In a sold out Kazimier, Getintothis’ Craig MacDonald was one of the lucky ones to have witnessed a triumphant homecoming when John Power rolled into town.
The anticipation for the return of one of the city’s prodigal sons was evident from the centipede-like queue that zig zaged its way around the outside of The Kazimier. With his waiting public eager for the doors to open, you knew that John Power was in for a very welcome return home.
When the floodgates do open, the venue fills up in no time at all and the clamor to get a good spec for the night’s antics is much like a shoal of hungry piranhas to trying to tear away at a raw bit of meat. Tables and chairs are used as platforms by many on the balcony as crowds try in vain to get at least a glimpse of the stage before the support has even managed to get to it.
It safe to say that the night has a distinctive feel of a lost episode of TFI Friday from the lager swilling lads donned in their best Fred Perry polo tops making sure their immaculately placed fringes don’t go one millimetre out of place for the fear they may be turfed out. In John Power and Cast, the disciples have come to pray at the alter of their deity, but before that Tony Steele and The Massacre take to the stage to entertain the rabble.
Sadly, as Tony Steele advises us, the singer lost his voice days before the gig and you get the feeling that he is at pain to try to deliver his usual gusto over the blaring crowd. In a stripped back set, the duo are barely given a fraction of the attention that they warrant with their tight rhythm and textured layers being lost over the din. It was always going to be hard to come across to a crowd that were ravenous for the headliner to make his appearance but thankfully on One More Chance they show that they won’t go down without a fight and give a great example of the exposed harmonies and warming sound.
With the venue at fever pitch, the man of the hour comes on to a rousing reception and sets off on a blues fuelled escapade into the singer’s solo work. On The Old Red Sea, John Power sounds like a man who means business and together with the remarkable guitar work of Jay Lewis who joins him throughout the set, they sound like they could play for hours in blissful allurement.
Another one of the early highlights comes in the form of Small Farm that is utterly enchanting and shows exactly how exceptional a songwriter John Power really is. From this point forth it’s a full-scale assault into the back catalogue of Cast with Sandstorm kicking off what would be one of many mass singalongs in the set with a shattering version of Finetime following straight after.
The pinnacle of the night comes in the form of Live The Dream. As Power croons out to the crowd, there are gangs of mates holding their brethren together while tears stream down their faces in a united joy of what they are witnessing, with every word sang back to the singer with as much force as they can burst from their lungs. The effect leaves Power speechless and he admits he can ask for no better from the crowd.
A powerful and timely rendition of Happening For Love is dished out with vigour before a further avalanche of Cast songs takes us into the finale with Guiding Star acting as peace between the fans on the terraces as the Blues and Reds in the audience come together to bellow out the anthem in their well lubricated best. With the set coming to a close, Power announces that he doesn’t do the dramatics of an encore and with Lewis the duo erupt into a searing rendition of the anthemic Alright.
Tonight has shown just how loved John Power and his songs are in this city. On an exceptional evening of his prowess, it would have left many counting down the days till he performs with Cast later in the year when they play the Philharmonic Hall. This is one man living the dream.
Photos by Getintothis’ John Johnson