Luka Bloom » live reviews
Luka Bloom - Live in Concert
Tollhaus Karlsruhe 2006 Leopoldsburg Vicar Street, Dublin
 concert » reviewed by
02-05-2009  Séamus Ennis Cultural Centre, Naul, Co Dublin, Ireland
Sally Vignoli (UK)
02-05-2009  Séamus Ennis Cultural Centre, Naul, Co Dublin, Ireland
Rebecca (England)
13-05-2009  The Liffey Studio, Newbridge, Co Kildare, Ireland
Dolf (Ireland)
17-05-2009  Joe's Pub, New York, NY, USA
Tom Gramegna (USA)
30-05-2009  St. James Hall, Vancouver, Canada
Doug Lang (Canada)
03-06-2009  The Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, CO, USA
Cindy Reich (USA)
20-06-2009  World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Denise Smith (USA)
21-06-2009  City Winery, New York, NY, USA
Pete Kennedy (USA)
02-10-2009  Inchicore Sports and Social Club, Dublin 8, Ireland
Richie Tyndall (Ireland)
03-11-2009  De Nieuwe Nor, Heerlen, Netherlands
Rena (Germany)
06-11-2009  Theater Den Boogaard, Moergestel, Netherlands
Rena (Germany)
12-11-2009  De Roepaen, Ottersum, Netherlands
Rena (Germany)
14-11-2009  Jazz Café, London, England
Gudrun Spanka (Germany)

Séamus Ennis Centre, Naul
Saturday, 2 May 2009

The day began with a rainbow in the sand as I jetted into Dublin. By the time evening came I found myself in a small, very relaxed room at the Seamus Ennis Centre in Naul. So small was the room that we were almost sharing the stage with Luka, he didn't seem to mind and we certainly didn't either!

We began on a slightly serious note with "I am not at war" - will there ever be a time when this song isn't relevant? Everyone around me melted into the background and Luka was singing just to me. OK, I know there were 89 other people thinking exactly the same but no, he was singing to me!

Luka was in excellent form with his banter, immediately showing off his Australian suntan - not wanting us to think he had had a spray job. As if!!

Old favourites, new favourites and sing-a-long favourites followed. One of my own constant favourites "Diamond Mountain" was requested and we were rewarded with it in the encore. 'Hold my hand a little longer' - this line always sends a shiver down my spine but hearing it live is pure undiluted emotion.

Where does Luka get his energy from? He never tires but becomes more and more vibrant as the evening progresses. So many of his songs you can connect to something in your life - sometimes happy, sometimes sad. You really feel that he feels what you feel.

Sadly we arrive at the final song - "Black is the colour". Every time Luka sings this song he makes it sound different. How does he do that?

Where did the time go? So many songs and so little time. The evening just whizzed by and before I knew it Luka was saying Goodnight. Good night? It was an amazing night! A beautiful man with a beautiful soul singing beautiful songs to a beautiful audience. Yeah, I'm sure he thought we were!

The magic for me continued even after the lights came on. A chat and a photo with Luka was the perfect end to a perfect evening. Thank you Luka.

Here is the set list (thanks Rebecca).
01. I Am Not At War
02. Tribe
03. I Love The World I'm In
04. Primavera
05. Make You Feel My Love
06. June
07. City Of Chicago
08. No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
09. See You Soon
10. Eastbound Train
11. Love Is A Monsoon
12. Rainbow Day
13. Everyman
14. Lord Franklin
15. Acoustic Motorbike
16. Sunny Sailor Boy
17. You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time
- Encore -
18. I'm On Your Side
19. Diamond Mountain
20. I Need Love
21. Black Is The Colour

See you soon
Sally x

Luka Bloom Luka Bloom
photos by Sally

Séamus Ennis Cultural Centre, Naul
Saturday, 2 May 2009

Séamus Ennis Cultural Centre - "old" looking building with a thatched roof but there's something about it that makes me wonder if it's actually all quite new. The venue hall itself is a "barn-like" structure behind the SE centre with a courtyard between the two. The hall is long and narrow with stage at one end. Stage door at the back opens straight out into an alley, with a drop of about two feet. Michelle Ann and Ciara (support) climbed in bravely in their heeled sandals. Luka was better prepared - he bounded up and in, tea mug in hand and nary a drop spilled.

Lovely summer evening when we started - what a shock it must have been when he left the stage the first time, to open that door straight into a downpour! He said afterward that it seems every time he plays MONSOON, it begins to rain before the show has ended. Happened in Australia on a couple of occasions. Wishes he'd sung it in Melbourne, though it's more than just rain they need there.

