The Cranberries made a triumphant return to Belfast on Wednesday night (17th May), for their first gig in the city in fourteen years. Playing to a sold out Waterfront Hall, the Limerick band led by singer Dolores O'Riordan said that they were glad to be "back on home turf".
With a show that featured all the hits from their celebrated back catalogue in the stripped back, string quartet-augmented style of latest album 'Something Else', the band also treated fans to a brace of new tracks from their 2017 release.
Arriving onstage to the energetic 'Analyse', the Limerick-based band were greeted to a standing ovation, as Dolores O’Riordan cried; “Hello Belfast”. Reminiscing about their recent European tour, the vocalist said; “We’ve just flown in from Paris", before delighting the Belfast crowd by adding; "It’s great to be back on our home turf.”
It was a sentiment that was reciprocated, as the enthralled Belfast audience responded with rapturous applause and an encompassing sense of welcome - an atmosphere that was to persist throughout the show. Introducing the next track, the singer continued with a smile; “I know you know the next one. Feel free to sing along” , as the defining song from their debut album, the joyous 'Linger' kicked in.
Clearly enchanted by her relaxed presence, the audience hung on Dolores' every movement, creating an intimacy more familiar with smaller venues. Scarcely able to conceal her happiness at being back meanwhile, O’Riordan said;“I always love when I fly in and see all the green; you know you’re home” before delivering a truly haunting rendition of 'No Need To Argue' era single 'Ode To My Family'.
Maintaining the ambience, and giving the singer a well-earned short break, guitarist Noel Hogan then led an instrumental with string accompaniment, as the front woman briefly left the stage.
Returning for an electric performance of 'Salvation' which charged the audience into a congregation of song and dance, it was the iconic 'Zombie', which followed soon thereafter, that predictably brought the crowd fully to life. With one overawed fan invading the stage for the finale, rather than being slung out, she was warmly embraced, which only added to the at home feeling of the night.
Dipping the energy levels, a more chilled out encore followed which included both 'Rupture' and 'The Glory' from this years' 'Something Else', before O’Riordan and band signed off for the evening.
A night of genuine two-way affection, Belfast offered The Cranberries a fitting warm welcome home, and a reminder of why they shouldn't leave it so long, next time.
The Cranberries 'Something Else' tour continues on Thursday night (18th May) when the band play Dublin's Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. The band then make their way across the UK before moving onto the continent and the USA throughout the summer. The full list of UK and Ireland dates can be viewed below.
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The Cranberries 2017 UK & Ireland Dates:
18 May - Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin.
20 May - Palladium, London
22 May - Colston Hall, Bristol
24 May - Sage, Gateshead
25 May - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
27 May - York Barbican, York
28 May 2017 - The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester