ONE of the greatest misconceptions the world ever experienced is that Dexys is a one-trick pony.
The infamy that came from “that song” has led to a generation thinking that the raggle-taggle, dungaree-donning 1982 vintage of the Midnight Runners is all they ever were.
However, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, or simply Dexys as they are now known, have forever been one of the most inspired and inspiring acts on the planet. They are purveyors of soul, in its purest and most emotional sense.
This fundamental truth was borne out last week on the stage of the Olympia when Kevin Rowland and his troubadours returned to Ireland for their first headlining show since 2003.
That night ten years ago in Vicar Street marked a hugely welcome return to the stage for Rowland after far too long off the radar, and led, eventually, to the release of last year’s One Day I’m Going To Soar, Dexys first record since 1985’s classic Don’t Stand Me Down, which we named as one of the three best albums of 2012.
It is last year’s album the show is based around, and all of the drama and theatricality of the record plays out live, with a stunningly faithful recreation, played in its entirety and in sequence.
The core band — vocalists Rowland and Pete Williams, together with Dexys legend “Big Jimmy” Paterson — along with Lucy Morgan on violin, Tim Cansfield, Sean Read, Dave Ruffy, Andy Hobson and Mike Timothy nail every nuance of One Day… throughout Act 1 of a memorable night.
It is a theatrical event like no other rock show, a drama that sees vocalist Madeleine Hyland cast as Kevin’s romantic muse, and Rowland doing what he has throughout his career in music, asking questions of himself and challenging the band and audience to come along.
It’s a challenge well worth accepting, as Dexys deliver an deeply emotional blend of vocals, brass and keys reminiscent of the Northern Soul greats who influenced the band since their inception, with the Celtic presence of Morgan’s violin adding another level to the uniqueness of the sound.
If One Day… was a masterpiece on record, it is a Van Gogh live.
The standing ovation that heralded the end of the One Day… section was utterly deserved, and the ovations kept on coming as the band delved into their back catalogue, opening with The Waltz from Don’t Stand Me Down.
The eternal Officer And A Gentleman skit bookended Until I Believe In My Soul and Tell Me When My Light Turns Green, and the band again shone while performing a latin-tinged version of Geno, a meltingly beautiful and faithful version of Old, before closing on an epic rendition of This Is What She’s Like, which saw Kevin take to the Olympia’s box seats to help the audience acclaim the players as he introduced the band.
All this and no Come On Eileen, despite the baying of the balcony.
Long may they run.