The stage lights were really dim and apparently couldn't be turned up - so Luka asked if we minded having the lights kept on over us as well. Because of course "it's more fun with the lights on"(!)

Luka told a few stories from the Australian tour - though not the one about nearly drowning!

There was the time he persuaded Conor and the roadies to give him a few minutes to say goodbye to a particular beach before moving on to the next town/gig.... He stood just barely into the water, waves lapping his ankles, with his head tilted back and his eyes closed.... only to get splashed to his waist by a rogue wave! So in the next town he spies a sign saying "SALE" in a clothes shop window, goes in and is flicking through the rack of shorts, when a young sales woman steps up beside him, puts her hand on his shoulder and says: "awww, had a little accident, granddad?"

Straight-talkin' Australian women. Even more so than Irish women - apparently (!)

No Rudy tonight - but the Lakewood stepped in quite ably!! Great to finally hear it after being teased by its silent presence several times.

Plus LORD FRANKLIN (signature tune of Micheal O Domhnaill, guitarist with the Bothy Band) -- which Luka said he learned recently out of love and respect for Micheal but has never played in public before.

Oh, and JUNE - first time I've heard this live - it's never been a particular favourite but this was gorgeous.

Then I NEED LOVE - so many cat calls, wolf whistles, ribald comments! About two-thirds through, Luka just bust up laughing! I wasn't sure if he would (or could) continue but he bravely pulled it together - and then used the long "make-yourself-seen" space, not to give long searching stares, but to give back as good as he'd been getting!!

Altogether the evening was a bit more saucy (!!) than usual...
Although, as always, a totally Class Act. Great songs, great spirit, great show.

- Rebecca

The Liffey Studio, Newbridge
Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Fundraiser for Kildare Youth Theatre

What a lovely day it was.
While finishing off my coursework I said "Well I'm off to Newbridge to see Luka Bloom"
Pat sez, "I'll give you a lift as far as Naas" and as the rain began to fall he gave me a lift all the way to Newbridge. Nice man.
As I was early, I took a walk around the town, nice little town.
Found the venue. Just beside the river. Popped into the pub.
Had a coke and then the woman looking after us gave me a free coffee.
"So, Luka is playing upstairs", she sez, "I used to work with his mother, Nancy, lovely woman, we all call him Barry."
And they do.

Decided to have a cigarette outside, looking at all the pictures of our future MEPs hanging from lamp posts on the bridge, and who walk's around the corner but the man himself.
"Are you doing anything special tonight," I sez to him.
He smiles and sez "They're all special"
A few folk gathered and Luka knew them well and greeted them.
So he looks back at me, "So, what brings you here?"
I sez, "I'm under heavy orders from Rena to be here."
He laughs, looks at his friends and sez
"There's this incredible woman. From Germany, and she has this website."
"She knows more about me than I do"
"Don't know where she gets the information from...."

I knew that the last train for Dublin was leaving at 11:00pm so I asked what time he was starting.
"About nine." Shit. A two hour show.
Feck it, try for a B & B I thought. No luck. Both already filled.
Rang Noel in Kildare town, "Can I crash in your place tonight."
Only 7 miles away, over the Curragh. Sorted.

The show was like no other I had been to.
One amp, his trusty bass amp was underneath the table.
Everything running off a two socket plug.
One for the guitar, one for the amp. Ethnic.
Now, the voice, in a little room like this was just..... different...... so melodic.
When he whispered a line, you could hear every influence.

The room was small. nicely put together. The theatre group had worked hard to make it theirs.
It used to be offices and now it was a theatre.
Just three rows of chairs, in a semi circle.
A girl walked up and made the introduction.
"For 20 quid I could spend an evening with Luka Bloom, Do you know how excited I was?"
"Then, I heard that all of you were coming too. Oh well. we'll just have to share the love"
Round of applause. No Luka. Silence. Where is he?

Soon, he walks into the room, cup of tea in hand and walks to the front.
"Fiona, I was having a wee wee. And when I start I can't stop. Sorry for the delay, lads"
"I was out on the bog today and thinking."
"The last show I did was a big festival in Australia. And on Saturday I'm playing in New York."
"But, this is the one that has me scared"

Liffey Studio Then he begins "I am not at war with anyone".
So so softly,
I've heard this man sing many times before but never like this.
Totally different voice tonight.
"Do da do, Do da do, Do da do"

So many stories and tales.
He knew everybody there.
There was a wedding he was going to miss.
"I'm going to be in Vancouver that night, I'll dedicate this song to you"
"Make you feel me love"
Sang it so good, it hurt.

