The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Duke Special live in Portlaoise, Ireland

Duke SpecialReview Snapshot:
The Duke returns to the town of a previous nightmare gig, but this time wins the audience over, not once, but twice, with successive concerts within hours of each other, and proves that he's the perfect gentleman, both on and off stage.

The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full review:
My six-year old daughter is one of Duke's youngest fans, so we brought her to see him live, and not only did she witness a great performance, she got to meet him, got the autograph and photo, and the T-Shirt literally.

As part of The World Fleadh, Duke Special was back in Portlaoise to perform twice in one night, beginning with an intimate gig at the Dunamaise Theatre. He opened the show with 'Some Things Make Your Soul Free' and 'Closer To The Start' before telling the crowd how happy he was to be here as part of the World Fleadh.

After the uptempo 'Brixton Leaves', some of the crowd wanted to know where the missing members were. According to Duke "one of them was washing his hair, his chest hair. I've said too much already, but I will introduce those who are here if that's okay" he joked, before mentioning Rea Curren on vocals and accordion, and Chip Bailey on percussions.

The show continued with 'Everybody Wants A Little Something', then a song about a failed Bank robbery ('Don't Breath') and 'The Ballad of A Broken Man'. A cover-version that he's currently recording 'Catfish' was next, and it went down very well as he duetted with Rae while explaining that it's from a musical that was never finished. "I'd love to bring this out on wobbly vinyl" he added.

During 'I Let You Down' Chip went berserk on the drums, running up the stairs of the Theatre between drumbeats, which had the audience hysterical. He then treated us to his new single 'Our Love Goes Deeper Than That'. It was so new in fact that Rae needed the lyrics written down for him.

'You Don't Slow Me Down' was introduced as a song he imagined in a film featuring two French lovers. He goes on to recall a previous gig in this town supporting either Bell X1 or Juliet Turner explaining he has a tough time of winning the crowd over. "Now it's great to play Portlaoise" he emphasised.

Next up were 'Salvation Tambourine' and the brilliant 'Freewheel' before finishing with a couple of songs including 'Lastight I Nearly Died' which got the audience singing along to, for perhaps the only time of the evening.

The encore consisted of 'Drink To Me Only' and finishing up with 'The Slip of a Girl', a song he says is synonymous with Portlaoise. During this his Scottish sound guy added some reverb to Duke's vocals, provoking him so say, "What the hell was that".

There's no denying this was a relaxed, but yet, polished performance. I'm just privileged we got to witness it in such an intimate surrounding, because the bigger venues are just around the corner for this special talent.

Mick Lynch

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