And then the music starts.
On Monday evening I went to Dublin's Olympia Theatre to see my favourite band (who you all need to check out too), The Gaslight Anthem.
With The Gaslight Anthem, there's something comforting about going on your own. I feel safe with the crowd and with the band.
Supported by New Jersey's The Scandals. For those of us not distracted by the absolute beauty that was their lead guitarist, the band put on a great show. Bringing a heavier brand of punk to the Olympia, in between dedicating every song they played to somebody, they sounded really good.
And then The Gaslight Anthem burst onto stage with more energy than a 4 year old on a Bouncy Castle, racing through 4 songs before Brian Fallon even said hello to us. Not that he was able to get the words out for another 2 minutes with all the screaming.
You see, it had been a while. With all that touring the world and putting a new album out every other year, we don't get to see Brian, Alex, Alex and Benny (& Ian) very often. And although a good portion of the crowd had also traveled up to Belfast the night before to see them, we still had two years worth of singing along to get out.
And in one that started with U2 owning a box in the Olympia, he said that he wished he could write songs that make you feel and give you chills - like U2's I Still Haven't Found What You're Looking For. One look at Monday night's crowd and you can safely say he's already doing that.
From opening with '45, to classics like Navesink Banks, to playing some rarely heard live songs like Here's Looking at You Kid this performance had everything. They're not afraid to slow things down only to up the ante straight after.
And as Brian pointed out at the end, Dublin is a crowd that appreciate the silences. When it came to Sweet Morphine, Keepsake or a heartbreaking acoustic version of Great Expectations, the whole theatre either stood in respectful silence, swayed or sang along. Because this wasn't like any other time we'd seen Gaslight. Through the raw emotion of the Get Hurt album, we all knew what Brian has been going through. And we were right on that journey with him.
And I saw daylights last night in a dream about my first wife
Everybody leaves and I'd expect as much from you.Notably absent was Get Hurt. Or pretty much any song from that new album. Perhaps the often dark themes of the songs have proven themselves too much to bring on stage every night. (Notable exceptions were Stray Paper, Underneath the Ground and Sweet Morphine)
But nobody was complaining. Classics from Sink or Swim, The 59 Sound, American Slang and Handwritten all made the cut. And having Andy Diamond present when The Diamond Church Street Choir was sung was a novelty.
Dismissing an encore to give us extra songs like We Came to Dance and The 59 Sound the show reached a pinnacle. But not to end without a bang, the final song invited The Scandals' Jared Hart on stage for We're Getting a Divorce. And it was awesome.
There was something about the Olympia on Monday evening. Maybe it was the set list. Or how much has changed since The Gaslight Anthem last graced us.
But it felt like a homecoming.