It’s Friday night, November 3rd and for the first time since July 2019 I was able to enjoy live music again. The last people I saw in concert were Bob Dylan and Neil Young so there was big expectations to live up to. I went to Dolan’s and saw Mick Flannery performing with Susan O Neill. This Irish duo were unbelievable to see live. I’ve been a fan of the pair since the release of their singles baby talk and chain reaction released earlier this year. Mick Flannery is a singer from Cork and Susan O Neill comes from Clare, so to see such incredible Irish talent up close was an amazing experience.
The night went perfectly and felt as safe as could be with all COVID-19 precautions being adhered to. We had to mask up and have our vaccine passport’s on hand to scan. I really gotta hand it to Dolan’s they held a great show and did everything possible to make the night as safe as possible for all of us.
The opening act was another talented Irish singer Mide Houlihan. This was the first time I had heard of her and she was a fantastic opener to an Incredible show. She had such great songs and was such a great entertainer the whole time she was on stage. Honestly if she ever wanted to mix her musical success with a career in stand up comedy I’d be the first to buy a ticket. When she came out she told the audience about the sad songs she was going to sing and her self deprecating sense of humour had me in stitches. When she said her husband couldn’t be here because she’s getting a divorce I came close to a genuine spit take. She only did 4 or 5 songs but they were all great to listen to and the atmosphere in the place was incredible.
Shortly after Mide finished her set Mick Flannery came into the stage to perform a couple of songs. The guy knows how to entertain an audience as he sat at the piano and had the craic with the crowd. Flannery’s voice is so strong and powerful while still having a gentleness and tenderness to it. When he was joined on stage by Susan O Neill the pair along with their band were truly something special. The duo have such chemistry and their voices compliment each other so incredibly well that it seems like magic. As if their voices which sound even better live somehow than on their recorded songs weren’t enough they had great back up with some beautiful saxophone too.
I find Susan O Neill to have one of the most unique and beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. The only names that come to mind for comparison are Joan Baez or Joni Mitchell. As a massive Dylan fan I’m a big advocate of use of harmonica in songs. As you can imagine I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears then when Susan started playing harmonica to accompany some of their songs. Maybe it’s the music or the atmosphere or something else but I felt goosebumps or my arms and the back of my neck. The last person I heard play the harmonica live was Bob Dylan and to hear another of my favourite singers absolutely killing it on the harmonica was an amazing experience.
The entire show was full of beautiful song after beautiful song and in between the tunes was Mick on the piano cracking jokes and giving us the backstory to the songs before they started playing. The crowd was overcome by the beauty of their music and it felt like we were all experiencing something special. I think that Mick Flannery and Susan O Neill will be iconic names in Irish music. The pair are already taking the world by storm with their tour covering America and Europe. I’m sure they’ll keep going from strength to strength in the future and I can’t wait to experience them live again !