By Christopher Arnott
3:18 PM EDT, September 18, 2013
When I think of the Waterboys, I think of other bands doing their songs.
I think of that paramount bar band the Mocking Birds, who would play once a month at Cafe Nine in New Haven throughout the 1990s. Drummer Scott MacDonald (also known locally as co- founder of Jellyshirts) would only sing lead vocals on one song during these long, three-set evenings: The Waterboys'" Fisherman's Blues." Not only did Scott's blistering, emotional performance totally nail the song, it made a fairly obscure number (in these parts anyway) into a familiar bar standard.
I also think of trips I've taken to England and Ireland, where Waterboys music is an accepted part of the landscape. I heard Waterboys songs interpreted by bar bands, buskers and well known artists. For a time, they seemed as ubiquitous as Oasis. It helped that they were more UK-ish than just English, with
So the prospect of the actual reunited Waterboys playing the Shubert theater in New Haven on September 21 fills me with funny feelings. This will be the autumnal equinox, which puts me in the mood of Kurt Weill's "September Song" and what I experienced as a younger man at Cafe Nine and on travels abroad. The Waterboys have aged too, of course, to the point where a sedentary concert in a fancy old theater seems only natural.
But here's the other thing. This is now an established, big deal band that longtime fans are clamoring to see in a nice environment. The crowd should be as thrilled and responsive and respectful as the audience for Elvis Costello's solo show at the Shubert will be next month.
This tour also benefits from an acclaimed new album, An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, released in 2011.
The Waterboys last toured the U.S. in 2007, but didn’t come closer than Boston and New York. The previous U.S. tour was 2003, but with a different band than fans expected. The Waterboys have had around six dozen different members over the years; for this tour, the band’s leader Mike Scott and fiddle-player Steve Wickham are being assisted by a bunch of New York musicians: guitarist Jay Barclay, bassist Malcolm Gold, keyboardist Daniel Mintseris and drummer Chris Benelli.
Opening act is Freddie Stevenson (freddiestevenson.net)
The Waterboys play the Shubert Theater, 247 College Street, New Haven at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21. Tickets are $35-$45 plus service charges. (203) 562-5666, www.shubert.com
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