The Dubliners, |
(Pop Twist, 2004)
The Dubliners have been around longer than I have. I find it rather astonishing, given the way tastes change, that after 40 years they're still going strong and remain as popular as ever, despite several changes in the lineup.
According to the history published on their website, the group originally got together in 1962 in O'Donoghue's Pub in Dublin. At that time, they were called the Ronnie Drew Folk Group after their founder; they became the Dubliners in 1965. In 1967, a pirate radio station began playing one of their tunes, "Seven Drunken Nights," and the group suddenly found themselves immensely popular.
In 2002, the surviving Dubliners -- past and present -- celebrated their 40th anniversary with a special reunion concert at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. That historic concert was immortalized in this double DVD set, which also includes a series of candid interviews with the "Dubs."
The concert itself, I'm sorry to say, is rather boring to watch. Judging by some of the audience shots, those folks were having a wonderful time, which is only to be expected from attendees at a live performance. But there was no stage dressing, other than a few lighting changes, to liven things up and the Dubs aren't spring chickens, so they don't hop around a lot onstage, like some younger performers. The focus, of course, is supposed to be the music, but when you're watching at home, surrounded not by other adoring fans, but by dogs and dust and yowling kids, the visual component really needs to be more compelling. That said, if you just listen to the music while doing something else (taking care of that dust, for example), it's really a lot of fun.
The first disc of the set includes both the first half of the concert (before the break; the latter half of the concert is presented on the second disc), as well as a series of interviews with the group. These fascinating interviews reveal that these fellows are quite the characters and always have been. I did have a bit of trouble understanding some of the interview clips, but that could easily have been a combination of the sound on my aging TV set combined with a slightly thicker accent or a softer voice.
So my reaction to the DVD set is mixed. The music and interviews were great, but the visuals were less than stunning. This is a good introduction to the Dubliners, though, if you're not familiar with their work.