Henry Rollins was pumping it up at the side of the 03 Arena stage as Scott Gorham called out his name. A riff kicked in and Henry exploded into our lives. Are you Ready? F**k Yeah! Henry sure was.
In 1991 at the Olympia Theatre, Robbo joined Brian and Eric for what would be a unique take on the twin guitars. It would also be the first time we used a live feed of the show on giant screens as a backdrop. Some said we were being innovative. The truth was that the set of a play that was running at the theatre was still on stage and we were anxious to cover it up. This was also Philomena's Vibe-stage debut and the first of those much loved "Queen's Speeches". It was also the first time we used the title "A Vibe for Philo".
"The Rocker" at Fibber Magee's in 1994 was a highlight for many reasons not least of which was the fact that being an Hotel it provided a backstage area which seemed larger than the venue - all linked by close circuit TV. But the real milestone of that show was that we finally broke the resistance of Ireland's Radio Stations, convincing them that Lizzy and Philo were still relevant. The sun shone, despite the time of year, and it seemed that every shop, hairdressers, bar, and jukebox was "blastin' out our favourite songs" onto the streets. Dublin wasn't so much "Alive, Alive, O!" as "Alive, Alive, Philo!!!"
1990, "Remembering" at The New Inn, Whipping Boy were about to take the stage as their A & R man arrived. They had just signed a major deal and had something special for the 4th Vibe. I told the A & R man that he was in for a treat. He looked dubious and non-committed. They kicked into "When we were Young" their absorbing take on "Shades of a Blue Orphanage". The A & R man smiled at me. It became their next single.
Could you imagine that a classical guitarist would bring the house down as Pat Coldrick did with "Sarah" in 2014? What about John Cummins incisive rap-poetry which resonated Bill Graham's prediction that Philo was one of the few rockers who was positioned to crossover into the future musical genres of the 21st Century before his sad demise. Remember the soaring sax of John "Irish" Earl with Thin az Lizzy - even the version with featured guest Midge Ure? What about Glen Hansard forgetting the lyrics to Jailbreak and brilliantly improvising at Vibe 25? The adrenaline charged Punkish/Folk "Do anything you Wanna Do" from Damien Dempsey in 1995 which inspired his ultimate tribute to Philo with "Dublin Town" five years later? All those bands you missed first time around, like The Soul Band, The Three Musketeers , Grandslam, and even Orphanage , being dusted down and presented one more time. Almost anything by the Low Riders rates highly but we will be eternally grateful for them resurrecting "New Day" and turning it into the anthem it always threatened to be. Then there was an awesome six year old giving it socks with "Killer on the Loose" at the Mean Fiddler in 1999 which would inspire the future Young Rockers Matinees. Thirteen years later having succumbed to Cystic Fibrosis he passed on but is forever immortalised by his performance that night.
33 years obviously recalls highlights that are too numerous to mention. But as we head into Vibe 34 we are mindful of all those we have lost on the journey. John Earl's sax will sing no more. Frank Murray , Liam Quigley , and so many of Philo's old gang from his schooldays have passed on to legend. More recently the losses have increased, most notably Denis Keeley , and now Philomena some weeks ago. But as they say, the show goes on.
The 34th Vibe, as ever, takes place on the 4th January 2020. There will be a Pre-Vibe at the same venue on the 3rd January.
Check out other samples of Conall McCabe's excellent artwork here!
There is currently no gallery for the 34th 'For Those Who Love to Live, but images may be updated soon.