2005 – May to December

Teenage Fanclub released their first album in nearly five years with the release of Man Made.  They brought the tour to Belfast and played in the iconic Mandela Hall at Queen’s University. Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub are fantastic live and are one of my favourite bands.  They never disappoint live.  I always make a point of going to see them any time they come to Belfast.

The next gig was a trip down to Dublin to see Weezer.  A band that I fell in love with in 1994 this was their first visit to Ireland.  I was getting to see them for the first time and was so excited.

WeezerWeezer were on tour promoting their new album, Make Believe and the gig at Dublin’s Vicar Street sold out very quickly.  I was very lucky to get tickets for both myself and Gillian and we made the trip down to Dublin for what was a very memorable gig.

They played a lot of new material that night but we were treated to some classics from the Blue Album and Pinkerton.  Vicar Street was the best venue to see them.  They would make a quick return visit to Dublin a couple of months later playing the much bigger Point Theatre.  Sadly I didn’t make the return visit as we had just got engaged the previous month and focus would turn to wedding planning following our engagement the previous month.

Funeral For a Friend played Mandela Hall on 23 June and had just released their second album, Hours.  This was the first time I got to see them.  Funeral for a Friend

They were one of the first bands that I started experimented downloading music to and then burning onto CD.  That sounds very old school in the Napster era but what I did was that the download was the key to whether I would like the group and would lead me to buy the physical copy.  I am very old school and still bought CDs when everyone was really getting into downloading via Napster, etc.

Next day it was time for the biggest gig of the year.  U2 were coming to Dublin!  I went down to Virgin Megastore (sadly no longer in Belfast) for the midnight opening ahead of the release of How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

Soon enough the tour was announced as the Vertigo tour and the band would be playing three nights at Croke Park.  While this wasn’t my first visit to Croke Park.  I had previously been down for All-Ireland finals with my dad.  This time it was going to be a major first to see a gig there.  I was too young at the time when they played there in 1985 during The Unforgettable Fire tour and same again in 1987 during The Joshua Tree tour.


Both myself and my work colleague Niki joined the fan club to ensure we got tickets.  Think you were entitled to at least four tickets.  Niki bought two standing tickets for himself and his wife and I bought three sitting tickets for myself, Gillian and my friend  Owen.  Wasn’t ideal but Gillian wouldn’t have been able to stand for this one so sitting was the best option.

But circumstances then changed when Niki’s wife was expecting.  So we swopped tickets.  I took the standing ticket and Eleanor took the sitting ticket and joined Gillian and Owen up in the stands.

Support on the day came from Dublin band, The Radiators and Snow Patrol.  This was Snow Patrol post Final Straw and they were in the process of making their new album.  We got the live debut of Chasing Cars that day which would then become the song we picked for first dance when we got married.

U2 were in top form and it was a brilliant show.  This was my third time seeing them and second in Dublin.  Previously saw them at the RDS in 1993 and Botantic Gardens in 1997.

In August, the Tennent’s Vital festival as getting bigger and we got Kings of Leon coming to Belfast for the first time.  Kings of Leon also played Dublin as well but they got Pixies for support.  We got Faithless for support in Belfast.  To say I was disappointed was an understatement.Kings of Leon

However, I was at this gig with friends so seeing that they were playing Belfast there was no way anybody was going to make the trip to Dublin.  So Belfast it was then.  Kings of Leon were definitely getting bigger.  Only a few years earlier I got to see them play the tiny tent at Witnness.

The Prodigy came back to Belfast in the autumn and played at the Odyssey Arena for the first time.  The last time I saw them was at the  Kings Hall and that gig was a real eye opener for me which introduced me to the band proper.Prodigy

This was part of a greatest hits tour called Their Law.  They didn’t disappoint and I really enjoyed it.  Was definitely a step up from the Kings Hall gig in the 90s and the Odyssey was definitely a great venue for them.

I cannot remember who was the support act for that evening.

