It was another very early start after a late night but I no longer had any doubts. I was doing this. I had stayed over with some Bristol fans after the show and we had even stayed up ‘fanduding’ and having late night tea and toast after getting back so hyped up! But 6am came and I was soon up and back on the train.
Ireland happened almost by accident.
I had planned to see all seven shows in the UK when they were announced and had snapped up tickets for those straight away. However I hadn’t planned to go to either of the non-UK shows. I didn’t feel the need to try and do that this time; seven was easily enough!
However, one of those shows was in Belfast. There was a day in the schedule either side of the Belfast show, which I assumed would be plenty of time for travel. But when I came to working out travel plans it turned out that if I didn’t want to fly (and I absolutely didn’t), the only options were either another day travelling back up to Glasgow, or to go via Dublin, arriving the night before.
Dublin, the night before… hmm..!
I checked ferry and train times, and yes I could actually be in Dublin by the start of the show! And so, ticket number eight was purchased!
I had a gorgeous journey over. I had to send out an urgent prayer request when my first train was delayed, resulting in me missing my connection on to Wales and therefore the ferry, but prayers were answered; I was put on the next train, which turned out to be a better, faster train, and I made the ferry in good time. It was a glorious day, and the journey up through Wales, past beautiful coasts, castles and mountains, and across the sea on the ship was spectacular. I even saw dolphins!
I arrived in Ireland for the first time as the sun was setting, and just had time to check into the hostel, where my friends had left me some food and I could drop off my suitcase before heading to the show. I arrived at the show just in time; the queue to go in was still short and my friends, who had VIP passes got me a spot centre stage! I’d honestly thought I would be arriving after doors and would be at the back for a change!
The venue, located mercifully just round the block from our hostel, was a smart, black-painted club, picked out in red light, and absolutely freezing cold inside! Even the crowd barrier seemed to be refrigerated! We kept layers on right through the support band, and hung coats over the barrier to insulate it.
The Alvarez Kings were fun; as on previous nights they continued to prank one another during their set, but the kit seemed to be pranking them too this time. The cymbals fell over in No Resolve (the song in which the singer picks a girl in the audience to be his human mic stand!), causing giggles and panic, then the singer’s guitar strap snapped during their final song!
Switchfoot opened with The Sound this time, a powerful way to kick off. As he’s done previously, Jon added a section calling out ‘Let justice roll down..!’, and ended with a drum jump.
Stars followed, and then Dark Horses; things were starting to warm up now! Jon sang me a couple of lines in Stars 🙂
They then went into YLIAS; this time Drew’s solo started out quite understated, but then he got creative with it before suddenly hitting epic! He continued soloing underneath the remains of the song but in harmony with it, in a way I’ve not heard before. An amazing guitarist! On the second ‘eyes wide open’ section they stripped right back to Jon on acoustic guitar before the whole band came back in.
Jon got in the crowd for Bull, and there was much hat swapping! He nicked a phone to film with, and stood on rail at the back working the crowd, whilst Drew threw in another awesome solo!
Still in the crowd Jon started everyone off singing When We Come Alive. He went back and forth through the crowd through pretty much the entire song, people taking selfies with him the whole time, and he ended back on stage holding the mic stand high and getting the crowd to sing.
And then they again played Oh! Gravity. This time there was an awesome jam session in the middle, Jon soloing with Chad. Tim almost knocked the mic stand over, resulting in lots of amused smiles between him and Jon at the irony of gravity, and smiles and hugs between them as they played. And Romey’s piano crash solo!! Wow!
Jon introduced IWLYG, saying ‘This is about a love that won’t let go, the transcendent love of the Maker Himself’.
They followed this with Hello Hurricane, played acoustic around the ‘fancy mic’, but I could hear them audibly, so close I could hear each of them and their individual harmonies, which was lovely. Some girls in the crowd provided nice backing vocals throughout! The sound at this show wasn’t the best quality; it’s hard to put a finger on what exactly was wrong but it just wasn’t coming over at its best somehow. But this song sounded lovely on the different mic.
For tonight’s cover, the guys chose to play The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy – and they were clearly having a lot of fun!! Drew told us a funny story at the start about how he was really into Wham as a kid and bought a tape, but his big brother literally knifed it to the wall and told him he should listen to this instead! Jon said ‘Let’s hear it for Drew’s big brother y’all! He could’ve ended up in a Wham cover band!’ 😀
And then Jon sang me that same line in House Burns! I’m really going to have to ask 😀 He began Where I Belong by singing snatches of the second verse over the introductory chords, so skipped it in the actual song.
And then again they closed with Meant To Live. Romey came right to the front leading on rhythm guitar whilst Jon and Drew passed the riff between them awesomely. He actually rocked rhythm at front most the way through, at one point going back and playing the keys at the same time!
Bizarrely the crowd encored with ohley ohleyohleyohley! Again they played Float, Live It Well and Dare You To Move. Jon went into the crowd again during Float and came up by me, I had to help lift him back onto the barrier!
The venue was cleared immediately after that, and Jon tweeted no aftershow, so we decided to go straight back to the hostel for some much needed sleep! But my Dublin friend was devastated; it was her only show. 😦
In spite of the somewhat ropey sound, that show had a real party atmosphere; I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jon spend so much time in the crowd, there seemed to be a lot of connection.