A very dif­fer­ent kind of Satur­day night

Bray People - - COMMENT -

WHEN I told the good woman I was go­ing to a Fos­ter and Allen con­cert the other night, she thought I was hav­ing her on. ‘Where are you go­ing and who are you re­ally meet­ing?' she asked, and I told her it was in­deed the truth.

‘As it's Mother's Day to­mor­row, I have ar­ranged a spe­cial treat for the woman that has long nav­i­gated me through this world's stormy wa­ters,' I ex­plained.

She was still look­ing at me with sus­pi­cion while I scooted off down the road, whistling ‘Mag­gie' as I went.

As I blended into the crowd of dis­ci­ples stream­ing their ways to­wards the venue, it be­came ob­vi­ous that I was go­ing to be one of the younger au­di­ence mem­bers on the night, though Mick Fos­ter did read out a re­quest for an 11-year-old boy whose birth­day present had been a ticket to see the leg­endary Ir­ish bal­ladeers; Plays­ta­tions are so 2013.

Be­fore the show, I was loi­ter­ing about in the ho­tel lobby and some­one asked me if the songs of Fos­ter and Allen would be my cup of tea. I replied that once a song is good I don't re­ally mind who per­forms it. Be­sides, in the late 1990s be­ing able to belt out a few Fos­ter and Allen songs in the pubs around mid-Wales meant a col­lege lad would never go hun­gry. Or thirsty.

My jaw dropped when I en­tered the con­cert hall – there were more ex­cit­edly per­spir­ing bod­ies than you will find in Paddy Power's five min­utes be­fore the off of the Ain­tree Grand Na­tional. In ex­cess of five hun­dred fans were sand­wiched into the room and some looked like they had camped out since lunchtime the pre­vi­ous day to en­sure they got a seat up front; this was a pair of Garth Brooks’s for an older gen­er­a­tion.

I scanned a room for a place to sit and was on the re­ceiv­ing end of some steely eye­balling – no one does eye­balling like the over 60s and I was happy enough to take one of the few seats that were left down the back.

What un­folded through­out the night was truly unique. For the next two and a half hours over five hun­dred fans sang their hearts out in uni­son with their idols. Fos­ter is a nat­u­ral co­me­dian which meant the gags were flow­ing be­tween and dur­ing songs. He re­ally had his au­di­ence eat­ing out of his hand, and of­ten in stitches. The feel-good fac­tor was soar­ing.

I touched base with the good woman via the mo­bile phone. She still couldn't be­lieve I had left her at home, alone, with Brendan O'Con­nor and Nell McCaf­ferty mak­ing eyes at each other while I waved my hands in the air with rows of people twice my age and swayed along to such fa­mous cho­ruses as Bunch of Thyme and Old Flames. While a night at Fos­ter and Allen is far re­moved from the arena-fill­ing rock acts people my age would usu­ally flock to see, I can tes­tify that the two West­meath men put on a very en­ter­tain­ing show, and are an ideal way to treat the ones that helped keep you on the straight and nar­row – pro­vided they are into Coun­try & Ir­ish that is.

Next week, I'm off to see Me­gadeth.

Fos­ter and Allen put on a very en­ter­tain­ing show.

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