"Remember that, Do you ? You were there."
"Me and the lads cycled out to his house. 17 of us"
"I only wanted a feckin' autograph"
"And the man accused us of trespassing"
"And I could see him hiding behind the door"
"That was the loneliest cycle ride I ever had in my life, back into town, after"
"Why am I singing this feckin' song?"

"In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty........... Oh I may as well try and catch the wind"
- Donovan

Lovely version of 'Lord Franklin', about the explorer whose team all went mad on lead poisoning, trying to find the North West Passage.

"Lorraine, will you sing for me. Come on."
"Gary, do you want to play?"
"Any time Lorraine is in the house, she has to sing, amazing voice."
And all the time, he is re-tuning his guitar.
Into normal.
He uses different tuning, as you know.
Hands over the guitar and sits down in the seat in front of me.
And they would have to do
"Falling Slowly"
Wouldn't they.

Some concerts are slow, some are fast.
This one was so good, it was there and then it was gone.

I hung around helping to tidy up the chairs.
"Why don't you pop next door and have a cup of tea with Luka?"
"I will in a minute" I said.
"I made the scones" she sez.
Now that's something you don't hear too often.
It was a "Rainbow day".

- Dolf

Liffey Studio

> Photos and setlist by Dolf

Joe's Pub, New York, NY
Sunday, 17 May 2009

The gig was nothing special for those of us who are accustomed to always being superbly enthralled by a true Irish Zen Master that Luka is! The show was the epitome of what makes this man so special to us. For one like me who has seen Luka so many times and who brings such high expectations to each show and who always leaves more exhilarated every time I see him, it was business as usual! Luka is on a journey to becoming a more perfect human every day and that is naturally reflected in the amazing gifts he keeps adding to as a consummate musician, vocalist, guitarist and poet. I am enthralled by the awesome display of poignancy and humor, by an artiste who can just as easily delight with a raucous up tempo rave or a song sung in a whisper-like prayer. He's subtle and blunt, soft and hard, and many other seeming opposites rolled into a human who delights and reminds us all "don't let go of what you know to be true" and who leads by example! He delights us because he reminds us of the great heights we can scale by following our hearts desire to be the best humans we can be. Sorry to go so deep, but that is Luka's inspiration to a better human being!

The song list:
If I don't comment on a song, it means nothing other than it was his usual brilliant performance or I was in such rapt attention that I could not remember anything specific!

1 There Is A Time - Luka explains he has to work quickly since he's the middle of three shows at the venue and needs to be out by 8:30 so he'll scale back the in between song banter to play as much as he can. Even for a veteran of many Luka shows, it's obvious that Luka is really "on" tonight!
2 June
3 Tribe - the crowd helps by adding some background vocals
4 I Love the World I'm In
5 See You Soon
6 Primavera
7 City of Chicago - many in crowd recognize intro, Luka jokes that it makes hi feel like a big rock star.
8 No Matter Where You Go, There You Are - Luka quips that the last 20 years were an aberration in Ireland's history where Ireland became the land that many different ethnic people emigrated to, as opposed to the rest of history where the irish could not GTF out of Ireland quickly enough. This is the most rousing, passionate rendition of this song I have heard Luka perform since he first started playing it. This brings most of the crowd to its feet and by now Luka has worked up a good sweat.
9 Eastbound Train - again some great audience accompaniment
10 Peace On Earth - gorgeous, prayer-like, ethereal, gorgeous.
11 Dreams In America - Luka relates the story of the demise of his constant companion of 20 years at Heathrow Airport when he returned from his Australian Tour. "Rudy" his black steel string guitar was destroyed and replaced by another guitar given on loan by Rudy's guitar shop that Luka was 'auditioning "for the first time with this song that he said he does not play much, but seemed very appropriate at this moment. Yet another poignant high point in a show composed of high points. From this point on he uses the steel string ["RudyII"?]
12 Gone To Pablo - Luka is sailing and we are all along for the amazing ride, breathless and enthralled.
13 Rainbow Day
14 Sunny Sailor Boy - crowd is totally on board, especially a woman with a beautiful voice, so much so that Luka jokes that the female mike should be "turned down" so as not to drown everyone else out.
15 I'm On Your Side - the brilliant ending to what was a set obviously truncated by the venue's need to schedule another act after Luka, which he seemed somewhat upset about.
Luka seemed to initiate playing the beginning of "Acoustic Motorbike" with the new steel string again, but stopped shortly after beginning due to a sound problem with the miking of that guitar.
So he picked up the nylon again and fulfilled a request he heard earlier from a woman who had so convincingly asked for I Need Love.

