Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's Useless to Bawl



Saw the reconstituted (3 years plus, at this point), with the reinstalled Shane MacGowan at the helm, looking (to paraphrase the Washington Post) approximately three times his age (which is around 52). He also resembles my grandmother. At least he got rid of his own teeth completely. The band is as tight as my father used to be by the time All in the Family came on in the evenings: I mean, they're tight as anything I've ever seen. Shane is incomprehensible, as always, not that matters. For it seems everyone in the sold-out place knew his lyrics as well as he did, so one only had to cock an ear any which way except toward the stage, and there it was, as foul and evocative and brilliant as it ever was. As below (so above -- too bad I had to reach back to 1988 to find it), one of my favorites, a lyric that chokes me up every time I hear it. And now my son likes it too! A rare moment of confluence.

The Broad Majestic Shannon (Shane MacGowan)

The last time I saw you was down at the Greeks
There was whiskey on Sunday and tears on our cheeks
You sang me a song as pure as the breeze
Blowing up the road to Glenaveigh
I sat for a while at the cross at Finnoe
Where young lovers would meet when the flowers were in bloom
Heard the men coming home from the fair at Shinrone
Their hearts in Tipperary wherever they go

Take my hand, and dry your tears babe
Take my hand, forget your fears babe
There's no pain, there's no more sorrow
They're all gone, gone in the years babe

I sat for a while by the gap in the wall
Found a rusty tin can and an old hurley ball
Heard the cards being dealt, and the rosary called
And a fiddle playing Sean Dun na nGall
And the next time I see you we'll be down at the Greeks
There'll be whiskey on Sunday and tears on our cheeks
For it's stupid to laugh and it's useless to bawl
About a rusty tin can and an old hurley ball

So I walked as day was dawning
Where small birds sang and leaves were falling
Where we once watched the row boats landing
By the broad majestic Shannon

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