Yes, it’s Christmas and yes, it’s very nippy outside, but that did not deter people stepping out to make their way to the Limelight for what would be an incredibly special evening of music and entertainment which would rock them, roll them and ease them at the same time.
This night, organised through SD Entertainment, would be full of acoustic revelry and straight up banter with the legend that is John Corabi, ably supported by two thirds of Dea Matrona and one third of the Davy K Project.
Up first was Davy K himself from the Davy K project with his trusty guitar in hand. If you weren’t sure of what Davy would be able to deliver, you were very sure after the very first song “Funny how”. And that was that Davy K is a very able professional with a real skill on the guitar and a voice that captures you immediately.
He perfectly produced a soulful bluesy infused set that was stripped back to show off his raw talent. He delivered passionate acoustic blues rock with “Whiskey Road” and “The Storm”. Taking it down a notch he sang the exquisitely melancholic “Breathe” with a mournful vocal beauty. Davy ramped it back into the rocky blues with “Lockdown”, and ended his set with an incredible rendition of a cover of Rory Gallagher’s “Messin with the Kid”. Davy had set the bar high from the start, and deservedly so.
Next was Dea Matrona, with Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe mixing things up switching around instruments as they went along. These two ladies could certainly deliver an incredible set owning the stage with an elfin-like lightness.
Delivering the likes of The Beatles “All My Lovin” along with “Baby Don’t Leave” then into Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves”. Their energy and enthusiasm was infectious. This was a tight professional performance. When someone on stage makes it seem like it was so easy anyone could get up and do the same, you know you are in the presence of people who have worked very hard beforehand on polishing their musicianship. Because it really isn’t that easy.
They kept going with “Wilderness”, “Dreams”, “Siren Song”, “Dream, Dream” and “Hard On Yourself” with a well wound strength that kept them powering through. The harmonies were, to put it bluntly, phenomenal. All beautifully blended with the guitar and bass/tambourine.
They finished their set with a fantastic rendition of Johnny B Goode, which shouldn’t have worked, but was absolutely brilliantly executed. Dea Matrona is definitely a young band who are going places.
Then came the headliner himself, the one the only John Corabi. The list is as long as your arm of the bands he has been in and the projects he has taken part in Former lead singer of Motley Crue, The Dead Daisies, The Scream, and the list goes on.
Tonight whilst the number of songs he would play was not as many as one would expect the now packed Limelight was presented with a fantastic Audience with the man. Weaving throughout his time on stage he dropped in lots of songs along with a wonderful conversational experience as he produced entertaining anecdotes of his life in the rock world.
John immediately engaged with the audience with a comfortable light hearted introduction to how the evening would pan out and launched into “love I Don’t Need It Anyway”.
Getting a little emotional John then discussed how deeply not being able to say goodbye to those you know can have an effect, recounting the shooting of one of his producers and their wife he dedicated the next song to them, “If I Never Get To Say Goodbye”. It was a highly charged and deeply emotional performance that would have produced tears from a stone.
Talking once more in a relaxed chatty way he spoke of influences as he grew up which beautifully segued into a rendition of Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop The Rain”.
Discussing the impact Aerosmith had on his life and meeting the likes of Steve Tyler and Joe Perry whilst he was in recording with Motley Crue he painted a wonderful picture of him unexpectedly playing his guitar whilst Steve sang an impromptu jam session with him. This led into the next song “Seasons of Wither”.
The jokey chats and pure banter that kept coming from John had the crowd enthralled, hooked on every word he spoke as he proudly claimed he enjoyed a Jameson Irish Whiskey rather than the stereotypical Jack Daniels. On he went though with the songs such as “Father, Mother, Son”, “Dead and Gone”, With You And I”, “Misunderstood” “Something I said”.
All interspersed with chats to the crowd and a bit of backwards and forwards including tongue in cheek berating an overenthusiastic attendee with “I wouldn’t come to your house at Christmas and tell you what each one you’re getting is” as the gentleman in question kept shouting out the next song John was going to play. Each song was passionately received with full approval. You could look around and see the joy on each person’s face. This was pure entertainment from a very funny and highly talented musician.
Then came “Hooligan’s Holliday” with fully encouraged audience participation. Though he didn’t really need to encourage that much as everyone launched enthusiastically into singing along. He finished the set with “Drive” and “Man On The Moon” to a lot of disappointment from the crowd. The magic had come to a close, but the memories will remain for some time to come.
Overall, the evening felt very special indeed. Davy K and Dea Matrona were perfect support acts for the headline John Corabi. The whole event fitted seamlessly from one act to the next and each one on their own more than held their own on stage. John Corabi was witty, friendly, relaxed and notably on top of his game.
He was such an entertainer on the night and everyone felt they were witnessing a truly unique set piece as John was able to meander throughout with his stories, which were heart-warming, open and very relatable to the audience. This was a legend of a performer with an ego of the humblest man. And it made for a very intimate evening with the man, the music and autobiographical snippets of his life.
This was not a gig to be missed
Review by Ivor Whitten
Photography by Darren Mcveigh