Friday, March 22, 2024

Tribute Concert for Sinead O'Connor and Shane MacGowan At Carnegie Hall - A Night of Powerful Performances to Bring out the Irish in All of Us - And a Special Song by Roisin Murphy - Video

By Rob Curry

Carnegie Hall hosted a tribute to the music and lives of Shane MacGowan and Sinead O’Connor on March 20, 2024. These types of tributes can sometimes be staid affairs, but not this one. When you have two of the best Irish songwriters of the last 40 years it quickly turned into a celebration more like an Irish wake at the local pub. The only thing missing was a perfect pour of a Guinness.
Michael Dorf, of City Winery vintage, put together a stellar group of artists to celebrate Shane and Sinead. They were Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, Steve Earle, Cat Power, Amanda Palmer, Glenn Hansard, Billy Bragg, Imelda May, David Gray, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, Josh Ritter; the list goes on and on. 
The set list alternated between Shane and Sinead songs which highlighted the dark and introspective side of Sinead’s songs versus Shane’s raucous celebrations of the good and bad that life can bring.
The highlight of the evening had to be Sinead’s daughter Roisin Murphy doing “Nothing Compares 2 U”. With a closed crop hairstyle and a voice similar to her mother’s, it was a truly special moment. How could you not feel her pain and get choked up when Roisin sang:
 “All the flowers that you planted, mama
In the back yard
All died when you went away”

At the end of the song Roisin received the longest standing ovation of the night.

Another crowd pleaser was Glen Hansard (of “Once” fame) and Cait O’Riodran’s (member of the Pogues and ex-wife of Elvis Costello) version of the unlikely Christmas staple “Fairytale of N
ew York”. And for you purists, don’t worry, they didn’t censor any of the original lyrics.

The Dropkick Murphys told a story of how they tricked Shane when recording a song with them. Shane thought Dropkick’s manager was Bruce Springsteen. Dropkick went along with the ruse and figured Shane must have been confused when the song was released and Bruce wasn’t on it. 
They also thanked Shane and Sinead for letting them sneak in the back door of Carnegie Hall before launching into a rocking version of “Body of an American” which would have made Shane proud.
 FOLLOW SuzeeBehindtheScenes on IG:
For me the highlight of the night was Hansard and Imelda May’s version of the Sinead/Shane song “Haunted” which originally appeared on the “Sid and Nancy” soundtrack. There was not a more appropriate song to celebrate the two artists. Imelda didn’t want the song to end as she did an extended call and response with the crowd on the refrain “haunted by your ghost” . We all felt we were going to be haunted in a good way by Sinead and Shane’s music even though they are not physically with us.
I don’t mean to slight the other artists as there were so many great performances, but my space is limited. Hopefully the concert was recorded or videotaped so that if you weren’t lucky enough to be part of the 2,700 person audience you’ll be able to hear the love and admiration for Shane and Sinead by the performers and audience.

The grand finale was “Dirty Old Town” which the Pogues covered. Now all 50 musicians were on stage for this one with a different artist taking turns on the vocals. It seemed like it would be an endless version, but finally band lead Tony Shanahan had  Bettye LaVette finish the night off with an incredible a
capella version of the chorus.
It was last call at the Carnegie Pub for that night of music but the power of Shane and Sinead’s music will live on and on.   
YOU MAY LIKE: Interview with Honorary Oscar Winner Diane Warren HERE
Editor's Note: All net proceeds of the concert to benefit PenAmerica.