Photo by Liz.


Streams of Whisky
If I Should Fall from Grace With God
The Broad Majestic Shannon
Turkish Song of the Damned
A Pair of Brown Eyes
Repeal of the Licensing Laws
Cotton Fields
Greenland Whale Fisheries
Tuesday Morning (Spider)
Sunnyside of the Street
The Body of an American
Lullaby of London
Thousands are Sailing (Phil)
Dirty Old Town
Bottle of Smoke
The Sickbed of Cuchulainn
Sally MacLannene
Rainy Night in Soho
The Irish Rover
Poor Paddy

I was particularly disappointed when Langerado was cancelled this year because I was finally going to be able to see The Pogues. I missed them when they played their first U.S. reunion shows around 2002-3 on account of being broke and also not being able to take the time off to go to downstate for the show. The bonus for the current tour is that Phil Chevron is healthy enough following his cancer treatments to be back on the road. As it turns out, the cancellation was nearly a death blow to the tour, and their booking agent quickly found them a replacement local show in Pompano Beach.

Following poutine and burgers at Homeburger USA, we made our way to the arena. Fast food for dinner meant that we were unusually early, arriving about ten minutes after the doors opened. The place was pretty empty, with just a few people wandering around with drinks. I bought a Pogues scarf at the merch booth and we went to find seats and overpriced beer ($8 for a draught can of Guinness actually isn't that bad for venue beer).

Openers Kiss Kiss were a pretty good indie rock group, with a violin player and touches of Eastern European melodies. Unfortunately, the singer is from the school of whiny emo vocalists, which detracted greatly from my enjoyment of the performance.

Eventually, the place filled with in with other old geezers, drinks in hand, and the Pogues emerged from backstage. It's always a crapshoot with older performers, as some, especially rock guys from the 1960s and 1970s, lose a lot of what made them vital when they get older and richer (see The Rolling Stones or Osbourne, Ozzy). Others only get better with age (see Aitken, Laurel or X). I was very interested in seeing an older Pogues perform, as the band always seemed so much younger than their songs. Shane grabbed a beer off a tray set next to his microphone stand and the band launched into "Streams of Whiskey." The lineup of the band touring now is the one that recorded the middle trio of Pogues albums (If I Should Fall From Grace With God, Peace & Love and Hell's Ditch), but the setlist was skewed heavily towards the early albums and associated singles, with only one from Peace & Love, two from Hell's Ditch and one from the Shane-less Waiting for Herb, the single "Tuesday Morning."

Shane now has the permanent slur of the lifelong drunk, but unlike the recordings from that last tour before he left the Pogues in 1991, when he was sloppy and sounding ready to pass out for most of the show, here he was coherent and in good form, just harder to understand. The band, although obviously aging, are all quite spry (James Fearnley in particular) and can still kick up a racket. They were tight, energetic and really seemed to be enjoying themselves. Spider Stacy in particular seemed to take great joy in making jokes and giving Shane a hard time. I can't say enough good things about this show. Well worth the money and time spent. Our consolation prize for the Langerado cancellation turned out to be a full set of The Pogues. Cheers!