"I Need Love" was played like he was playing it for the first time after eons of practicing it alone and injected every word with the fullness of his passion for the one and only person on earth that he has ever held passion for. Every member of the audience was meant to feel as if that person was each of them, individually, collectively and that's correct. It is Luka's feeling for each and every human on planet earth and that explains all our passions for this man who has such passion for all of humanity.

Can't wait for the Turning Point and City Winery! You can never get too much of the passion for the humanity of Luka Bloom!

- Tom Gramegna

St. James Hall, Vancouver
Saturday, 30 May 2009

I walked into the old church on Tenth Avenue, saw a lot of empty seats, and my first thought was, "Luka's not going to fill the place."

It has been fifteen years since his last pilgrimage to this beautiful coastal city. The St. James Hall seats roughly 230 people, wooden pews and balcony benches included, and at twenty minutes to eight I was able to stroll up and get a seat at the second table from the stage. In a few minutes I felt the sweat beading down my chest and, looking around the hall, noticed many of the empty seats had a jacket or handbill reserving them. Leaving my coat on my chair I went for a juice and stepped out with it into the cooler air. I noticed, around the side of the church hall, groups of people gathered, chatting. Okay then, just a westcoast aversion to sweating unnecessarily. By showtime, the hall was full. I'd estimate that two-thirds of the audience was female, but then, it took me so long to count the beautiful women in the crowd that the lights went down before I could count the men.

Steve Edge of the Rogue Folk Club introduced Luka and the man came bounding through the curtains in black t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. Two guitars bookended his place on the stage, Rudy not one of them. Someone asked, shortly into the show, about his missing guitar. "A few weeks ago," Luka said, "coming back from Australia, through London, he got demolished." He grimaced a moment, then added, "If you can, avoid going through Heathrow with a guitar." In place of his black guitar, Luka had a new steel-string Taylor cutaway model, which he played in the later part of the concert. It sounded bright and warm, and he obviously loved playing it.

I don't know Luka's songs the way I know his older brother's work. I have Riverside, Tribe and Eleven Songs, but have registered the feel of the songs on these recordings more than their titles. The Man Is Alive is the Luka song I know best, a song Christy mentioned once in an email, prompting me to send him a 'live' version from a show Luka did in Switzerland. It has lyrics that connect Newbridge and Vancouver, speaks of strangers connecting over the loss of fathers in early childhood. It compels the singer to be present in both memory and moment, the child and the man. I hoped he would sing it.

Luka began with 'I Am Not At War With Anyone', and the sound man had it right from the start, the guitar clear and rich, Luka's voice natural and with just enough reverb to set it off. The third song Luka sang was 'Tribe' with the St. James Hall choir in full voice. He introduced 'Acoustic Motorbike' by exclaiming how on this tour of the west coast of North America he'd seen more people riding bicycles than ever before. He covered most of the material on Eleven Songs, including 'Eastbound Train', 'I Love The World I'm In', 'I'm On Your Side', 'See You Soon', 'Everyman', and 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You'. Oh, yes, 'Sunny Sailor Boy' was another, and the rap-like song where he sings, "I need love..." Introducing the one about love being a monsoon ('Monsoon'), he told a story about listening to a radio feature describe how Indian women would grow particularly wild and amorous at the very peak of the monsoon season, then joked that this is an everyday occurrence in Ireland.

Eight or nine songs in (he also sang 'No Matter Where You Go, There You Are', 'Gone To Pablo', and did the instrumental 'Peace On Earth') as Luka retuned his nylon-stringed guitar, we heard one of the men in the audience ask, "Do you take requests?" Luka answered in the affirmative, and the man called out, "Lisdoonvarna" to disdainful sniggers from just about everyone else in the place. Luka poked fun a moment, feigning (I think) disgust, but then began playing his guitar and sang a most heartfelt 'City Of Chicago', meeting the now-shrinking gentleman halfway. After the Lisdoonvarna miscue, I began to think there'd be no more requests, but a few songs later a woman sighed out a song title and, a song or two later, Luka sang the one she'd named, about the ballerina, for her, beautifully at that. His voice had begun to open, take on more shadings.

