Tales From The Undertaker; On Tour With Duke Special, Part II


I’m writing to you today from the Cork Opera House. We had a day off yesterday in Cork. The only hotel we’ve got on the whole tour. It was so good to sleep in a bed that stays still, although I swear I felt it go around a few corners during the night…

ON the 25th November we played the Dublin Olympia. This is by far my favourite venue to play in Dublin. I’ve played there a few times with The Divine Comedy before, and once with Eddy when we supported The Beautiful South.
I’ve always loved playing in Dublin. It’s such a great city. We wound up not having a great deal of time to walk around town so I headed straight for the parts I knew best surrounding the venue. I found a few new (to me, anyway) second-hand record stores and a couple of great little vintage clothes shops in Temple Bar. I finally managed to get my hands on a top hat that actually fits my big head (joy of joys!); it looks very classy with the tailcoat.
I returned to the Olympia after a slap-up binge at Eddie Rockets next door. It was great having the run of the Olympia’s massive stage having mostly been playing much smaller venues until then. We were able to spread out more and get a great sound onstage which helped no end during the performance. We had a huge crowd in and they were really receptive to the music.
Our lighting designer Dom really went to town for Dublin, creating a really dark and moody setting for the show. The new album is pretty dark compared to Songs From The Deep Forest. The only trouble was that as a result the stage was so dark you daren’t put anything down that you wanted to find again later on in the show. My little corner of the stage has become pitch black apart from occasional bursts of green and red haze for the majority of the show. In fact, I haven’t seen my set list for the last two shows! I resorted using the florescent ‘W’ on the front of my Warwick amp to find out what songs are coming up..
Incidentally, for those of you so inclined, this is the set list we’ve pretty much settled on for the show now..
Mockingbird Wish Me Luck (Duke & Ben)
Sweet Sweet Kisses
Those Proverbs We Made In The Winter
Brixton Leaves
Diggin’ An Early Grave
I Never Thought This Day Would Come
Portrait
No Cover Up
Flesh & Blood Dance
If I Don’t Feel It Anymore
Salvation Tambourine
Nothing Comes Easy
Why Does Anybody Love?
Let Me Go (Please Please Please)
Our Love Goes Deeper Than This
Freewheel (Pete solo/Duet with Swinging Dave Rowland)
Ghost Town (The Specials)
Last Night I Nearly Died
Neil came to watch the show at the Olympia. It was great to catch up with him at the aftershow over a Guinness. He didn’t get up to sing this time as he and Peter had just performed their ‘dueling pianos’ show at Vicar Street in October. I think he really enjoyed the set.
I should, in true British tradition, take a brief moment to mention the weather. It has rather suddenly become bitingly cold here in Ireland. Whilst this has no effect on the shows, it has made some of the loading pretty bloody unpleasant. Pretty much the last thing you want to do when stood outside in the freezing cold is to grab hold of a bunch of increasingly heavy, awkward and, most significantly,  cold metal flightcases and start schlepping them about. Having said that we’ve been pretty lucky since the Loadout From Hell in Dundalk where we not only had to deal with the cold, but the pissing rain too. We all got utterly soaked through…
We went to Limerick the following day to play Dolans’s. I’d only played there once before when we did the trio tour with Neil and Squeezy. It really is a fantastic venue and the guys that run the place are brilliant, they really know how to look after musicians there. And as for the food.. wow! I’d been looking forward to that show for a while. We had a great vibey show and a really fun night. The Dolan’s crowd are always amongst the best in Ireland.

Yesterday we had a well-deserved day off in Cork. Great place. I spent the afternoon wandering the town centre before meeting up with Ben and Phil for some food and a trip to the cinema. We went to see My Best Friend’s Girl, an American Pie type film starring Kate Hudson and Jason Biggs. It was one of those films that you vaguely enjoy whilst watching it, but come away with nothing. Still, it helped pass the time! We went to see Quarantine before the second show in Waterford. I absolutely loved it, but it did put us in a funny mood for the show…
WE play the Opera House tonight. We’ve had a few issues getting into the venue and onto the stage. It seems panto season is upon us… O well, we’re in now. I’ve got to get my gear set up so I’d better leave you now. I’ll let you know how it all goes. Only five shows to go now. I’m really looking forward to the Belfast show in St George’s Market. We’ve got a whole host of special guests and support acts lined up, it sounds like it’s going to be a great night.
Until then…

Duke Special’s fantastic new album I Never Thought This Day Would Come was released in Ireland last month. It’s available over here for download at the iTunes store, or you can buy the CD direct from the Duke Special Store.

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