Creeping damp couldn’t keep away legions of Elbow fans from Kilmainham for what proved to be a triumphant return for the slow-burning superstars. The night opened with Mick Flannery and his band, who played a kind of good-time jammy blend of rock ‘n’ roll. The effect was akin to a heady blend of Bell X1, Van Morrison with the earnestness of Bruce Springsteen thrown in. And that was just the trombone player.
Elbow’s appeal is not complicated – they write well-crafted, memorable songs that avoid cheesiness. Not an easy skill, but this band make it seem effortless. Playing a set that spanned most of their albums, Guy Garvey’s strong vocals and clownish biscuit-referencing banter charmed the audience. Songs like The Bones of You and Real Life were euphoric. It wasn’t all fist-pumping anthems, they slowed things down with New York Morning, Scattered Black and Whites and the borderline soppy Mirrorball.
Things livened up considerably with Grounds for Divorce before the night rounded off with Lippy Kids (featuring a whistled call-and-response delivered note perfect by Garvey and audience) and finishing off with giant anthem One Day Like This, belted out by band and crowd. A celebratory end to a celebratory evening.