We were all sweating, Luka more than the rest of us, given the energy he was expending and the heat of the lights upon him. The colour of his t-shirt changed to a darker shade. About ninety minutes into the performance, he switched to the Taylor cutaway, and the vitality of his performance went up another notch as if he'd caught a second wind. He sang a song inspired by his three-day drive from Amarillo, Texas, to Vancouver - his first time to Vancouver ('Dreams In America'), and from there kept firing, one after the other, demonstrating his guitar craft, going for high notes, singing without reserve, spittle flying on the consonants. Visceral, commanding, with people shifting to a more upright posture in the audience.

At the two-hour and ten minute mark he finished a ringing chord, removed the guitar strap, bowed and said "Thank you, Vancouver." Before the words were out of his mouth, the entire audience was on its feet. I haven't seen quite so immediate a standing ovation at a gig in this city for quite some time, at least since the peak of our last monsoon season, haha. It was great to witness, and well-deserved. Luka had brought not only his music, but his conscience and heart, and people let their love for him show. Some ovations demand nothing more, are pure appreciation; this one felt like that.

When Luka came out for his first encore, fresh t-shirt on, someone called out for a song, and as he pondered their request I heard my own voice surprise me and softly say, 'The Man Is Alive'. Luka looked in my direction, and closed his two-song encore with the song for his father, Andy Moore, resting in the arms of the song, his breathing deep, his voice duskier with feeling. He thanked us all again, and the standing and stomping began, and he came back out and sang two more, including the aforementioned 'Don't Be Afraid...' with full St. James choir again.

I went outside for air. It was hot in that old church, the ceiling fans as slow as spoons in blackstrap molasses, and the night air was refreshing. After a few volleys of conversation with a city policeman that I know through my baseball business - a beloved cop, if there is such a thing - I walked around the side of the hall toward my car. Outside the back, second-floor window a small crowd had gathered and I heard sweeping gales of laughter. I walked around the crowd and looked up to the lighted window to see what was going on. There was Luka, naked to the waist (at least), leaning out the window, his toweled-off hair going in six directions, carrying on an animated conversation with the folks below.

"Don't wait another fifteen years, Luka," someone said. A woman said something in Irish and Luka returned the favour and laughed.

"Brilliant show," said another voice.

Yes, it was. Brilliant, full of spirit. The man is alive...

- Doug Lang

Luka Bloom
Luka Bloom
Photos by Steve Edge

The Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, CO
Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Oxygen deprivation can do strange things to one's mind. It can cause euphoria, confusion and many other symptoms. There was no confusion, but plenty of euphoria when Luka Bloom went from sea level to 5,280 feet in elevation at his gig in the Soiled Dove Underground in Denver, Colorado.

A new venue, the house was designed "in the round" and offered good sight lines from most of the seats, although at one point, the left side of the house implored Luka to "look this way" when playing. Remarking that it was perhaps the strangest request he has had at a gig, Luka obligingly turned and played to both sides of the house for a few songs. In a black "Rebel/Rebel" T-shirt, Bloom traced his catalog from early (Gone to Pablo, City of Chicago, You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time, Dreams in America) to latest (I'm On Your Side, Everyman, I Love The World I'm In).

Luka Bloom Setlist
There Is A Time
I Am Not At War
Here And Now
See You Soon
I Love The World I'm In
Make You Feel My Love
City Of Chicago
No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
Eastbound Train
Peace On Earth
Dreams In America
Gone To Pablo
Sunny Sailor Boy
I'm On Your Side

Acoustic Motorbike
You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time

While the lack of oxygen in the air may have been a bit hard on him, Luka gave no sign in an energetic performance. The Colorado crowd, long-time lovers of all things Bloom, were enthusiastic in their appreciation. Singing along with "Tribe", "Eastbound Train" and "Sunny Sailor Boy" the audience proved that they were as quick to come on board with the newer songs as they were with the older material. Luka has earned this respect, beginning with his first gig in Colorado in 1990. He has returned on a regular basis to entertain, engage and spark off those fortunate enough to catch him when he comes to town. Perhaps the euphoria wasn't oxygen deprivation after all..

- Cindy Reich

World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA
Saturday, 20 June 2009

What can I say Pittsburgh's loss was Philly's gain...sheesh another word that rhyms with rain...all this RAIN! It didn't stop folks from coming out to see the man though. The room was gently buzzin after Byrdie's set. What can I say she's a home town girl. She even discussed the wild chickens terrorizing South Philly. It's an old neighborhood where customs die hard and its illegal to keep chickens now so eh I guess the chickens are getting even...

So on with the show...

Is brilliant overused in the reviews? Oh his voice was so lovely tonight even on the angry songs. He had so much pent up energy after spending 48 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (sorry Luka) that the Man was ALIVE! The power of the performance was: titillating, captivating, invigorating. He was f***ing brilliant!

