Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dylan delights fans in Thomond Park

THE ICONIC and evergreen Bob Dylan celebrated his country’s national holiday in style this Sunday, treating an expectant Thomond Park crowd to some of his greatest hits on American Independence Day.

Concert promoters Aiken Promotions and Thomond Park bosses claimed a crowd just shy of 15,000 people, all of whom appreciated the varied support acts on offer, but were in reality in the stadium to witness a piece of history, as Dylan played his first ever show in Limerick.

Watched by a hugely varied crowd that included Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, in town for the JP McManus pro-am this week, Dylan rewarded life-long fans and interested observers alike to a set that included songs such as Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Just Like A Woman, Lay Lady Lay, Like A Rolling Stone and Blowin’ in the Wind.

Stadium director John Cantwell revealed to the Limerick Leader after the show that not only did Dylan sign a Munster jersey for display in Thomond Park – as Elton John et al had done before him – but that the gruff-voiced Dylan had personally requested four Munster jerseys to bring back to America with him.

“He requested four jerseys specially and signed a jersey for us, he liked the look of it and we explained what it was about – hopefully he will spread the word wherever he goes,” explained a delighted John Cantwell after the concert.

“In terms of musical legends and cultural icons, they don’t come much bigger than Dylan. To have him at Thomond Park and in Limerick just goes to show exactly how the venue is becoming established now in terms in international terms,” added the Thomond Park boss.

Mr Cantwell also revealed that concert promoter Peter Aiken had “assured us that he is going to raise the bar even higher next year”.

Mr Aiken confirmed this to the Leader himself, saying with regard to next year that Aiken Promotions would “definitely” be back at the venue.

“We have a couple of things lined up, we just have to wait and see,” he said.

“I was just talking to John and trying to figure out a certain date for next year I’m trying to get, something I want to do,” he added.

The concert promoter admitted that he was slightly disappointed with the turnout, which was the lowest of the four concerts held in the venue thus far.

“It wasn’t bad, just a bit disappointing, I thought with the bill and all it might have been more, but that is what is at, that is what it did, and we are happy enough with it,” he said.

Mr Aiken paid tribute to local band Last Days of Death Country, who won a competition to open the show, which also included Alabama 3, Seasick Steve and David Gray, who all turned in superb performances.

“They were great. I couldn’t believe it, they were so confident. They really were a good band. They were really able – everybody was impressed, particularly the Bob Dylan crew and David Gray’s people, everybody was watching,” said Mr Aiken of the Limerick band.

Last Days lead singer Patrick O’Brien told the Leader that the opportunity afforded to them was “brilliant”.

“It was brilliant, it was great. There was a nice crowd and we went out there and played like we did last Friday and it was great. We are delighted,” he said.

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