Tonight, September 19th, at 8pm on the east coast and west coast of the United States, 8pm Irish and British time, 9pm in central Europe, and tomorrow at 8pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, Christy Moore’s many fans can view a livestream solo performance by the legendary singer on the stage at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. “I haven’t gigged since last March, so I’m really looking forward to it,” he told me earlier this week.
Anyone who has attended a Christy Moore concert will know that his interaction with the audience and their enthusiastic response to his singing adds greatly to the atmosphere and enjoyment of the occasion. However, this livestream event will be a solo event in the fullest sense of the word and Christy said: “I’m preparing myself mentally for the strangeness of it all.”
Although they won’t be sitting in front of him, the singer knows his fans will be watching and listening from many outside locations: “The hall will be empty but, out beyond, around the world, there will be people gathered around their devices to hear the songs. I’ve had notes from all around the world, people telling me that they’re ‘all set’ for Saturday night. It’s an exciting prospect for me in this grey time.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has proved challenging for the music sector and, when I asked Christy how it had impacted on himself in professional terms, he replied: “Last March I was looking forward to 60 concerts across the year. All of them were ‘sold out’. In one stroke, all diaries were cancelled.”
He added that this had “a huge effect on all of us, band, tech-crew, back-room team: all the venues have been locked up.”
Last December, before the coronavirus outbreak, he played ten nights in Dublin and there were “approximately eighty people in total involved in running each of those gigs.” He added that, now, it was a case of “everyone’s livelihood wiped out by Covid”.
Describing his own situation, he said: “In personal and emotional terms, I am blest in that I can provide for my family, that I have my music to sustain me every day. I always have lots to work on, this streamed gig included.”
Christy Moore often takes a stand on political issues of the day and this is reflected in his work. In relation to the current pandemic, his message is: “Stand up to the rising tide of fascism, follow the Covid guidelines, keep working.”
As he puts it, “We’re all in the same boat”, and the message is the same for all his fans: “We’re all hanging-in together trying to keep afloat. I sing for all my listeners wherever they may be: The Bronx, The Rock, Woolloomooloo, Glasgow, Japan, Chile, Puckane.”
That’s a wide geographical range, since Woolloomooloo is a neighbourhood in Sydney, Australia, and Puckane is in County Tipperary. Indeed he has very happy memories of singing in Kennedy’s Bar in Puckane. Tonight’s concert will have a wider reach but a high level of performance and commitment from Christy Moore is always in evidence, no matter what the location.
Born in Newbridge, County Kildare, Christy worked in a bank as a young man but, when a prolonged strike took place in the industry, he left for England where he attended folk-clubs and music pubs and got involved with many Irish traditional musicians and singers. He was a founding-member of two famous bands, Planxty and Moving Hearts before developing his successful solo career. His work is recorded on more than 40 albums and the songs often have a political flavour, covering issues related to the Northern Ireland, nuclear power, Irish involvement in the Spanish Civil War as well as other matters.
Note to ticket-holders: The concert will remain available for 24 hours from the end-time of your stream and this applies to all time-zone streams. There is limited availability, tickets can be purchased online only and additional information can be found at Dice.fm.
Dice.fm will send a link to access the live stream within an hour of the event starting – via email or through the app. If you have any questions about the stream or watching on different devices, check out the streaming FAQs.
The event is supported by Ireland’s Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, with The Irish Times as media partner.
Deaglán de Bréadún is a freelance journalist and author based in Dublin. He is a columnist with The Irish News and his books include ‘The Far Side of Revenge: Making Peace in Northern Ireland’ and ‘Power Play: The Rise of Modern Sinn Féin’ as well as three books in Irish. His reporting on the Good Friday Agreement negotiations and their aftermath for The Irish Times won the Northern Ireland IPR/BT award for Daily News Journalist of the Year.