Philo once said "the next one is always the best one," and the 32nd Vibe certainly lived up to that. Once more returning to our roots, the show took place in Whelan's and the intimate atmosphere of the smaller venue brought out the best in the various performers.
John Conlon and Thin Az Lizzy rolled back the years with a vintage collection of The Greatest Hits, while The Low Riders, taking time out of their day-job, provided a magical survey of lesser known gems which included a guest appearance from former Lir Frontman Dave McGuinness.
Conor McGouran, who first trod the Vibe State at the age of twelve, made a more than welcome return while The Brother's Orr played a scorcher of a set with Jamey and Sean being joined by their newest recruit, 12 year old brother Luke on drums.
Of particular satisfaction was the performance of Stone Trigger, whose admirable set not only showed that old school Rock 'n' Roll is alive and in a healthy state in Ireland but that such acts still feel honored to pay tribute to the master.
Poetry has always held a special place at the Vibe and at the 2018 show we had some of the best yet. Daniel Breslin previewed his "Ode to Phil" video project with various artists performing lines from his poem and then he returned live with a moving rendition of a piece specially written for the night. John Cummins, something of a poet in residence at the Vibe in recent years gave us something old, something new, and brought the house down as he traded words to a musical backdrop provided by The Low Riders.
All in all it was a hugely successful 2018, particularly so as many of us will be retiring from direct involvement with future Vibes. 2019 will see many changes but you can be certain that those coming aboard will bring much needed energy and enthusiasm and maintain the high standards of performance and quality control which supporters have come to expect from the 4th January Celebrations.
There are no superlatives left to describe the phenomenon that is The Low Riders.
Year after year they have reinvented the wheel, so to speak, as they delve into the songbook and reinvigorate forgotten gems - often turning them into modern day anthems.
Their consistency, quality, and honesty, is unmatched, and as they only come out once a year it would hardly be a Vibe without them.
From an entire set of rare B-Sides, through a Power Trio Greatest hits, and even entire Albums such as Fighting track by track, you learn to expect the unexpected when the Low Riders are in town.
The Boys don't do special requests but if there is one track you always wanted to hear played live - now would have been a good-time to get a lobbying group together.
Back in the mists of time John Conlon brought Thin az Lizzy down from Dundalk to become the first Tribute Band proper to play the Vibe. Those with long memories, such as Myles "31 Vibes" Lally, will remember some blistering sets featuring Brian Robertson, John "Irish" Earl and Midge Ure.
Once more the boys dusted themselves down and took up the "Legacy Spot" on the 32nd Bill. We watched the years fall away as these boys kicked some ass on the Classic repertoire section of the show.
A 12 year old Jamie Orr and Age first came to out attention via the Late Late Toyshow. A memorable set at the 2015 Vibe followed with great things being predicted if they could avoid the inevitable split.
Of course, the artistic differences intervened and a number of name and line-up changes later, Jamie and his brothers Sean & Luke gave us an update on their efforts.
If Gary Moore had done tributes he might have sounded like these guys. Definitely one to have arrived early for.
The Vibe's first great Child Prodigy, a then 9 year old Conor McGouran's adrenaline fuelled take on Emerald is still an all time favourite from the early Vibes.
Sadly, he has been missing from the Vibe Stage since he started playing with the big boys like Xerath but were delighted to say he's back, and to be honest, we couldn't really celebrate the 32nd Vibe without him. He said this would be a bit dark and heavy.
Prog anyone? Load up on the dandruff!!! Yeahhhhhh!
Back in the mists of time, (long before they became an expensive box of chocolates made in Navan), Lir were one of the hottest grooves on the planet with a dress sense its probably better we forget about.
Arriving fully formed from planet Donaghmede, with the kind of chops that a well-seasoned group of session players would die for, they took Liffey Beat in directions it had never dreamt of, and heaving, sweaty, nights, rockin' the New Inn, are still vivid favourites among those of us with long memories.
In the dull, grey, landscape, of 1990s Dublin, Lir brought colour and excitement and along the way gave us "Inheritance" a multi-layered, tour de force, through the Lizzy Power Trio years vividly captured on the 10th Anniversary DVD.
It's far too long since we've had any Lir people at the Vibe so were delighted to announce that our old friend, Dave McGuinness, will be making an appearance at the 32nd show.
Diddy Levine anybody?
Bashful, Modest, Reserved, Self-deprecating, Unassuming, Humble, or even humility are all terms you most definitely wouldn't associate with Dublin's very own Hair-Metal, Sleaze-Rockers, Stone Trigger. However, for those unfamiliar with the foursome, their melodic, riff-driven, Rock-Anthems tick those boxes and justify the superlatives they have garnered from critics on three continents.
Fresh from a rather successful European Tour riding shotgun to LA GUNS, the Fab-Foursome have been rediscovering their roots (musical - not hair), while criss-crossing the Continent, with many of Philo's finest creations weaving their way into the encores of the lads set as they conquered all before them on the east and western ends of the euro-mainland.
With a new album "G.H.O.S.T." and a Bat out of Hell Award in hand, we've been keeping an eye, (and half an ear), on the lads for some time and this year we have finally managed to catch up with them and invite them to tread the Vibe Stage in 2018.
According to Lead Singer Tommy "It's All About The Entertainment, Not Just What you Hear, It's What You See Too. This Is A Show, Not A Shoe Staring Contest. This Is The Full Package, This Is Rock N Roll As It Should Be!"
Are you Ready to Rock Your Socks Off?
Legend is an understatement when it comes to Jimmy Coup.
A chance meeting at Philip's Grave several decades ago brought Jimmy to our attention, and well, the rest is history. Jimmy's take on the Ballads have been notable over the years, particularly "Borderline" which has become something of a signature tune for the amiable Michiganian.
Originator and driving force behind the annual Howth located Birthday Bash each August, its been far too long since Jimmy graced the Vibe Stage.
In 2018 Jimmy will be collaborating with the Low Riders for what should prove a memorable encounter.
There is currently no gallery for the 32nd 'Here I Go Again' Vibe, but images may be updated soon.