The day Divine Comedy played "Songs of Love" in Dublin and I did not get why the crowd cheered so much!
In 2001, Divine Comedy released their album Regeneration. As part of its promotion, they did a concert in Dublin.
A fan of Divine Comedy from the beginning, having played as a supporting act with my band the Smiling Marianne in Toulouse in 1994, having already seen them twice already, in France, in an acoustic/classical formation and in a more standard setting, I was really looking forward to the concert.
Regeneration was a departure from some of the most baroque pieces of the band, using a more standard lineup of guitar bass and drums. Wikipedia tells us:
“The 2001 album Regeneration attempted to remove the band still further from its association with comedy. Hannon hired famous producer Nigel Godrich to "remake" the band. Neil ditched the suit and donned a Britrock band image.”
It was a really good concert, simple and direct. The band played songs both from the new album and from previous LPs. Both the musicmanship and showmanship were excellent.
I remember being very surprised at the time of the great roar of cheers that erupted when the band started playing "Songs of Love".
I like this song, though never considered it as being one of their main successes. It appeared that the public thought otherwise. One learns every day.
Being new to Ireland at the time, I was not familiar yet with many Irish's classics: TV shows, books, songs...
One of these classics is a humoristic series about 3 priests living in a small island community, called "Father Ted".
If you do not know it, and like great British humour like the Monty Python, Absolutely Fabulous or Men behaving badly, I strongly recommend to watch it. As it mocks a lot of the aspects of Irish life, you may miss some idiosyncrasies, but even so, it is still a great series.
A few months after the concert, I watched my first "Father Ted" episode. It was really good. The show got even better over time, as I got to know the characters and Ireland better.
After the first few episodes, and having listened to the theme song a few times, some neurones finally fired up (it was about time): Father Ted's theme song was the verse of Divine Comedy's "Songs of love". To be sure the series credits were checked and yes, Neil Hannon was there.
It was then easy to understand the number of cheers that erupted when the first chords of "Song of love" were played that day. Father Ted is a cult series there, up there with the likes of Friends, Monthy Pythons and Game of thrones.
Considering this, it was very thoughtful from the band to play this song. Being Irish themselves, they know how cult the series is, and trusted the public not to focus only on this cult theme.
It was also nice from the public to enjoy this little wink to their common Irishness, supporting with great respect and enthusiasm the rest of the concert. It was clear that they were here for the band's music, not for this song only.
It was a proof of maturity from both the band and the public, a small moment of very strong communion, of Irishness.