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Review: The Waterboys at the Sub Rooms

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Word and pictures: Jonathan Duckworth

This week saw another of those extraordinary Sub Rooms Stroud gigs. One that you had to be there for – a unique, passionate and informal experience. A very special gig from the Waterboys leader, Mike Scott and keyboard genius and his brother Paul.

A packed Sub Rooms waited in anticipation – but were brought down to earth as the announcement was made that the support had COVID. She’d been tested positive 2 hours earlier and had to cry off.

However, to compensate for that, Mike Scott and Paul came on 20 minutes early and promised to make up for the lack of support, offering mainly additional love songs!

2022 06 27 Mike Scott and Brother Paul Jun 27 2022 P6270119 | Review: The Waterboys at the Sub Rooms
Mike Scott and brother Paul Pic: Jonathan Duckworth

The gig delivered loads of classic Waterboys music mixed with impassioned poetry (and of course, those extra love songs…).

Mike had been at Glastonbury just the day before, meeting Michael Eavis for the first time. There was a discussion about the Waterboys’ tune ‘How long will I love you’ and what a great version The Waterboys had done of Ellie Goulding’s song.

Mike relished tickling the audience when starting ‘The pan within’; it is such a favourite, but this rendition was so enhanced by the long intimate interplays between Mike and Paul in one of the most powerful sections of the show.

2022 06 27 Mike Scott and Brother Paul Jun 27 2022 P6270036 | Review: The Waterboys at the Sub Rooms
Mike and Scott at the Subs Pic: Jonathan Duckworth

All too often shows end, and this one moved to the inevitable with an astounding version of  ‘In my time on earth’; quiet pleading interspersed with the most powerful chorus of the evening.

Finally, Mike said goodbye – “it was a pleasure playing for you here in Stroud, as always.”

Mike’s brother is from the USA, Scott whispered to him what to do for the very UK goodbye. It took two takes, but eventually, it was “Good night from Me” and Good night from Him”.

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