Luka Bloom » Live 2002
Luka Bloom @ Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam

Monday, 11 February 2002
Theater Carre, Amsterdam

Ticket: Theater Carre, Amsterdam

Holy Ground
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
Natural Mystic
Exploring The Blue
Gone To Pablo
Rescue Mission
Sunny Sailor Boy
Make You Feel My Love
Keeper Of The Flame
Here And Now
Love Is A Place I Dream Of
I'm A Bogman
If I Were A Carpenter
Black Is The Colour
Te Adoro
Rainbow Day
In Between Days
You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time
Perfect Groove

Diamond Mountain
The Fertile Rock

Dancing Queen

Raglan Road

Support act: HEM

Carre Theater, Amsterdam
© Concert Photos by Lex van Groningen >>
Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam

Folksinger Barry Moore had already recorded three albums before he renamed himself Luka Bloom, a name he took from a Suzanne Vega song. He moved from Ireland to the United States where he had to begin again at the bottom. Success came quickly. He was invited to support The Pogues and The Hothouse Flowers. In 1990 his debut album Riverside was released, and he went on to appear at large festivals like Pinkpop and Torhout/Werchter.

Following the second album, The Acoustic Motorbike, he returned to Ireland where he continued working on an impressive repertoire of sometimes fragile but always pure Irish folk and rock. His new album, Keeper Of The Flame, contains remarkable covers of songs with a special meaning for him. - February 2002
news & community for the expatriate

Luka Bloom in Amsterdam

No stranger to the Lowlands, singer Luka Bloom talks to Andrew Balcombe about expat life, typical Dutch culture and being an Irishman in Amsterdam. Like many expats, acclaimed singer and songwriter Luka Bloom kick-started his career by leaving his hometown. Originally Barry Moore of County Kildare, Ireland - and brother to legendary singer Christy Moore - Bloom moved to New York in the late 80s to begin a new life. By changing his attitude and his name he says he was able to succeed in the States and eventually sell records around the world, his biggest hits being 'An Irishman in Chinatown' and a folksy remake of LL Cool J's 'I Need Love'. The singer is currently on tour of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, promoting 'Between The Mountain and The Moon', a passionate, self-penned album that is said to be closer to his Irish roots than more recent recordings.

Andrew Balcombe: How did leaving your home country launch your career?

Luka Bloom: Going to New York, I felt the whole world open up for me. Any hang-ups I had about expressing myself completely disappeared. Whereas I felt a bit weird and inhibited as someone who wrote songs and sang them in Ireland, within months of being in New York I was completely transformed. I had confidence. I had determination and hope. People may look at that and say it's a negative statement about Ireland but it's not. It's to do with me. I don't blame Ireland as I'm back living there now and it hasn't changed that much. I have changed. I'm just a bit different in my attitude now.

- What other changes did living away from home bring to you?

Luka Bloom: It stopped me from taking myself so seriously. I think that when family and friends at home surround us we take too seriously what people might think. We worry about that too much, whereas now I am willing to try anything.

- What advice do you have for people who come to live and work in Europe?

Luka Bloom: Advice for you? You're Australian so you don't need advice. Nobody in the world knows how to be themselves better than Australians.

However, there are Australians who leave home to do 'the world tour', fly to Heathrow and then go to Earls Court and other big Australia hang-outs. Also certain Irish who travel the world just end up in some Irish ghetto in Boston or Queens, seeing nothing of other cultures, experiencing nothing of life. Just hanging out with other Australians or other Irish drinking and doing whatever they were doing in Melbourne. You may as well just transport Melbourne or Dublin to where they visit. Then go home thinking that's great. My advise is: don't do that.

- What is the hardest thing about playing so many concerts so closely together?

Luka Bloom: It's tough. I put a limit of four shows back to back and even four is pushing it a bit. I think that ideally three shows are better.

I think honestly, the head and the spirit are hit the hardest. You can be physically tired and still do a certain amount but if you are emotionally drained in any way that can be difficult. I don't get too upset over my physical readiness because I think even a tired show has its own moment of magic. You don't have to be flat out all the time for it to be an enjoyable show.

- When you have a day to yourself in Holland what keeps you occupied?

