We were very happy to attend a special event last night; and it was, according to our opinion, but we hope not only ours, one of the best – if not the best event of the year in Bucharest. We are talking about the concert performed by The Cranberries (opening: The Mono Jacks) on Oct-11, at Romexpo in Bucharest, promoted by Events. We would like to take a moment to thank the artists, their crew, the promoters, and last but not least the lively audience who gathered in the cozy ambiance of Romexpo in order to witness the band’s second Romanian concert.
The Mono Jacks @Romtexpo, Oct-11: Viva Music Review and Photos | The Cranberries @Romexpo, Oct-11: Viva Music Review and Photos: Setlist | Introduction | Review
Click here for the gallery The Mono Jacks @Romexpo, Oct-11
Previously on darkwave.ro: The Mono Jacks (opening for Suede) @Arenele Romane: Viva Music Review and Photos
The Mono Jacks already have a renown for very elegant and professional shows, and their opening for The Cranberries is no exception. They have a flair for how to fuse and dissipate at the same time energies, and their gracious and uplifting set was greeted very positively by the audience. Most likely, their songs were already known, and there were definitely at least some dozens of people who were there to support and sing along with their favorite act. Avoiding monotony with a set that included among others “What Do You Know“, “Woman“, “We’re All Getting Older” or “Maria“, they managed to put up with the quite difficult task of opening for a world famous act such as The Cranberries. The 30+ minutes of their set were meant to put in the mood people for a party of alternative rock, and they checked off the task nicely. It is a pleasure to see The Mono Jacks perform, and we are happy every time we have the opportunity to attend their concerts.back to top
The Cranberries @Romexpo, Oct-11: Viva Music Review and Photos
Click here for the gallery The Cranberries @Romexpo, Oct-11
“Just My Imagination” * “When You’re Gone” * “Losing My Mind” * “Linger” * “Free to Decide” * “Ordinary Day” * “21” * “Tomorrow” * “Still Can’t” * “Sunday” * “Can’t Be with You” * “Conduct” * “Fire and Soul” (canceled) * “Shattered” (instrumental) * “Not Sorry” * “Show Me the Way” * “Ridiculous Thoughts” * “Salvation” * “Zombie” * “Schizophrenic Playboys” * “The Journey” * “Dreams” back to top
A performance by The Cranberries is the kind of experience you know – even before it started – that it is going to please you. Natural talent has proved, many times before, to be the essential, guiding force behind their performances – and it’s been like this ever since they shyly set foot on stage in their early years, twenty years before.
The past two decades have been a carousel of emotions for The Cranberries, and even though a few years ago it seemed as if the games were made, and there was no The Cranberries anymore, their recent comeback (plausibly at the same time as other of their contemporary acts among which Skunk Anansie, Suede, or Pulp came back) meant coming in front of new audiences. Their Romanian one – which greeted their first concert with unparalleled emotion – who, after all, was still expecting a concert from The Cranberries? – was not the only audience – basically The Cranberries came in front of a new Europe and new world. Their reputation was still rock solid and no one expected them to flunk in any regard – how could anyone have possibly believed so, since their history of concerts is basically flawless?
The Cranberries are conveyors of feel-good music. Wherever they go, they charm their audiences with songs that have already claimed – and were allowed into – a rock canon of the 1990’s. Practically it would be difficult to disentangle them from the musical tumult of the 1990’s – and their story, which is one of young local talents who meet up and decide that what they want to achieve in life is larger than their city and more than their average peer, is still told in the present tense. Even when addressing worldwide known hits, and The Cranberries are never short of that – we still talk about the common consensus and feeling gathered by “Zombie” or “Salvation“, about how sharp and crisp is the communion of people who listen to “Dreams“. And even if their hits ‘linger’ on, without the possibility of being forgotten (even the generations that grew up during their disbandment are as aware of the importance of their tracks), there are numerous other signs of their success.
Firstly, they hail from Ireland, and as most Irish acts (should we remind of U2?) have a story to tell – it’s a story of their own devise, but also one raising the spirits of Irish lore, carried on the melodiousness of Irish folk music, but also impinging, not with brute force, but with gentleness, and self-possession, on the current issues that societies within and without experience. It’s rare to find such an astuteness and acuity about the impact of hatred, or about war children in music as we find it with The Cranberries – it’s nowhere near abusive or judgmental, but takes a stand in a very personal way. A personal way which came to be allotted willy-nilly to the person Dolores O’Riordan, not the band, even if, were it not for the creative web of emotions they brought together, The Cranberries would never be.
Secondly, it is also a fact that unlike other, similarly talented acts, they made it big from the very beginning. A difficultly earned, but solid record deal, concert dates, MTV air time when it was still hip, when band members were in their early 20’s – and they knew how to use that and evolve instead of stagnate, propose more instead of settle for less. They grew up to fame, but never let fame to be the ruler – rather, they knew somehow that in leading their private lives the way they used to when they were anonymous lies the secret of their future success.
