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  • Martin Bullard

Derry and Monaghan

It makes a change to be playing here in Ireland during the summer, a period that has been traditionally reserved for festivals in Scandinavia and other parts of Western Europe. Also, both shows were indoors to capacity crowds, helping to restore confidence that people are really starting to go out in large numbers to enjoy entertainment post pandemic. Starting in Derry, I noticed the enormous changes in develpment alongside the water with new pathways, new restaurants and a general feelgood vibe to this historic walled city. This was helped by two days of unbroken sunshine. The city was enjoying a lot of outdoor entertainment during the platinum jubilee weekend, much of it free, while Smokie performed indoors at Millennium Forum, a venue where we are now well established. The crowd gave us a hearty, warm Derry welcome and it was such a pleasure to be back touring in this country where partying is second nature. That was just the warm up to two days of full on celebration. At Hillgrove in Monaghan the Da Vinci Lounge was full to bursting with 1,200 people, aided by video screens to relay the activity onstage to all corners of the room. The heat was intense and the show left the band and crowd dripping wet after one of the best crowd reactions of all time here in Ireland. It took longer than usual for the band and audience to shake off the euphoria of the evening and conversations and compliments continued into the small hours in the packed bar. Returning home now for three days, it’s hard not to replay all those wonderful moments we have experienced over the last two days. Luckily for us we can resume the celebration in Germany on Saturday, this time with a bit more air circulation.

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