The next gig is definitely one of the strangest I have ever been too.  Since starting this blog, it has really been wrecking my brain as I cannot find any information on this next band anywhere.

Anyway, this gig was definitely Gillian’s choice but I remember why it was because her friend Laura had just recorded an album and was doing a support slot at the Empire in Belfast.  She was supporting a band called Gimik.Gimik

I don’t have much recollection of the gig apart from enjoying Laura’s short solo set but the band Gimik I don’t remember too much so I started to search online.  There was a band with the same name in the 70s from Ireland, so it definitely wasn’t this band.  Further searching on the internet finally led me to the band and they were a local band who were much akin to the pop punk of Busted and McFly.  Probably explains why I couldn’t remember them too much!

Final gig of the year was Foo Fighters who came to Dublin’s Point Theatre just before Christmas.  This was my second Foo Fighters gig of the year as I got to see them over the summer at the Oxegen festival which I will cover in a separate blog.Foo Fighters

They were on tour for their  fifth studio album, In Your Honor which was a double album featuring a disc of the band’s regular rock sound and another with acoustic rock tracks.

Foo Fighters never disappoint live but this was definitely the last indoor show that I saw the band play.  Every other gig I got to see them since would all be outdoor as they kept getting bigger and bigger.




2002 – June to December

The second part of the blog takes in the second half of the year.  2002 shaped up to be a pretty busy year for gigs, so to make it a bit easier to read I decided to split 2002 three ways and keep the festivals on a separate page (4 festivals to cover this time!).

Ok, first up is the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I must admit that I am not their biggest fan but have seen them twice now.  The second gig will be covered at a later date.  Anyway, I was more into Faith No More than the Chili Peppers.  Missed a chance to see them in 1993 at Sunstroke.  That was the year they pulled out and Faith No More replaced them and missed them again the following year 1994 at same festival which I am told was one of their best gigs.

Red Hot Chilli PeppersLansdowne Road was the venue for their Dublin show for the 2002 tour.  Kenny and myself went down for this and we ended up in the south terrace which was probably behind where the rugby goal posts were.

Support came from New Order which I was excited to see.  Sadly they didn’t live up to my expectations and they were pretty awful.

The same can also be said for the Chili Peppers.  They were truly awful on the day.  Definitely the most phoned in performance I had seen.  1/10 for effort guys!  Sadly I would give them another chance but we will find out how they fared at later date.

Witnness 2002 is covered in the festivals section but one of the bands from that weekend ventured north a few days later to the Limelight.Rival Schools

Rival Schools were considered godfathers of the emerging emo scene that was coming through.  I caught their set at Witnness and they were a brilliant band to watch.

The gig in Limelight was great too.  They are a band I would love to see again.


The first Tennent’s Vital took place in September at Botanic Gardens.  Again I will cover this one as part of the festivals blog.

October was a pretty busy month for gigs.  First up was Queens of the Stone Age at the Ambassador Theatre.  Queens of the Stone Age

This was the first time I had seen the band on Irish soil after getting to see them at the Reading festival in 2000.  I think they were due to play Belfast in 2001 at the Limelight but pulled out.  No idea what the reason was.

A band at the peak of their powers, Songs for the Deaf was one of my favourite albums that year.  With guest vocals from Mark Lanegan and Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters taking a time out to drum on this album, you can guess that I am really looking forward to this gig.  To say you had seen Dave Grohl drum in two different bands would have been great.

Standing tickets were pretty hard to get so I settled for a sitting ticket.  A rarity but I done it before.

A fantastic gig, I was dripping in sweat and that was being in a seat.  I think pretty much anybody around me were headbanging like mad!  Sadly Dave wasn’t on board the tour for this one as he got the Foo Fighters back together and was going on the road with them.  Mark Lanegan would come on stage at several points when he was called upon for vocal duties.

Hundred Reasons returned to Belfast following their sell out show at the Limelight back in May.  This time they played at Mandela Hall with support coming from the remaining members from At The Drive In, who went on to form Sparta.

