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December 30, 2016

Crowd Finds “No Need to Argue” at Cranberries Show

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(Courtesy myspace.com)

Rocking music, a raucous crowd and drunken fans being arrested in the middle of the venue means just another night at an Irish band’s concert. Fans experienced all this and more at The Orpheum Friday night when The Cranberries took the stage during the second show of their 20th year anniversary tour. Hailing from Limerick, Ireland, the band sprinkled their set with many crowd-pleasing songs as well as some new hits.

Before they could take their turn on the stage, newcomer Griffin House walked out alone, accompanied by nothing but his acoustic guitar. His performance was nothing to brag about.

Made up of men and women of varying age and denomination, the audience chattered throughout the entire gig. The pitch only rose slightly when House, in an effort to make up for the lack of a beat or bass line, strummed his guitar aggressively and screeched his way through a song about the similarities between the Iraqi War and World War II. His voice paid a greater price for his screeching, and broke intermittently throughout the remainder of his set.

Some of the songs weren’t bad, but would have been much better if accompanied by a band. One of Griffin House’s better tunes, “If You Want To,” was even reminiscent of U2’s cover of “Everlasting Love.” However, during this song, an anonymous woman muttered to the woman next to her, “No one is paying attention to him at all.” A quick scan of the audience confirmed the woman’s remarks, as a few rows over a group of teens could be seen taking pictures of themselves rather than of the musician onstage. After a failed attempt at a chorus sing-a-long, House left the stage, scattered applause from the audience trailing in his shamed wake.

During intermission, the crowd easily doubled in size. Audience members attempted to stretch their legs, because the tiny seats of the theater – which clearly attempted to look like The Wang, but came off as a 1930s movie theater – certainly didn’t give enough room to move. It was then that a 50-something year old man dressed in Irish garb, who had been knocking back beers and pumping his fist like a frat boy, was escorted out by the police. After arguing with them for a bit, he was led out by two officers who clearly found the experience amusing.

When Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, pranced out on the stage, she began to dance and didn’t stop much during the set. She had great presence with the crowd, referring to Boston, a city known for its Irish ties, as their “Home away from home.” There was a huge crowd response when she gave a shout out to the Bruins, as well as when she threw multiple picks into the audience.

O’Riordan is simply a great performer. Concert goer Jason Hayes said, “I think she has a uniqueness to her that’s quite appealing. You don’t necessarily have to like the music, but you’ll like the performance.” Those ready to write off her solo venture found that the songs sounded very similar to the songs featured at the concert, most of which were from their first or second albums, “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We” and “No Need To Argue.”

The crowd roared over the music generated from the band when certain songs, most notably “Just My Imagination” and “Daffodil Lament,” began to play. New tunes “Switch Off The Light” and “The Journey” were equally well received. O’Riordan’s lilting, ethereal-like voice carried the band into what is arguably their best known song, “Linger,” setting the crowd into an almost trance-like state. O’Riordan was taken aback by the crowd’s reaction, shaking her head but letting the audience sing many parts.

However, the best performance of the night was “Zombie,” about the Troubles of Northern Ireland, which lasted throughout 1960s and concluded in 1998 with the Belfast Agreement. The version, as compared with other live renditions, including the one from their MTV “Unplugged” special, was astounding. Everyone was up on their feet, waving their hands in unison, yelling and singing.

Hayes laughed before their last song “Dreams,” saying that, “That last song was so good – it made the night for me.” Excited by the energy generated by the crowd, Dolores O’Riordan shouted out to the throng, “You guys are kicking a bit of ass tonight!” Anyone in the audience could have easily said the same thing about The Cranberries.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at kaitlynm@student.umass.edu.

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