Worth the wait? There could hardly have been a more apt band to rid the returning Live at the Marquee fans of their Coronavirus Blues than The Coronas.
“We are so unbelievably proud to be the first act to reopen the Marquee,” said Danny, his vocal arguably better live than in studio, visibly moved by the warmth of the reception.
“We want to thank you so much for hanging onto your tickets.”
Not a seat to spare. The tent was crammed to the flysheet — confetti, smoke machines, lights and a perfectly balanced sound.
The Coronas are the first band to play the Marquee since Hall & Oates in July 2019. Back with a vengeance, they were every bit as much up for this as was their audience.
Only Christy Moore has played more Live at the Marquee shows than these lads.
And you can see why they are such a favourite of promoter Peter Aiken, who, let’s face it, had a pretty good day himself, selling over 100,000 tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s 2023 concerts as well as announcing a second Justin Bieber show.
The strength of The Coronas, to paraphrase the line attributed to Jack Nicholson once backstage at The Eagles, is the depth of their repertoire.
This is the first big airing for their 2020 album, True Love Waits.
Along with that title track, they cherrypicked their way through a monster back catalogue.
Their classic hits sound as fresh as ever: Give Me A Minute, Addicted To Progress, Closer To You, Dreaming Again, Mark My Words, Someone Else’s Arms.
A selection of their devoted fans were already treated to the band’s build-up energy when they effectively played a rehearsal gig earlier in the week at Cyprus Avenue.
This Marquee night had very much the feel of a homecoming gig, for none more so than charismatic singer Danny O’Reilly, who’d be familiar with this corner of Cork, given that his life credits include winning an All-Ireland minor football medal with Dublin.
The Coronas have weathered Covid well, despite the departure of long-term guitarist Dave McPhillips in 2019.
Still, the closeness of old friends remains, thanks to the familiar faces of Graham Knox on bass and Conor Egan on drums.
The band also includes Sorcha Durham, best known as keyboardist with the now-defunct Dingle band Walking On Cars.
A word also on the night’s main warm-up act, Two Tides.
Big tunes, magic vocals, this local Cork band seemed very much at home in front of this big crowd; no doubt we’ll be hearing more from them in the very near future.
“Pease welcome back onstage Cian MacSweeney from Two Tides, ” said Danny.
A huge roar of approval went up.
“We’d like to do We Can Write Our Own Soundtrack for you, one we worked on together.”
Marquee nights are back with a bang. And so it begins again. Roll on The 2 Johnnies on Saturday night. Virus! What virus?