Luka Bloom Sigh set list time:

20 June 2009 World Cafe Live downstairsl *****

1. Eh Paul I've decided to start with another song... Primavera...

An appropriate start since it's the last day of spring and it's raining and we needed something warm to start with.

2. Here and Now....passionately performed...sigh...a dream of a beach somewhere...because it's still raining

3. Where is my Tribe...some timid singers, no doubt depressed by all the rain we're having...and eh Luka said, Oh Still Eating?

4. See You Soon - so sweet so promising...even if it's still raining...

5. I Love The World I'm In - Just the Way She Is - gorgeous but I could do with a little less rain

6. City of Chicago - sigh I love to hear this song live...even if its raining

7. No Matter Where You Go, There You are... and it's probably raining there too

8. Eastbound Train...much better singing here...this is such a feel good song

9. Head and Heart ... a tribute to John Martyn

10. To Make You Feel My Love .... Luka explained that at the South Park Venue yesterday where the concert was cancelled (due to inclement weather and the threat of tornados) there was a couple sitting together having their picnic and he grabbed a guitar and went up to them and said can I sing you a song... This song was sung with such love, you could feel the hug and right near the end...crash, somebody in the back broke a glass...

11. Peace on Earth -- um apparently a guy on the left side of the stage was annoying Luka and he made a comment before he played this song something like -- your cage is cleaned and ready for you to get back in it. Yikes!

Story about the demise of Rudy the black guitar which was permanently damaged at Heathrow... Luckily he found a new love in New York at the start of the American tour...he said he's making friends but ah Luka, I think you're in love.

12. Dreams in America - the song is a caress, breath on the back of your neck, something you don't forget once you've heard it.

13. Gone to Pablo -- spellbinding

14. Exploring the Bue -- the play between the music and images is so vivid, so perfect.

15. Rainbow Day -- Hey as the commerical says, "No Rain. No Rainbow."

16. Monsoon - is he joking? More rain?

17. I'm On Your Side - Ok if you are, no more rain songs!

18. Sunny Sailor Boy --- lovely singing that's a dream he was gone borne on the ebbing tide...

It's over? He's done already? Come back!!!!

Encore 1 -- He's changed into a white t-shirt sporting a nice pair of wheels... an

19. Acoustic Motorbike -- so much pumping, pedalling fun!

A small tirade followed about how someone was let go by WCL management and apparently this will be Luka's last show at the venue. Personally I hope he changes his mind as it is the perfect venue for him. Sigh, but you know Luka.

20. Don't Be Afraid of the Light that Shines Within You

Encore 2

As Luka is tuning and deciding which song to sing there is a lively, funny discussion going on around the audience about how many more songs he should sing. He comments I can't hear what you're saying but it sounds like your enjoying yourselves.

21. Where's the Fire now -- he said he doesn't write many angry songs...

22. The Man is Alive/Hill of Allen - extended version...gorgeous.

I did not get to stay after the show as someone wasn't feeling very well and I had to get home.

Happy Father's Day Luka Bloom. I do hope you find your way back to Philadephia. A few words of wisdom from Moominpappa: "With imagination and faith all problems will be solved!"

Thank you for another enchanted evening.

- Denise
Philly, Pa

I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling, I'm happy again...

Luka Bloom
Photos: Judy Mchenry Bramich

City Winery, New York, NY
Sunday, 21 June 2009

Luka Bloom strode onto the stage at New York's elegant City Winery, looking like a man happy to be right where he was. As usual, he approached the packed house of several hundred fans as if he were simply down at the pub with a couple of cronies. No schtick, no rehearsed patter, just one real guy and a guitar. What separates him from the pack, though, is an intense passion coupled with seemingly boundless creativity, and he unleashed that one-two punch immediately, with a smoldering rendition of "I Am Not at War with Anyone".

There's always something special about the last night of a tour, and Luka explained why he was particularly "on" for this gig. The shows had gone down great, he'd gotten the chance to travel across an America that has gone through "a few changes" (a political reference that was not lost on the audience, who responded with a rousing cheer), and, best of all, in the morning he'd be flying out from his sometime adopted home in the USA to his real home in Ireland. He drew chuckles from the crowd when he described the relief of getting home, with no performance responsibility, followed in short order by an itch to get back on the road and start giging again. All in all, he was as relaxed a performer as you'll ever see on stage, but as each song kicked off, it was obvious that he was saving the intensity for the right moments, as the passion, fueled by his trademark jackhammer rhythm guitar, built in wave after wave, until the crowd could barely stay put in their seats. It was that kind of show.

