Review By Frances Winston
The Olympia Theatre, Dame Street, Dublin 2
15th February 2020
If you want to feel old, just consider the fact that Supergrass were actually formed over a quarter of a century ago! It’s also actually pretty much ten years since they split acrimoniously. But those figures meant nothing as they made a triumphant return to an Irish stage over Valentine’s weekend.
They surprisingly announced their comeback in September, at the Glastonbury Pilston Party, and while they have yet to record any new music, that suited fans at this gig just fine, as they simply wanted to relive the Halcyon days of 90s Brit-pop.
The fan demographic was very much mid-forties – on the whole the ‘Grass don’t seem to be the kind of band that parents have introduced their children to, which I found surprising, as that tends to be usual at these nostalgia type gigs.
That aside, the crowd were definitely there for the music and not just for the night out. From the opening strains of In It For The Money, the band had a spontaneous backing choir, as the (predominately male) crowd got completely lost in these musical reminders of their youth.
The band bounced out on stage looking great and full of the punk energy that was synonymous with their early work.
When Danny Goffey announced that it felt like ages since they had played there, it drew some laughter, since they had taken to the iconic stage just the night before for their first Irish date.
They played hit after hit. And in fact they crammed their set with an astonishing 21 songs in 90 minutes. For a four-piece, they really managed to fill the stage, without utilising any additional backing singers or musicians. Drummer Goffey ensured that he was noticed, by performing from a raised platform, and there was a feeling that they were trying to ensure that every member got equal attention from the crowd.
Particular highlights – given the crowd reaction – were Richard III, Lenny, Pumpin’ on Your Stereo, and the timelessly anthemic Alright (the opening strains of which saw people queuing for drinks vacate the bar area faster than Mo Farah runs a race!)
Unusually, there were no announcements or thank-yous before they disappeared after Pumpin’ – they just left the stage. There was equally little fanfare as they returned to the stage, after some crowd encouragement for the encore.
They delivered rousing renditions of Caught by the Fuzz, Bad Blood, and Strange Ones, before stepping out together at the front of the stage, and disappearing again after waving to the crowd. No bow. No thank you. It actually felt a bit uncomfortable and awkward, after what had been such a rousing gig.
But perhaps that was just me, as the 1,600 fans spilling out onto Dublin’s Dame Street were excitedly chattering about the show, as they exited into Storm Dennis. Whatever the differences that prompted their decade long split, there’s no denying that Supergrass work together wonderfully as a live collective.
In It for the Money, I’d Like to Know, Diamond Hoo Ha Man, Mary, Moving, Time, Mansize Rooster, Fin, Late in the Day, Richard III, Going Out, Low C, Lose It, Grace, Alright, Sun Hits the Sky, Lenny, Pumping on Your Stereo
Encore: Caught by the Fuzz, Bad Blood, Strange Ones