Luka Bloom: I just bought a bike the other day - an old Amsterdam style handmade bike in the Jordaan. The Jordaan is a beautiful old neighbourhood for just walking in. It reminds me a lot of a place I lived back in New York - Greenwich Village. At the moment I am really enjoying just cycling Amsterdam. It's an amazing bike, a Rolls Royce of Amsterdam bicycles. I will come back in a couple of days and go for a ride in Friesland. Leeuwarden the capital is nice. And I think Friesland is quite different. You have a whole state within a state, and its own dialect.

- What is your fascination with Germany and Holland?

Luka Bloom: I have been visiting both countries since 1973. As soon as I finished school I started to travel a little bit. They are really familiar countries to me and increasingly also are Belgium and Switzerland too. They are the four main European countries I work in. I am beginning to work more in Austria and Scandinavia.

I have a great affection for Holland the same way I have a great affection for Australia. It's interesting that even though one is the same size as America and the other a third the size of Ireland, they have roughly the same population. It's pretty wild.

- Being a traveller, what tips do you have to make the transition easier when going to another country?

Luka Bloom: I don't go to any countries that are huge cultural challenges say like Morocco for example. It's a myth that I'm a world traveller. I am actually a lousy traveller and everywhere I go, to some extent, I am spoilt. There is always someone to help me out whether it be a tour manager or otherwise. The worst thing that's going to happen to me is trying to get through to someone in a small shop who doesn't speak English.

- Germans don't speak so much English. Does that make a difference with your performances?

Luka Bloom: I have a little bit of German language to fall back on.

- And your Dutch?

Luka Bloom: Heel klein beetje.

- What sticks in your mind as being typically Dutch?

Luka Bloom: There are sixteen million people crammed into this small space. Very little emigration. Very little violence considering the number of people. They get along very well together. They have a realistic and honest attitude to problems. We try to pretend that things like abortion and the sex industry don't exist in Ireland. We are sort of still in denial. If we could, we would like to export all of these things out and pretend they don't exist.

Holland deals very openly with the social world, particularly teenage stuff. I read recently that Holland has the lowest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe. This is despite the fact that it has probably the most liberal sex laws. In other words, that's telling me that teenage girls don't get pregnant because they are educated. That is typically Dutch.

The bad news about Holland is that there is no wilderness, every square inch is accounted for and it has every square inch working. The good news is that they know how to do towns. I wish more people in the world and Ireland would come to Holland and learn how the Dutch do it.

It is unlike America where the city is the place people only do business in, then go and sleep in the suburbs. Amsterdam is a very lived in city it's a very comfortable city.

They smoke a lot. They like to talk. I like the Dutch.

Luka Bloom will perform at the Amsterdam Carre on 11 February.

Amsterdams Stadsblad - 6 February 2002

Luka Bloom:
Troubadour of the Bog

If you like beautiful songs and metallic strings, you will feel at home with Irish troubadour Luka Bloom. He calls himself a travelling Irishman with a guitar, or rather: a modern troubadour. His themes are universal, but the Irish bog keeps pulling him back. Luka Bloom plays Carré on 11 February.

Stadsblad Luka Bloom has become famous through his simple songs, well-chosen chords, wavy rhythms and sparkling, metallic guitar sound. He has performed mainly in the US, but his appearance at Pinkpop was his breakthrough in the Low Countries.Last week he was briefly in Amsterdam to record the KRO radio show 'Leidsekade Live'. The result will be broadcast on 2 February. We asked him afterwards what it was like to perform in Amsterdam again.

"Wonderful! The audience here always has a lot of faith in me. Not waiting and reserved, but they have this air of: 'Come on, play!' That is really different from other countries."

Bloom is the younger brother of Christy Moore, a charismatic, funny singer who also played Carré a few years ago. Solo, just him and his guitar, like Bloom.

They have a good relationship. "We see each other regularly". And on every cd Christy plays along for a few songs on the bodhran, but their music styles are so different, that it is just playing along.