It's hard to point out highlights, because this was a wave that crested and stayed there. Here and Now, I Love the World I'm In, City of Chicago, You couldn't Have Come at a Better Time, and Acoustic Motorbike were all moments that shine like facets of a single diamond. He sang Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love", and told a story about playing it in the rain for an audience of exactly two, when they showed up for a cancelled gig. The weather has been on everyone's mind, and after the rainiest American June in memory, he joked that Irish tourists were flocking to the States because (heavy brogue) "It's so green!"

After the last encore, an acoustic rap version of LL Cool J's "I Need Love", Luka veterans were shaking their heads in a somewhat dumbfounded state, agreeing that this was "one for the books".

At this point in his career, Luka seems to be tapping into an ever deeper well of creative energy. I played a support set for him in a little bar in Georgetown, DC twenty years ago, and he was great back then, but he's flexing new muscle now, and his live show is not to be missed.

- Pete Kennedy

Inchicore Sports and Social Club, Inchicore, Dublin 8
Friday, 2 October 2009

I was lucky enough to catch this gig in the CIE Sports and Leisure Centre. The night was organised to raise funds for Inchicore On Track - a group of residents who have come together as a result of corporate bullying from Irish Rail. More info about this sad situation can be got at

First up to sing was Peter Byrne. I had no idea who he was but loved his singing, stage presence and the songs he sang (one of which he learned from Niamh Parsons in the Goilín Singers Club in Parnell Sq). It transpired that Peter Byrne is the father of talented Conor and husband to the lovely Eilísh.

Next up were Conor and Leonard Barry, the Kerry piper. They played a beautiful selection of tunes.

Luka was next. What a guy. Full of fun and energy. His guitar playing is mind-boggling and his songs thought provoking. This is some family.

After Luka, Wally Page and Co took to the stage. I must confess I left before the end as I had the prospect of an early start and a long Saturday. I had to tear myself away though. They were brilliant.

Congrats to all involved in organising this night. Doesn't it say something that people can get together and enjoy such a wonderful night of music and fun to show solidarity in the face of oppression? So long as there are people like these, including the wonderful artists who gave freely of their time, anything can be achieved. There is hope for this country yet.

- Richie Tyndall

Leonard Barry and Conor Byrne Luka Bloom
Photos by Richie

Nieuwe Nor, Heerlen
Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Luka Bloom Well, it was a short (very short) night for sleep, but it was a fantastic start of the Dutch tour in Heerlen yesterday night!! Due to 2 (great) opening acts he started late with I Am Not At War With Anyone (lovely singing of the audience!) and Here And Now, followed by another great singing along of the audience on Tribe!!

Other songs were See You Soon, Make You Feel My Love, the City of Chicago and No Matter Where You Go, There You Are.

The new guitar sounded brilliant on Exploring The Blue, Gone to Pablo and You, and I LOVED to hear the Bridge of Sorrow again!!! Perfect Groove and Love is a Monsoon were other favourites!! The audience joined in again on Sunny Sailor Boy (WONDERFUL!!) and a great version of I'm On Your Side finished the main set!

Telling the story of his first appearance on PINKPOP in 1991 (entering the stage on a bike) he launched into the Acoustic Motorbike (BRILLIANT!!!) and a fantastic version of You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time and Ciara (WOW!!!) were the other encores.

The concert ended with a very beautiful version of Don't Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You!!

It was a really great night in Heerlen yesterday!
He said he'd love to return to PINKPOP again, so fingers crossed!!! :-)

- Rena

Theater Den Boogaard , Moergestel
Friday, 6 November 2009

It was a really wonderful evening at the Theater Den Boogaard in Moergestel!
A great venue and audience and a very special atmosphere during the whole concert!
The setlist full of very special songs!!

Luka Bloom I Am Not At War With Anyone
Here And Now
Water Ballerina
As I Waved Goodbye
Make You Feel My Love
I Hear Her, Like Lorelei
City of Chicago
No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
Head And Heart
Peace On Earth
Exploring The Blue
Gone to Pablo
Bridge Of Sorrow
Lord Franklin
Sunny Sailor Boy
I'm On Your Side

The Acoustic Motorbike
You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time
Black Is The Colour
Don't Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You

It was uitverkocht (sold out) and it ended with 2 standing ovations!!
So hard to pick out any favourites when there are so many!
but I loved especially to hear the Lorelei again, and Primavera and Bridge of Sorrow were brilliant......
and also his version of Lord Franklin was so beautiful!!

