I cannot believe I’ve never seen The Waterboys before. There, I said it, writes Jonathan Duckworth.
Before Monday night at The Sub Rooms, I’d never seen them. Their album, “This is the Sea” was ever-present on my playlist back in the 80s
and 90s. Hey, I was even listening to it in a car on its side in a
ditch on a Christmas Eve, but that’s another story.
So fast forward to October 2021, the pandemic subsided, and a
longstanding date was fulfilled as The Waterboys played at the Sub Rooms in Stroud on Monday. I feel I ought to repeat that, The Waterboys played in Stroud.
Mike Scott and his lineup were masterful as they ran through a slew of
favourites from the band’s catalogue. There were interpretations,
rehashes and adaptations for the band supporting Scott, but it was
through and through; Waterboys. The band was probably feeling cramped
on the stage, as this was the smallest venue they have played on the
current tour, however, the intimacy from the packed Ballroom bounced back and forth between stage and crowd.
Scott started with a piano and fiddle version of “Don’t bang the drum”,
following spots picking him out on the stage and throwing shadows on the
Two huge lights that would have graced a Hollywood stage
framed the stage sides, highlighting the keyboards. There were so many
musical highlights that it is hard to pick out the best, they were all
great. Brother Paul Brown was name-checked before the band played
“Nashville, Tennessee”, largely because that’s where he comes from! He was happiest during “Ladbroke Grove Symphony”, wearing a portable keyboard and taking the stage.
Scott talked about having walked around Stroud before the gig, saying it
was new to him, but how amazing the inhabitants were – like a living
pack of Tarot Cards. He even made a song up on the spot, but “Walking
back to Stroud” probably won’t be seen on the next album.
It had to come to an end, and the final song was the classic “The Whole
of The Moon”. For the audience, the end of the show was ‘too far, too
soon’ but they had seen the whole of the moon.