Dublin Day 3, Continued – A Wild Night at Whelan’s Pub

11Oct12

After spending the entire day at the Guinness Storehouse, we were feeling pretty good since we had a lot of Guinness at this point. We had about 90 minutes at the hotel before we were supposed to head out to Whelan’s Pub for the shows that night. They had not announced what headliners would be playing where at any of the venues and even the people at Guinness weren’t sure who was going to be playing where. All they could tell us was that one of the headline acts would be at our location and that they were recording it for television.

We rested at the hotel for a bit before heading over. Michelle took a nap but I couldn’t sleep. I was kind of excited about going to show and feeling a little nervous too. I had done a lot of walking the last two days without my braces and was a little concerned about walking to the pub and then spending hours on my feet at the pub for the shows. I lay on the bed for the 90 minutes, thinking about how great of a day it had all been so far and how wonderful the entire trip had been to this point. Three years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be in Dublin doing all this. even after doing all of it, it doesn’t seem real.

They told us to get to Whelan’s at 5 PM. We got direction from the hotel on how to get there and saw it was pretty much a straight shot walk down to the pub, so we walked it. It was a little longer than we thought, but the walk wasn’t bad at all. When we came upon a big crowd, we knew we were in the right place. We crossed the street to the pub and there was just a swarm of people all waiting outside. We even considered not going because we thought it would just be too much to get in there. We had already had a great trip, if we missed this, oh well. Michelle walked inside the pub and asked someone about the whole thing, explaining we had these bracelets from Guinness to let us in. They told us to go around to the side of the building and we could get in that way.

We walked around to the side, flashed or silver wrist bracelets that said we were VIP’s, and after a few minutes of waiting, they let us come in. Thankfully, we were early enough where we were the first people in there so we were able to pick a place to sit. We chose a couple of seats close to the right side of the stage, figuring it was a good spot. We had a bit of a wait before the show was going to start, so we had a couple of drinks and sat and relaxed. As people began to file in, I began to think that maybe we were just too old to be doing this. Everyone who was coming in looked to be at least 20 years younger than us and it just made me feel a little out-of-place, but Michelle put me at ease and said to stop worrying about it and just enjoy it.

Finally, a little after 7 PM, the first act went on. He was singer by the name of Jake Bugg. He had a bit of a folksy, Bob Dylan type of way about him and you could tell his music was definitely influenced by the Beatles. He played with just a simple trio and played about 5 or 6 songs. he was good. I liked his style of music and the way he played. It was about 15 minutes or so before the second act went on. it was a band called Leaders of Men. Taking their name from a Joy Division song, I think they had the potential to be a good rock bad, but it just wasn’t there the night we saw them. The sound system was not right for their whole performance, they had way too much feedback and we’re just too loud for both of us. It seemed like a lot of noise and not a lot of music to me. People in the crowd seemed to know them and like them, so they enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t for me.

There was another break in the action this time and a TV camera crew swung over behind us and said he was going to be filming there. We offered to move out of his way, but he was very nice and said he would shoot around us. The next act that came on we thought was the headliner. It was Amy McDonald, a Scottish singer. I had heard her name before did not know any of her music. She apparently has a big hit song called “This is the Life” that was number 1 in several countries and she has performed on American television before. I have to say she was really good. She played a great guitar, had an awesome voice, and the crowd loved her and every song she sang. We loved her performance and would have been very happy if the night ended right there.

It actually did almost end right there. Michelle and I worth both feeling tired and hungry and weren’t sure we wanted to sit through another act. We thought Amy McDonald was going to ve the headline act, but then they started setting up for another band. We decided we would stay to see who it was. If we didn’t like them, we would be out of there. Boy, were we glad we decided to stay. We were lucky enough to be sitting where we were and when they announced Mumford & Sons, the place went nuts. Michelle and I just looked at each other and she had a big smile on her face. She really likes Mumford & Sons and couldn’t believe we were seeing them and sitting about 8 feet from the stage.

As much as we liked the band, the audience absolutely worshipped them. They knew every word to every song they sang and many times even sang louder than the band did. It’s hard to explain what it was like. It sent chills down my spine when we were there and still does when I think about. Here we were in this room that held not more than 150 people seeing a band like this who were so loved by their fans. Even the band seemed a little in awe at times and couldn’t believe everyone was singing back to them like this. If you’re not familiar with the band, they are interesting mix of rock and folk. It’s a quartet of a banjo player, an upright bass, a keyboardist and a guitarist. The lead singer, Marcus Mumford, also plays a bass drum with his foot while he sings and plays guitar.

Needless to say, the show was pretty wild. I think they played 6 or 7 songs; it’s hard to remember because I was so caught up in the whole thing. When they played “Little Lion Man,” people went crazy singing along. Michelle has spent the last few weeks trying to imitate the way the band and all the Irish people around us and the way they said “fucked” when they sang the song (I’ll write more about this tomorrow when I talk about my impressions of the whole trip). Of course, they came out and sang “The Cave” as an encore and it was just amazing. I don’t know any other way to put it. It was just so damn good, there is no other way to say it.

When the show was over, we made our way through the crowds inside and out. It was after midnight and people were still partying in the streets even though it was a Thursday evening. We made our way back to the hotel in something of a daze, still in shock about how great the show was. We actually ordered room service when we got back while we packed to leave the next day and just sat up and talked about the whole day and how much fun it was. We finally fell asleep at around 2 AM or so, exhausted from the day. Needless to say, we slept in a bit the next morning before we would have to leave.

That’s all about that night. Tomorrow I’ll write a little about our trip home and then about my impressions of the trip as a whole and how I felt about the people, the  culture, the  city and more. Check back if you want to see it. I’ll leave you with a few pictures we took from the show that night. You can see more on my Facebook page if you want to see them. Until next time, have a great night and see you tomorrow!

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