"You're better live than on cd", people have been saying to us for ages. One person, in the history of the band, has come up to me and said "I prefer your albums to the gig".
It's not something we've taken as an insult, we're delighted to know that people enjoy the gigs so much and we've been reasonably happy with the success of the albums over the years.
I've always been sceptical about trying to capture on tape what we do in front of an audience. If anything, I've been the biggest lobbyist against ever putting out a live album. I've argued that attending a show is so much more than just listening to the music — there's the buying the ticket, making the travel plans, meeting up with friends, entering the hall, getting a drink or two, checking out the support act, the anticipation of the headline act coming onstage, the singing along with the familiar songs, seeing the band (god help us), hearing a new song or two, the lights, the volume...all that and more. It has been my fear that simply releasing a cd of the live versions of the songs may not satisfy what the audience expect; that it may not live up to the experience of being in the venue on the night.
Well anyway, here goes — we've done our best. We now present the second night in the Black Box in Galway last July for your pleasure and analysis. The first night was fantastic and we were all delighted that the pressure was off for the second night for both recording the live album and the DVD. Whatever it was, it may have had something to do with the pressure release, but the second night turned out to be even miles better and all the tracks we've chosen have been taken from the Wednesday night.
Apologies for some of the imperfections but these are part and parcel of a live recording unless you go back to the studio and re-do as much as you keep. There's Davy laughing in the middle of singing a good few songs, the backing vocals aren't what they should be a lot of the time and all that kind of stuff. But we have, at last, decided to put out what a good number of our faithful followers have been requesting for quite some time. I'm delighted in a certain way that some of the songs are now released with their present arrangements. After playing many of them for ten years or more the songs themselves and their parts have evolved quite a bit since we recorded them for the first two or three albums. The Galway crowd were with us all the way and a real Race-Week party atmosphere permeated the Black Box, as you can hopefully hear off the disc.
And the answer to the question on everyone's lips was — Richardson's, No. 1, Eyre Square, where we were joined by Seán and Cora Smyth, Rí Rá, Mouse McHugh, Liamy Ivory, Dan Trayers to mention only a few of the musicians and singers and none of the ‘Where ye goin' after?' merchants, of whom, of course, there are waaaay too many to mention …