Thirdly, The Cranberries, in their popularity, never left the arena. TV contestants in China made it big in front of audiences of several million covering their songs. “Dreams” was used in a 2011 independent movie, “Sound of My Voice” to represent the bridge between epochs: the character of Maggie, a self-professed time traveler from the future, sings to prospective cult followers “Dreams” when asked about music from her (future) time. The fact that not only cult members – but also the film’s audience can clearly and distinctly recollect the song, and pin it down, as being a (past) song from The Cranberries, adds flavor to the role The Cranberries play in popular culture today. back to top
The Cranberries went on stage minutes before the expected time, and ‘going on’ stage barely describes their vivid outburst, on the notes of “Just My Imagination“, a recent live favorite of the band, and also one of their most spontaneous, carefree and vivid songs, ever. They caused a stir in the audience, and animated everyone with the delicate acoustics of the song, and the strong message conveyed throughout. Not before thanking everyone for coming and showing her admiration of our beautiful country, Dolores made it clear for everyone that she means business, and set on to enchant us for the rest of the evening. Setting from the very beginning a cadence of contrasts, they went on to play “When You’re Gone“, which in a theory of extremes, would be one of their most intimate and heartfelt songs – with a melancholy fragrance and a lushness easily comparable to the world’s most long-lasting love ballads. A song of yearning and genuine emotion, played in front of our very eyes, as if we were the estranged or departed lover from this song.
Going on with “Losing My Mind“, one of their new releases from “Roses“, The Cranberries reverted to the original feel of their show, only teasingly so, since the next piece, “Linger” went back to musing and the openness of lovers on the edge. One of the most loved pieces by The Cranberries, it was hummed along by the audience in tune with the band. Their next choice of music was “Free to Decide“, and it became fiercer and very outspoken – the first song in which Dolores O’Riordan joined bandmates on her guitar. Casual and at the same time serious, demanding the right of one’s own options stubbornly like a child, but with the eloquence of maturity, the song was applauded lavishly.
Up next, The Cranberries delighted us with Dolores O’Riordan’s solo comeback of 2007 – “Ordinary Day” – a song she confessed she had composed thinking of her daughters. Evasive and at the same time leaving an indelible mark on the listener, “Ordinary Day” is a mother’s lament, one that makes it clear that there are hardships ahead, but they could at all times and on all occasions be overcome by the strength of the bond between mother and infant.
After asking casually how many people in the audience were aged twenty-one, it became clear that the next track on the setlist was going to be “21“. Lyrical, balanced and sentimentally plausible, the song was delivered with genuine zest by the band, and they made sure to gain and capture a feel of their early days. It was extremely pleasing to see them on stage perform this song; they seemed to go back themselves to the era in which the song was a novelty even for themselves, so easily and so unpretentiously that it became clear for everyone that their unexpected comeback had solid grounds, and that they are here to stay, until further notice.
“Tomorrow” was their second choice of the day, or evening rather! from their newest album, “Roses“, and though it was less known by the audience, or had a shorter history with them than the previous tracks, it was extremely well received. “Still Can’t” and “Sunday“, both from their emotional “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?“, followed; about the latter song, Dolores O’Riordan mentioned that it’s been until last night 12 years since they last played the song live; and it was carried out in a very elegant manner, it sounded fresh and not rusty at all, it emerged as one of the most neat and tasteful additions to the evening’s setlist.
Going back to carefree liveliness, “Can’t Be With You” continued only in the red thread of love affairs that end, well, in other ways than we initially expect, but changed the tone completely. “Conduct” followed, with its unobtrusive, but clearly pointed out couple politics. After a short technical indisposition which boiled down to canceling “Fire & Soul“, “Not Sorry” proved that a song that gathers less critical attention from a debut album is up to the challenge of delighting an audience almost twenty years after its release. “Show Me the Way” was again a highlight of the concert, similar in intent and in frankness to “Free to Decide“, delivered earlier. An acoustic version of “Shattered“, with a lot of instrumental added value ensued, leaving a needed breathing space before the sound storm of “Ridiculous Thoughts“. We are unaware of what exact feelings can actually plunge one in the state of creating such a masterpiece, and even less of how it is possible to recollect exactly the feeling and its musical rendition after so many years, because not all resides in the very personal touch added to the very turbulent stream of thought, and not all can be explained by a flawless musical line and a very plausible tact.
The main set was concluded with two of the band’s most known songs, applauded wildly, and sung along by the entire audience, young and … not so young anymore. To begin with, “Salvation“, which was possibly re-arranged for the new live version of their show, with its fierceness, its almost burlesque elements, and its captioning on the absurd of the situation in which one is caught when trying to have a personal and humane approach to substance abuse. And without any need for an introduction, “Zombie“, which left everyone beaming, despite the sad circumstances that brought about the composition of the song, because after all it is a personal statement of unparalleled grace and lack of resilience in front of the brutality of the world.
For their encore, The Cranberries chose to delight us first of all with their catchy “Schizophrenic Playboys“, with its shifting sands of vocals and instrument, and then with the lively and optimistic “The Journey“, again, like “Ordinary Day“, a Dolores O’Riordan solo. The closing, as everyone anticipated, was ensured by the most loved song from the band, namely “Dreams“, delivered in splendid fashion, with utmost enthusiasm and a great attention to the inflections that make the song so loved and so popular with music lovers.
Altogether, the show put up by The Cranberries is an example to be followed closely. Not only did they benefit from great organization of the event, but also they stepped in with professionalism and delivered a high class show, in which emotions were carefully calibrated and the finetuned setlist provided sufficient entertainment for the audience. Thank you, The Cranberries, and definitely, next time it’s a date! back to top