On the back of the success of Adrian’s solo tribute( see One man) he started getting call’s for a live stage show. As with Adrian’s solo act he was cautious not to do anything half hearted and as a result of over a year’s preparation he now is happy to launch his 6 piece Fully live Garth Brooks tribute.
The show will feature all the hits and boost’s a line up of some of Ireland’s top musicians. The show will also feature state of the art Fohhn line array sound and professional lighting.
So if it’s the REAL DEAL your after why not talk to us about our live Garth Brooks Tribute Band.
Trying to be yourself in the music business is just about the hardest thing in the world to do. Except for maybe trying to be the biggest country artist in the world! If anything could be tougher than trying to be yourself, well, then that’s probably it. Music is an industry where, unfortunately, ‘originality’ can sometimes come down to little more than the asking of, ‘Well, what worked last time?’ Or worse still, ‘What’s working for everybody else?’ As much as that is sadly true, of course, there are always (thankfully!) the exceptions that prove every rule. So, as difficult as it may be to just be yourself when nobody, or very few, know you and have little or nothing by way of reference points by which to judge your ability, imagine how tough it must be if you’re stepping out on stage every night and trying to take on the persona of one of the biggest names in music. Like, ever! That, ladies and gentlemen, takes nerves of steel. And maybe something else of steel, too! And I don’t just mean some steel guitar!!
In a case like that where fans have followed the famous artist whom you’re assuming the role of for most of their lives and where practically every line of every song he’s ever recorded is tattooed upon their hearts, the reference points by which your talent as an entertainer can be rated are all too many! So, as easy as it might sound to some, it’s not exactly the life of Reilly, is it? Well, actually, it is. The life of Adrian O’Reilly, to be exact! For by night that very same Adrian answers to the name of Garth. Yep, THAT Garth! And Adrian is bringing, and indeed launching, his ‘The Thunder Rolls Tour – The Irish Garth Brooks Experience’, in the Tullamore Court Hotel on April 25th. I caught up with Adrian for a chat about the tour last week and I began by asking what people can expect when they show up on the night?
“Well I don’t expect that I’ll be doing the mid-nineties running around the stage like mad that Garth used to do in his prime! Haha. But yeah, we’ll be in character, definitely, Anthony, the cool country shirts, the cowboy hats, the band will be kitted out in all the gear! We’ll be going as close as we can to a Garth exhibition, but I’ll never claim that I’m doing a version of what he used to do on stage, because obviously he’s the ultimate showman. But yeah, don’t anybody worry, we’ll be having a lot of fun with it! What we do is a tribute to the music, to the songs of Garth Brooks, that’s what people can expect and hopefully people will be entertained by it, too.”
This won’t be Adrian’s first rodeo as Garth, so to speak, because he also performs a one-man version of his Garth tribute.
“Well there’s a massive difference between the two shows. Obviously the solo show is a one-man version done to backing tracks, so it’s pretty much me standing between a set of speakers singing the songs. This show, the one we’re doing in the Court in a couple of weeks time, is a different animal altogether! Having said that, though, Anthony, this new show happened on the back of the success of the solo show. A promoter in Dublin who books me for most of Dublin, as it happens, suggested that we should look at putting a full-band version of it together for the year that’s in it. But there’s no real comparison between the two except for the songs, ya know. For this show, we have a 6-piece band, 7 if you include myself, and everything is ‘live’. It’s a completely ‘live’, big band, big sound, big lights show!”
