Horslips – Live in Germany

They came, they saw…and they spoke German! Well, Jim did anyway and it sounded very fluent to me. However, we weren’t there for their linguistic skills, we were there for the music. Where is there? There was…well, probably still is…Bad Rappenau, in southern Germany and the occasion was the Blacksheep Festival.

This was the boys’ first trip back to Germany in over 30 years. Everyone seemed Happy to Meet (them)…and Sorry to Part (from them) and as Barry said to the younger members of the audience – “your parents loved us too!”

The trip over had turned into a mini nightmare for them as bad weather forced them to be re-routed several times resulting in them only arriving at their hotel in the wee wee hours. Life on the road will never change, will it?

The location was fantastic…in the grounds of an old castle and I had the pleasure of listening to Fairport Convention while waiting for our boys to hit the stage. Imagine, the last time I saw them live was 34 years ago (the farewell gig in Belfast). Wow, I need to let that sink in for a minute!

Johnny’s brother, Ray, has taken over Eamon’s task of playing the drums but for the rest it was the first team with no other substitutes, togging out from left to right (as you face the stage) – Johnny on guitar & vocals, Charles on…a whole bunch of stuff, Barry on bass & vocals and Jim on keyboards and flute.

If you’ve seen a Horslips gig then you don’t really need me to describe it to you. If you haven’t seen a gig yet then please do yourself a favour and put it on your ‘to do’ list and do it as soon as you possibly can.

In my days of attending Horslips gigs as a teenager I always planted myself right up in front of Johnny in the fervent hope that if I watched him often enough I’d eventually be able to do what he did. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that!

This time I ended up on Jim’s side, so for the first time ever I spent nearly the entire gig watching what all he plays throughout the set. Wow, he’s a busy little bee, isn’t he? I was suddenly watching all those musical lines being played live in front of me that are already etched forever in my brain. 

Another thing that struck me strongly – what an amazing catalogue of songs they have to their credit! I also realised that what got played on the night was only a smidgen of the entire catalogue but they’d have to plays for weeks or months on end to get through it all.

The on stage banter was very reminiscent of how it was back in the day and the crowd seemed to like their down-home approach.

I’ve always loved The Táin as an album and to hear Charolais in a live setting was just a fantastic moment. As Barry said – “you need to hear the entire album to understand the song better” but in my opinion it stood as strong as a bull on its own. Bull…get it? No, then maybe it’s an idea to get the album and all will be explained!

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