- Rena

Cultureel Podium Roepaen, Ottersum
Thursday, 12 November 2009

You are sitting in a venue which used to be a church......
Only candle light in the room and the background music has already stopped...
People around you are still talking, but watching the stage and waiting for the beginning of the concert... and then... at first you hear it from the distance, not very loud and you are not sure what it is and where it comes from..... but then you hear a voice singing a song...

It's getting louder and it makes people stop talking and turning around to look from where the voice comes from... and in the darkness you can see someone standing on the choir balcony..... and then suddenly you recognize the voice and the song.......


You are listening completey fascinated by the voice.....
trying to soak it up and not to miss anything from what is happening around you...
and then the singer disappears from the balcony... but you can still hear his voice filling the hall...
he comes down the stairs, walks through the darkness in the hall along the aisle..
only guided by a light, stops in front of the stage, turns around and finishes the song!

Well, I don't know if you can imagine the scene but it was absolutely MIND-BLOWING!!
and it was ONLY the beginning of a wonderful and very special night!!

The setlist full of favourites, old and new ones!!

The audience singing especially on Tribe, As I Waved Goodbye, and Sunny Sailor Boy was outstanding and always very, very beautiful!!

When he came back for the encore he came down from the stage again, and standing in front of the stage without a microphone he sang another a cappella song. Wave Up To The Shore, one of the very first songs he has written in the early 70s.

I have only heard it a few times live, and it has always been so special and the acoustics of the hall were absolutely perfect for the song!!

After finishing this song he went back onstage and some brilliant versions of I'm On Your Side and You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time followed!

The huge applause after the songs made him sing one more....
Black is the Colour was the perfect closing song for this wonderful concert!

Luka Bloom The setlist:
I'll Walk Beside You (a cappella)
I Am Not At War With Anyone
I Hear Her, Like Lorelei
Here And Now
As I Waved Goodbye
City of Chicago
No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
Miracle Cure
See You Soon
Make You Feel My Love
I'm A Bogman
Head And Heart
Peace On Earth
Exploring The Blue
Gone to Pablo
Bridge Of Sorrow
The Acoustic Motorbike
Sunny Sailor Boy

Wave Up To The Shore (a cappella)
I'm On Your Side
You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time
Black Is The Colour

What I especially loved yesterday, was that from the start to finish the whole audience seem to absorb the music and the songs till the very last tone was gone!
Nobody was clapping before a song had completely finished!
but then he always got a huge applause, and finally the show ended with two standing ovations!! It was an amazing concert with a wonderful audience at a really great place....
a night to remember!!!

- Rena

Jazz Cafe, London
Friday, 14 November 2009

Luka Bloom I’m back from my trip to London *sighs deeply.
Rebecca, Louise (a friend of Rebecca’s), Sally and I met for dinner before Luka’s concert. It was really nice meeting them!

The Jazz Café in Camden is a really nice venue, and the staff are very nice, I must say. One of them standing behind me and being able to sing along with Luka (apart from the new song(s)). As I enjoy singing along it was really nice to have this nice voice from behind…

Rebecca Collins was the opening act for Luka but, unfortunately, her playing and singing didn’t really reach the audience or her music didn’t fill the room. That is my personal impression. I heard her music before and I really liked it but in the Jazz Café the atmosphere was perhaps not the one it needed to transport her music to the hearts of the people in the audience or across the room. I really don’t know, and I felt a little sorry for her (I think she deserves better than that!). So she didn’t play long…

Luka came on stage earlier than expected and gradually you could feel the atmosphere change. More and more people moved towards the stage (there was at least one metre distance between Rebecca and the audience before, and she had asked the audience to move closer as it was a little cold – I would like to see it as a metaphor!), and Luka was in a really good mood. I couldn't write down the set list as I had to move my body *hihi but Rebecca did, I believe. I realised there was at least one new song of which I really liked the melody. First I thought it sounded a bit like the song by Kylie Minogue (you know, the “la la la-song” *smiles) in the beginning but then it changed (perhaps his Australian tour inspired him here). Luka got carried away quite a lot and so I really couldn’t remember if he had played 'Tribe' or not. He kept on talking and talking *lol. But Rebecca reassured me afterwards that he had sung the song.

It just felt good being there and it was far too soon over! It had become warm and cosy in there!

Unfortunately, when Luka got off the stage very loud music was played, and the Jazz Café got ready for the people who had already arrived to have a dance. So Luka didn’t sit down to have a chat or to sign Cds and we left. That was a bit abrupt for my taste but alas …

- Gudrun

Luka Bloom
Concert Photos by Sally Vignoli

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