“Massive, Anthony. Massive. But I over did it! To the stage where for a while I couldn’t listen to him at all! And the funny thing about it is, like a lot of Garth fans, I’m a rock/pop fan at heart. In my cd collection Garth is there in between Guns ‘n’ Roses and Genesis! I just love the story-telling side of his songs. I was in a little family band back in the early 90’s as a young fresh-faced kid, me and a cousin and our two fathers, and we noticed that from just doing one or two Garth songs we were soon doing six or eight of them! So this tribute, in some ways, nearly happened 25 years ago. But we hadn’t the capability musically and sure we all remember the times were hard back then too in other ways as well, it would have cost big money to put a show like that on then. So that didn’t happen. Then I stopped playing music for a while. I even stopped listening to Garth Brooks for a while. But in the late 90’s I got back into music and then one day Dermot Brophy rang me out of the blue about doing this tribute idea. I said to him, well, I haven’t listened to him in ages but I’m sure I’ll remember the songs, and believe it or not, Anthony, once we were putting all the tracks together I didn’t even have to learn the words. I still knew them all. Just bang, straight out. That’s how much I used to listen to him years ago, ya know. And now I’m listening to him all the time again, and it’s just all timeless music.”
“Well, as I said, I actually stopped playing music altogether for a while. And I had a good career going for almost 20 years, so music really took a back seat. I was just doing gigs at the weekend, ya know. My career was coming first, then the recession hit. The company I was working for got into trouble, I got redundancy. So after a couple of months of playing a lot of golf and hearing a lot of bands I said to myself, here, hold on! What are ya gonna do here?! So I started gigging 2 nights a week, then 3, then 4, all covers stuff. So that was that. Then this opportunity arose. And I said to myself, well, there’s no sign of any other work, a lot of what I was hearing at the time, the same as so many others, was that I was over-qualified, I was under-qualified, wasn’t in the right area they were looking for, and at 42 years of age that I was too old! So I said I’d put my heart into this, and I’m not just saying this for the sake of saying it to ya, Anthony, but if I’m totally honest, then I’m sorry I didn’t do it 20 years ago. This is a different life altogether. I mean, getting out at half seven every morning and going to work for somebody else and all your efforts making somebody else rich! I’m not gonna do that again.”
“Well this might sound a little soppy, but I like the story ones, so I do. I love ‘Ain’t Going Down ‘Till The Sun Comes Up’, and I love ‘Standing Outside The Fire’, I love performing those songs. But If I’m honest, I love closing my eyes, just me and the guitar and singing ‘Lonesome Dove’ or ‘The River’, or the more maybe obscure Garth songs, the real storytelling ones. Cos’ he’s the Bob Dylan of country, ya know. He’s a storyteller. And even a lot of his fast ones have a story to tell. But because of the pace of the song, that story might go over some peoples’ heads. But the slower songs are really punching home a story.”
“Well that was actually a bit of a surprise. When I started I said o.k, well look, obviously we’ll have ‘Friends In Low Places’. Twenty years ago bands were sick playing it and people got sick of listening to it! But now it’s massive again, so that’s there. ‘The Dance’ is another one that has to be there, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’, as well. But the surprises I’ve found were songs like ‘That Summer’, ‘Two Pina Coladas’, album tracks, ya know. So I realised these guys, the fans, they have the whole collection at home, they know their Garth! And the audience as well, sometimes they’re a bit like, ‘Now, what wouldn’t he know?!’, ya know that kind of way! A bit of craic! They’ll come up and they’ll look for ‘Ireland’, or ‘Somewhere Other Than The Night’. But I can do them. All the traditional ones, though, the hits that made him world famous, they’re still the most popular. And they’re all featured in the show, Anthony.”
For anyone going to see Garth in Croke Park this summer, you’ll have a chance to warm up with Adrian because he’ll be playing from 4pm to 6pm in The Big Tree, just on the corner of the North Circular Road as you’re heading down for the Hogan Stand, and then again every night in the Arlington Hotel in Temple Bar. We think Garth has his hands full with 5 gigs, Adrian has 10 in the same time! Like I said at the beginning, the life of Reilly it ain’t! But the life of O’ Reilly it is! And one thing that’s unmistakable when chatting to Adrian is his passion for the music of Garth Brooks. And if even a fraction of that translates into the show on the 25th, then it’s going to be unmissable and unforgettable! I for one don’t intend to miss it, and my advice to you, folks, is don’t forget it! So see y’all in the Court now, ya hear!!
* Garth Brooks albums, including the spectacular new box-set, are available now, or upon request from TRAX.