Fairytale of Boston

Let me start this review with a caveat. I have Shane MacGowan’s face on a t-shirt and I’ve been dying to see the Pogues perform since I was like 12. Really the only thing the Pogues could have done to disappoint me was not show up.

This did actually concern me. The doors opened at 7pm, and every Pogues-less minute after that was excruciating. Where were they? Could they not find Shane? I pictured people backstage with phone books, calling every bar in Boston. “Is there an Irishman at your bar with fewer than 5 teeth? No? Could you check outside in the gutter?”

This wait did give me time to appreciate the venue: Dan Ackroyd’s newest House of Blues, recently reopened here in Boston. It’s an amazing place. A large main floor with two balcony levels wrapped around it, with bars on every wall. The décor was busy and loud but fit the mood-and it was eclectic. I swear I saw quilts on a wall upstairs. (mosh pit + quilts = awesome)

The crowd was eclectic as well. There was a large number of 20- and 30-something males, the type you find at every loud concert, wearing Dropkick Murphys shirts and lots of black—and a few females fitting that description. There were some young couples, the boys looking wistfully at the groups of 20- and 30-something males and the girls looking kinda bored. There was a huge man in a kilt. And of course there were the middle-aged couples who have been Pogues fans longer than I’ve been alive. They were cute, although it was kind of strange to realize that is what the cool kids grow up to be.

The opening act was someone I’d never heard of. His music was really quite… “meh” is I think the technical term. Kind of a whiny white boy, and he didn’t energize the crowd the way opening acts really should.

But that’s okay, because the prospect of seeing the Pogues kept the crowd really buzzing. We were all waiting, waiting, waiting, jumping at every shadow offstage every tech guy who came onstage to test a microphone. The clock ticked past nine as they set up, tested, checked, brought out thousands of instruments.

And then finally, finally, Shane MacGowan stumbled onto the stage holding a whiskey bottle and smoking a cigarette.

I died of happiness. I remain dead.


This is why I am bad at reviewing music. What do you now know that you didn’t know before? Nothing really. I love the Pogues and dislike whiny white boy music. Not a news flash. Oh well…