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Check out reviews of other concerts in 2003

Lisdoonvarna 2003

RDS, Dublin, 30 August 2003

After purchasing my ticket all those months ago for the original festival to be held in Clare my anticipation levels were quite high. The venue might have changed and many more acts added but the atmosphere was something I didn't think could be captured. I was soon to be proved wrong.

LisdoonvarnaI arrived at about 2:30 just in time to catch Nina Hynes. She was magic as usual and this was the best I had seen her since fair trade gig last year. I kind of drifted around the place soaking up the carnival atmosphere for a while, then went and caughtMark Geary in the packed Stage II tent. Not a great performance from Mark and his guitar - to me at least - sounded out of tune for a lot of the songs. But the set grew towards the end and he invited Nina, Josh and then we saw the first glimpse of the ginger hair of Glen Hansard who sang a drawn out, but brilliant, 'It beats me'.

I was only able to catch the first half ofDamien Dempsey's, as always, impressive set with Sinead O'Connor - who lurked eerily in the corner of the stage - as special guest. Then went to catch Mundy who as usual blew me away... he only got 30 minutes which really was a bad idea as he was just getting into the swing of things before he had to go. He played the usual greats 'Mexico', 'to you I bestow' and the infamously renamed 'August' which suited the occasion perfectly.

Straight after it was over to see Luka Bloom in the stage II who delivered a really enjoyable set (especially the excellent version of D4/Lisdoonvarna). David Kitt played a very chilled out set with most of the songs from his new album included.

Then the time came for Frames mania to start again. I didn't bother to go squishing up the front after my experience at Witnness so decided to chill out on the grass at the back and soaked up the amazing atmosphere. And what a performance they gave us. The Frames certainly know how to get a party started. Playing all the usual greats - 'Two little boys', 'Everybody's out to get you' and a spine-chilling 'Heyday' - and finished with an impressive version of 'Star Star'.

What a performance. But we still had Christy to come. With a bit of luck I managed to get up into the stands to enjoy the pleasures of Christy, Donal and Declan with the company of his true fans. What a way to wrap up a brilliant day.

I think they did a great job of putting it on in the RDS and apart from the big queues for the bar and the 5 euro pints of watered down Heineken it was a well run festival. But it hopefully will go back to its motherland of Clare next year.

Simon Jewell

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