JJ72 made a return visit also to Belfast as part of the Queens Festival that autumn.  They were promoting their second album at the Limelight.

The last three gigs of the year all involved a trip down to Dublin.

Dave Grohl did come to Dublin this time but brought his own band with him!  This was the first Foo Fighters gig at the Point Theatre.  Foo FightersThey had just released One By One and this was the biggest venue at the time I had seen the band play.

A few days later I would be back in Dublin again to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  A band becoming a firm favourite for me I first them at the Ambassador Theatre on the NME Brat Tour the year before. BRMC

Again another highlight from Witnness 2002 which I will go into a bit more detail in festivals.

They played at the Olympia Theatre which is one of my favourite Dublin venues and were awesome.

Manic Street Preachers brought their Forever Delayed tour to Dublin in December with support from Ian Brown. Manic Street Preachers

Last time I saw Ian Brown was the Big Day Out in Galway in 1998.  Still wasn’t any better this time round.

A tour with a difference as this was basically a Manic Street Preachers greatest hits setlist.  Kind of ticked all the boxes and played all the songs you wanted to hear with no encore.  Result!










Megadeth made a return visit to Belfast on 09/03/95 to the Ulster Hall with support from Kerbdog. 

It was great to see another Irish band supporting. Two different musical styles.  I wouldn’t have seen Kerbdog as trash metal  but they fitted in with alternative rock at the time.

For me, this next one R.E.M. at Slane Castle on 22/07/95 is still one of my all time favourite outside shows.  I was late to the R.E.M. party but it was the release of Monster which this tour was promoting finally got me into them. 

Backed by local Irish artists Luka Bloom and Sharon Shannon, alongside American acts Spearhead and Belly with rising Britpop band Oasis. The almost downside to this was the audience anticipation of Oasis who were almost treated as headliners instead of support guests. There was nearly a big crush at the front and someone threw a plastic bottle on stage that nearly hit Liam Gallagher who almost walked off.

R.E.M. in contrast were sublime and delivered a performance to remember.  This gig is always in my all time top 10 and it has never been beaten. 

Another trip down south on 23/08/95 was made for Sunstroke 95. In my opinion quite possibly one of most badly organised gigs I have ever been to.

Headlined by Soundgarden, this gig clashed with the Smashing Pumpkins two night stand at the Olympia (both nights were impossible to get tickets for which resulted in opting for Sunstroke instead).  Support came from Mudhoney, White Zombie, Tad, Sponge and Pennywise.  Split over two stages in what could only be best described as a gig in an aircraft hanger the sound was awful. Why this couldn’t have been in the main outdoor arena remains a mystery.

Aimee Mann came to Belfast on 16/11/95 for a very intimate gig at Church House.  This was an all seated gig and it was very enjoyable.  Some seated gigs do work well.

Following Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994, Dave Grohl went back to music and created new songs for what would become the Foo Fighters. They done a European tour in November. Me and my mate Paul drove down to see them at the SFX Centre in Dublin.

This was the last night of the tour and it was well worth the trip down to see them. I still wear my vintage Foo Fighters 1995 t shirt at every Foo Fighters gig that I go to now. I really do remember the first time!

Last gig of the year went to Therapy? at the Ulster Hall.  Just slightly after Christmas but still felt like a Christmas gig.

This was one of my all time favourite Therapy? shows. Touring the really difficult Infernal Love album they played an absolute blinder with support from Portadown’s Joyrider and Downpatrick’s Ash this gig highlighted the best of local talent at the time. Joyrider sadly didn’t enjoy the success that both Therapy? and Ash would go on to acheive. This gig was my first introduction to Ash and I fell in love with the band immediately. Never forget the band playing Girl From Mars with a massive cardboard cut out of Princess Leia on stage. When the song ended she was chucked into the crowd which got ripped to bits! This gig was also the last of the original Therapy? line up as drummer Fyfe Ewing left the band after this gig.