Bringing the tent down on a night of big hit after hit

Happy Sundays in the Big Top for Féile music fans

Bez takes a break backstage as the Happy Mondays pump it out in the Big Top Bez takes a break backstage as the Happy Mondays pump it out in the Big Top
By Francesca Ryan

The Happy Mondays and The Charlatans played to a capacity Big Top tent on Sunday night at Féile.

There was a real festival atmosphere in the Falls Park as hundreds mingled outside the tent before the main event, eagerly anticipating the night ahead.

If the truth be told I came late to the Happy Mondays party, not Sunday’s party, but the actual Happy Mondays fanclub party.  When the band hit the big time in the late 1980s, I had recently declared myself a pre-teenage punk and I was loathe to give up The Clash and The Sex Pistols for anybody. Anyway, while I was aware of them, I was never a Happy Mondays fan and never had any of their albums. The problem for me was my sisters liked them and did have their music and, as older sisters, they controlled the music output in our house so I did become a reluctant fan – but I kept it under my makeshift mohican.

It’s entirely possible that everyone I have ever known was at Sunday’s concert.  The big tent was full of eager thirty/fortysomethings keen to see the Happy Mondays and the equally excellent The Charlatans. Everyone was… happy, adding to the carnival atmosphere in the massive circus tent.

The Charlatans may as well have been the main event as the tent was jammed as the excited crowd waited to be transported back to the early 1990s. Singing a string of hits, including the ever-popular The Only One I Know, from their substantial catalogue, the band really got the party going.

The Happy Mondays then took over with a satisfying setlist that kept the crowd dancing and maintained the contagious upbeat atmosphere.

Special credit to Bez who, despite his years, carried on exactly as the fans wanted and also to the sassy Rowetta whose voice has not wavered with the passing of time, in fact, she was immense.

While the bands did themselves justice and clearly enjoyed the night, the entire set up in the tent deserves a mention.  The sound was perfect, the bar and toilets were easily accessible, it was a concert but there was still space to dance.

All in all a very happy Sunday all round.

The Charlatans have a song called Can’t Get Out Of Bed. How appropriate for my Monday morning and for hundreds of others.

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