Luka's latest cd, 'Between the Mountain and the Moon', shows, like his earlier work, a spiritual point of view. The sleeve shows us a washing line with colourful prayer flags against a blue sky, with the moon above. The picture was taken at a Buddhist centre in the West of Ireland. "It is just a nice picture, that is all there is to it." But Buddhism does appeal to him. "It invites people to search, to discover and to grow. The opposite of the Catholic surroundings I grew up in, where I was taught to accept everything, whether you were rich or poor." On one of the songs, 'Love Is a Place I Dream Of', he is accompanied by his countrywoman Sinéad O'Connor. "I feel privileged to have her on my cd. I've always been a big fan of hers. A wonderful singer with a very pure voice. Ireland has many great singers, but I think she is one of the best."

On an earlier cd, 'Turf', he sings about his mother's passing away in the breathtaking 'Sanctuary'. In the silence of the fields of Kildare he suddenly realises how quickly time passes, and that he would like to stop the sunrise. Then he places yellow daffodils on her grave. "To my mother, who is always in my thoughts" was the motto he gave the cd. In Gaelic, like a true Irishman.

Luka Bloom calls himself a bogman, or a "veenman" or "turfsteker". He loves the place he comes from, somewhere in the middle of Ireland. In 'I'm a Bogman' he sings that he loves Arizona and the West Australian sands, but that the wetness of the bog and the turf smell will always be dear to him. He likes to ride his bike around there. "Wherever you are in the world, you always take something of your background with you."

Reinout Koperdraat

Translated by Jolande Hibels

L i v e R e v i e w
Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam
Monday, 11 February 2002

Maximising all possible pleasures connected to any trip to see Luka perform is my personal goal. When the European dates were announced, Amsterdam appealed to me most as a destination of considerable merit. An opportunity to explore a historic city I had only previously visited on business. Those short tiresome trips involved arriving late at night, faceless business hotels, boring day-long meetings and a frantic rush to the airport to make the last plane home. Not a clog, tulip or sunflower in sight, not a sniff of culture, marijuana or natural mystic in the air.

And so tickets were purchased from the Theater Carré, Amstel, Amsterdam. This was a fun process for an Englishman who spoke no Dutch. The services of a Dutch speaking Lukalister ensured perfect translation and their procurement. As an occasional contributor to the list and reader of Rena's website I became aware that a crew of like minded Bloom devotees would probably meet up for a drink prior to the show. Now I'm not usually one for specialist group activities and sensed there may be some obsessional people among such a community. I believe in balance in life and find extreme people can be a pain in the arse. But how could I hold a valid opinion If I had never met these folk? What would they be like? Would talk ever deviate in to territory outside the Bloom domain? What initiation ceremonies may lie ahead? Then again, would travelling to 4 Luka gigs in the last year identify me as an extremist requiring remedial therapy!

Arrived in Amsterdam Sunday PM. I met up with the Lister folk and, my goodness, they were not aliens, no devil horns, just warm kind people united in their admiration for the works of one Barry Moore. The group of Dutch, German, Austrian, American and British folk had one pleasing thing in common, they all had happy smiling faces. It was like they all knew a secret, but there was no secret, they all took so much from the words, songs and performances of 'Bar' son of Newbridge, aged 46.

First star of Sunday evening was the charming Annemarie. She had booked us in to De Waaghals (The Dare Devil) Vegetarian Restaurant. Frans Halsstraat 29. Amsterdam. Splendid choice and a pleasant surprise for this meat munching man!

An informal vegetarian establishment supplying very creative and refined food. I feasted on the House special of the day, spinach roulade with sour cream and almonds - tagliatelle with artichoke sauce - deep-fried polenta, grilled fennel - peperonata - young carrots with garlic mayonnaise - green salad with parmesan, pine kernels - and fresh basil.

New friends explored Cajun vegetarian delights, all washed down with a fruity Merlot. ... this was a treat, 'not undercooked or stewed,' a tasty little mood ensued! Can you believe they did Irish coffee too. I was in heaven. Conversation was diverse and stimulating. Land reclamation projects explained by pretty Jolande, the environment, pollution and how to measure it by Martijn all mingled in with where were you the first time you heard a Luka song? The assembled listers grazed and mellowed and were soon swapping details of their various journeys made to be present that night. Top marks were awarded to Claudia and Maggie for undertaking a fourteen hour train journey from Vienna. Their Sunday sightseeing schedule was awesome and ability to 'shop 'til you drop' much in evidence! Nice pants sported by Claudia, nice shiny black leather boots by Maggie!

