The Young Dubliners were one of the very first Celtic bands I started to listen to when I got into the music. I think I liked them even before The Pogues and Flogging Molly. But I never got the chance to go see them live before. My brother, his fiance and I heard they were playing down near Philadelphia for a free show so we didn’t want to pass up the chance to see the band. You just can’t pass up free shows sometimes ya know. We made a day of it by walking around Philly, taking pictures, doing the tourist thing for most of the day. I loved South Street and got myself a pork pie hat (since I always wanted one).
After Philly, we arrived fairly early to the outdoor pavilion in Burlington County, NJ.
I just woke up from a power nap from the ride over so I was good to go with seeing some awesome Celtic rock. We got spots right in front of the stage, mainly because it was a good spot but I wanted to take lots of pictures of the Young Dubs. Since this concert was free, I kind of figured it was going to be very family oriented and it certainly was. There were many white hair people there, and I’m not talking about dyed hair punks either. My brother and his soon to be wife brought lawn chairs, but I didn’t have one so I just sat on the grass. We waited for the opening act as the Talking Heads filled the speakers. The opening act wasn’t a music act, but Irish Dancers from the Philadelphia area. I never saw Irish dancing in person before but was impressed with the youngsters. There was this adorable 6 year old girl there, performing in public for the first time. She seemed to do a good job, especially for a 6 year old. I was cracking up because I kept taking pictures of the dancers’ feet, and when they were off the ground. What made it funny to me; it looked like someone was being hung. I know, not very funny, but that’s what the picture looked like!
After the dancers went off the stage, we sat for another half hour and the Young Dubliners from LA came on. I believe they opened with “Banshee,” off their Real World album. After the first song, I started to take some pictures of the band. I was getting as low as I can, so I wasn’t in the way of the crowd. I was lying on my side, taking pictures. I don’t think I was really in the way to begin with, but I didn’t want to be an asshole. The band sounded great and played many songs off their two latest albums Real World’ and With All Due Respect.’ The Young Dubs went on for a long time, considering it was a free show. I thought they might have played like 45 minutes and got out of there as quick as possible. These guys came to have a good time, and to give the crowd a great show. I noticed throughout the set, all the old-timers packing up their chairs and leaving. The band does get a bit heavy at times, so I’m surprised they stuck around for that long. There was still a decent crowd after the old farts left. Some of the songs I remember from the early part of the set included “Touch The Sky,” “If I Should Fall From Grace With God,” “What Do You Want From Me” and “Come Back Home” “Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shores.”
In the very front, a few children were dancing to the band. Or in most cases, just walking back and forth or sitting right on the stage. Towards the very end, the kids were getting a little out of control and pretty much walking right near the band. Keith, the singer and guitarist of the Young Dubliners snuck up on one kid and was playing right behind him. The kid didn’t even know he was there, it was hilarious. It was also hilarious seeing all the kids running away from their parents, as they tried to get them off the stage.
Throughout the concert, I kept noticing how talented and great the bagpipe player was. Later on in the show, Keith mentioned that he was on the Braveheart & Titanic soundtracks. Or did he say he was in the movies as well? Either way, I found out he is Eric Rigler, who has done practically every film score with bag pipes in it. Movies like Braveheart, Titanic, Road to Perdition, Master and Commander, Cinderella Man, and many more! If I knew that, I would have talked with him because I love those scores. Towards the end of the set, he broke out on a solo with his Uilleann pipes and ended up playing the entire theme to Braveheart! I literally had goosebumps. God I’m such a nerd haha.
After the solo, the band came back with “Bodran,” which is a great instrumental song. I should really start to write down what songs bands play at shows because I always forget. I do remember that they played a great cover of the Pogues’ “Pair of Brown Eyes,” and did songs off their newest album like “Foggy Dew,” “Rocky Road to Dublin,” “Follow Me Up To Carlow.” But then again, they did those songs on previous albums as well. I would have liked to have heard “Change the World” or the Waterboys cover “Fisherman’s Blues” but I can’t get everything. I was very happy with the song selection though.
If you ever get the chance to see the Young Dubliners, please do so! They are just a bunch of talented guys who put on a fun show for all. Hell, even some grandparents might like their show…but they might need to lower their hearing aides though.