Happy to Meet – Sorry to part

Some non IT related nostalgia this morning. Last night I went to what will be the second last concert by Irish Rockers Horslips after a gap of 29 years since their final Belfast Gigs performances. I have to say I never thought I would see the day again where I would hear these masters of Celtic Rock playing at their peak – live in concert. Several times I’ve used the words from their songs as titles for posts here – I hope they can forgive that.

The Odyssey arena in Belfast  filled up relatively slowly – probably because most of the people would have been in their 40’s and 50’s and had waited this long to see the band. That said – the number of younger family members who would not have been born when the band last played was quite impressive.

Horslips were not just a rock band – they actually designed and produced their own artwork – covers – posters and merchandise at a time when this was unheard of. They took control of the music they were going to create. This gave them the freedom to express what was truly unique about them – the marriage between traditional irish music and the use of traditional and modern instruments and arrangements. The breadth of musical sources and the incredibly tight co-ordination of the music created a genre – which many imitated but none surpassed.

The concert surprised me in as much as the range of music played – from early albums through to the last studio album they made and the song choices that they made – including some songs that probably have not been heard live many times before – showed a mastery of all their songs from all of the albums.


The finale had the entire audience on their feet for probably their most iconic theme – “Dearg Doom” (Red Destroyer) (This comes from  their concept album The Tain (Tain Bo Cuailgne)- which tells stories of an episode in Irish History which translates as “The cattle raid on Cooley”.)

The audience were as one for this amazing song and I have to say that it was  hypnotic watching the display of togetherness and enjoyment that was in the air and when the band left the stage there was only one possibility of what was going to happen next. As one voice the old familiar chant of “Horslips” combined with rythmic handclapping – brought them back for three standing ovations before the crowd would let them leave the stage after a night of sheer musical magic.

BTW the title for todays post comes from a Horslips Album “Happy to meet – Sorry to Part” and feels apt in its sentiment since next Saturday nights gig in Dublin is the second and last of the “Tour”.  So I just want to say thank you to the Band for a night of memories and magic and leave you with a tag line on one of their posters from the 70’s

“HORSLIPS WILL BLOW YOUR LUGS OFF” (for those of you not from the island of Ireland – Your Lugs are your ears)