The engaging warmth of the local Dutch people was typified by an offer for us all to go back to Annemarie's flat to hear her partner Martijn play his guitar versions of Luka's songs.'I want to sing for you.' A short tram ride later and we were all singing as Martijn strummed and explained the tuning theory and practice. A few beers later, a few CD's played, a rare video of Luka with Dutch subtitles watched, we were very happy souls. We left our generous and talented hosts to get some sleep as they were both working next day. Another tram boarded, we drifted back in to the night and the city centre in pursuit of a night-cap. At this point the wind got up and we christened Amsterdam 'The Windy City.' We were blown all the way down the Amstel. The next night we would be blown away by an uplifting Luka performance verging on the gale force.

Monday had a leisurely start before the obligatory visit to the Van Gogh Museum. What a superb exhibition. It's a must if you get the chance to go. The special exhibition featuring the earless one and Paul Gauguin was truly amazing. Van Gogh was the possessed artist giving everything up for his work and died a young man shooting himself. A cold chill passes right through me even now as I recall 'the wheatfield with crows' picture. Angst and anger was yer man Van Gogh. Now I understand why Luka claims to just do 'mush', it's safer and you live longer.

And so, the gig. Apologies to the support act but the bar up the road did a mean but slow to arrive Satay chicken and the pints were on the roll. New American and Belgian friends were found at last and the Carré upstairs bar became 'base camp two' with much laughter, frivolity and flirting ... and that was just the bar staff!

Enter the hall to find a thousand or so revellers. Fair play to the Mojo publicity machine for almost filling this grand traditional style theatre. Plenty of potential recruits for the list. Given this devoted support, could the Dutch overtake the US of A in Rena's nationality survey?

What followed next was a very special show. Luka received a tremendous reception and was clearly amongst friends. He is very much at home with Dutch audiences and previous crusades in to Amsterdam were rewarded with a loyal following turning out again. The stage was decorated with several flower bouquets. Later these floral trophies would find homes in the audience as Luka, never to be the Irish javelin champion, launched them as far as row ten, a personal best but don't give up the day job just yet Luka!

The sound for me was fine but a more critical ear behind me shouted out to turn the bass down. Luka and sound engineer Paul duly obliged and then treated us to a passionate lively less bassy set. You sensed his strong sense of purpose the moment he came on stage. He gave many thanks and much praise to the assembled for turning out on a Monday night and for excellent singing along in all the right places. Luka had family and friends over from Ireland to experience the Dutch choral excellence first hand. Brother Andy and sister Anne were not to be disappointed. I guess we all have favourite songs and there was something for everyone with a few surprises for good measure. Luka's joy and enthusiasm shone through at every shift of mood and pace. It's fascinating to watch peoples reaction to certain songs and how at some gigs some songs will jump out at you. Tonight it was 'Gone to Pablo' that touched the Dutch and later 'Delirious' that had us on on our feet. 'Black is the Colour' merged in to 'Te Adoro' to further delight us. Positive audience reaction must be a tremendous buzz for an artist. Poor Vincent Van Gogh never got it and so shot himself. Luka, got it and was spurred on to encore after encore and I really believe he would have played all night for us such was his unbridled joy. Only for one moment did he seem distracted from delivering us a piece of himself. This was due to an over fussy photographer who outstayed his welcome front of stage blocking the view of some people. Luka spotted this and was probably sick of a telephoto lens investigating his inner nostril for ten minutes! Luka suggested he pedalled on.

Show over, it was great that Luka spared a few moments for a chat with Rena and to pose for a few photos. He expressed some surprise that the list survey had placed 'Turf' as most fave album in the Luka collection. Whatever, clearly the man is alive and will delight German, Swiss, Irish and Australian audiences in the coming months with his unique palette of music. I kept thinking afterwards, wouldn't it be brilliant if there was a live album released soon to leave us a personal picture of a special moment in time, created by a special artist with some very special musical canvasses. Van Gogh had no audience for his work in his lifetime, Luka has us so many of us right here right now. Thanks for a starry starry night.

- Kelvin


© Rena Bergholz - Luka Bloom Page