’ and now to ‘Out of All This Blue’. Welcome tonight to the Symphony Hall, Mike Scott and his Waterboys

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Support for tonight comes from Sophie Morgan – a twenty-year-old  singer-songwriter from Cheshire. Releasing two singles over the last year, and debut EP ‘Annie’. The EP also features a cover of The Waterboys ‘The Whole of the Moon’ which Mike Scott loved and which led to her being invited to tour with the band this autumn.

The touring band is the same as that who recorded Modern Blues and successfully toured the world last year: Mike Scott on vocals, guitar and piano, his side-kick Steve Wickham on electric fiddle, great Memphis keyboard player and showman Brother Paul, ace drummer Ralph Salmins, legendary Muscle Shoals bass man David Hood and sharp Austin guitarist Zach Ernst.

New album ‘Out of All This Blue’ takes the Waterboys  takes the band on yet another musical journey bridging the toughness of British/Irish rock and the soulful, funky swagger of the American south. As Scott tells us, this new outing, with a 34 song track listing, is 70% love songs. and 30% other shit. The “lurve” may be because Scott is indeed loved-up, after meeting and marrying Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, and they welcomed their first child together in February of this year. And she clearly has been a creative muse for him, alongside their journey int the southern states of the USA.

‘Love Walks In…’ starts off and then stops after the first line to reset and restart – finishing with a rising chant:”I’m So in Love With You.And an early teat to the set – A Girl Called Johnny’. We sing. “Everybody sing yeah, Birmingham sing yeah” come Scott’s Celtic tones – an impromptu extension of a manic Jonny…

Four of five years ago a Radio show in Kentucky suggested an inclusion of a piano player who was a huge fan from Nashville.  Scott who was out and about with his fiddly side-kick Steve Wickham , kept declining, but to no available. And there they met (and kept) piano player Brother Paul, who’s like a piano playing version of Animal (as in The Muppet’s), long yellow locks flailing as groves on down with the band. ‘Nashville, Tennessee’ is inspired by meeting him. ‘Rosalind (You Married The Wrong Guy)’ is for ‘our cousins across the Atlantic’ – “You married the wrong guy Rosalyn, when are you gonna see? You married the wrong guy,  pick up your skirts and flee…” Lyrically Trump.

When Ye Go Away‘, an intermission between ‘Out of All This Blue’, from ‘Fisherman’s Blues’, whilst ‘Take you to the Hammerhead‘ featured a reference to the ongoing scandal of media mogul Harvey Weinstein.  The set rolls and rolls with the new album, and a good chunk of t is played tonight and it certainly shows that The Waterboys have gained their full mojo back over the past few years, and are back on song with their rising and angsty Celtic tunes.

Then THAT song. A song that has become an albatross, in a plethora of great tunes. ‘Whole of The Moon.’ Scott embraces it, and the band rock down, Scott doing vocal impersonations of Bob Dylan and David Bowie. We sing “Too high, Too far. Too soon.” Chanting.

“Harigato. Wooooohoooo….” Scott goes and we’re in the manic swirling roots crescendo set completing of Fishermans Blues.  The Waterboys remain on fire, and their new outing is Waterboys classic, be it with a South US take. well worth a punt. And you will be a singing on your way home….

“Unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars, yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon….”


Setlist:
Do We Choose Who We Love?
Santa Fe
If I Was Your Boyfriend
If The Answer Is Yeah
Love Walks In
A Girl Called Johnny
Nashville, Tennessee
Rosalind (You Married The Wrong Guy)
The Connemara Fox
When Ye Go Away
The Hammerhead Bar
How Long Will I Love You?
The Girl In The Window Chair
Morning Came Too Soon
Man, What A Woman
Medicine Bow
The Elegant Companion
Didn’t We Walk on Water
The Whole of the Moon
Fisherman’s Blues

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