The Divine Comedy at the Cambridge Corn Exchange
Neil Hannon and his band came to Cambridge on Thursday 5th May to perform a greatest hits set.
“Hello Cambridge! Let’s rock,” the Northern Irish-born star said, taking the stage after his five-member band, looking cool in a gray suit and sunglasses.
The start of the procedure was Absent friendsa great track that had audience members raising their glasses to “absent friends” as dictated in the song.
Neil has a real warmth and sympathy for him and he addressed the crowd between songs in a calm and relaxed way. “We’re like a Divine Comedy tribute band,” he joked, “we’ll just play the hits.” And play the hits they made, much to the delight of the audience. Become more like Alfie has a nostalgic charm to it, while Neil’s skills as a lyricist were again on full display during the wonderful Everyone knows (except you)which made me rock in my seat and sing along.
“Would you like more songs? Or I could just riff,” Neil said, quickly realizing those were the songs we had just heard! New song The best mistakes is a nice track, fitting in nicely alongside older hardware, and The certainty of chance was another winner.
In a recent interview, Neil told me that my favorite Divine Comedy number, To the rescue, is a difficult song to perform live – but Neil and the others, with their natural swagger and sophisticated air, made it easy. What a melody!
Generation Sex was very well received, although not one of my personal favorites, and the eye-catching Gin Soaked Boy was a great way to end the first half. An intermission followed, then the band returned to the stage and played other classics, including Love songs (the Father Ted musical theme), norman and norma, Something for the weekend and National Express.
One forgets how many great songs The Divine Comedy have in their repertoire and it was an absolute pleasure to be called back.
To learn more about The Divine Comedy, go to thedivinecomedy.com.
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