Caught Live: The Pogues

Publication: The Mirror

Author: Jody Thompson

Date: December 23, 2007

Reviewed gig: London, Brixton Academy December 18-20, 2007

Original Location: Link

Thanks to Faggot-gate the Pogues' sell-out London Christmas knees-up was suddenly in the spotlight. Not bad for a band whose last new song was in the charts back in 1993.

Yet by the time they appeared on stage the BBC had performed a U-turn and unbleeped the insults "faggot" and "slut" from the Pogues' Christmas classic Fairytale Of New York, adding to the party atmosphere And the Pogues, now in their 25th year, are still the best band for a knees-up.

A clearly well-lubricated Shane MacGowan, with the deathly pallor of the Ghost Of Christmas Past, still has the capacity to hit every note that's required - although not necessarily with the correct words. No matter.

The Pogues might play essentially the same set every Christmas yet you wouldn't criticise a carol service for featuring your favourite festive hymns. And no Songs Of Praise Yuletide special could get the whole place linking arms and jumping up and down.

The Pogues defy fashion. Their tunes will never age. Even Streams Of Whiskey and Boys From The County Hell from their 1984 debut album Red Roses For Me sounded fresh and taut. And the audience was filled with as many indie kids in skinny black jeans as blokes with thinning hair and expanding waistlines.

Of course, it was Fairytale that everyone wanted to hear. Guitarist Jem Finer's daughter Ella sang the sadly-missed Kirsty MacColl's part under a shower of fake snowflakes. And with "faggot" included, it sounded as majestic as ever with its tragedy, poignancy and humour.

It's no surprise it's been voted the best seasonal song of all time. It fair brought a tear to this old cynic's eye.

SET LIST

Streams Of Whiskey

If I Should Fall From Grace With God BMS

Turkish Song Of The Damned

A Pair Of Brown Eyes

Dark Streets Of London

Tuesday Morning Sayonara

Summer In Siam

The Sunnyside Of The Street

Repeal Of The Licencing Laws

Body Of An American Thousands Are

Sailing Boys From The County Hell

Dirty Old Town

Greenland Whale Fisheries

Bottle Of Smoke

Sickbed Of Cuchulian Transmetropolitan

Rainy Night In Soho

Sally MacLennane

Star Of The County Down

Fairytale Of New York

Fiesta


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