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Bringing It All Back Home
Bob Dylan at Slane - The music, the magic, the mayhem and so much more...
Niall Stokes, 27 Jul 1984
Now and then his language slips into outright vitriol. "If you asked 99% of the people who came to the gig what they thought of the pigs who were responsible for what happened in Slane last night, they would express the abhorrence we all feel. There was just a tiny proportion of troublemakers involved".
Will there be another gig at Slane? "I don't know", he says, looking genuinely lost. "The thing is that people want to come to gigs like this. There are over 50,000 people out there who are enjoying themselves in a completely orderly peaceful manner".
The thought offered some consolation. But deep down Henry Mountcharles must have understood that the opposition had been provided with the ammunition they had been looking for. And that, as a result, future gigs in Slane would hang on a very thin thread indeed . . .
In the background, someone was ordering strawberries and cream . . .
Handclaps and backpats for Senator Michael D. A popular man, rare for a politician today. Maybe it's because he's honest. The photographers close in: click/click/click/click. As they disappear, he turns around and swings off his jacket.
"Now I can relax", he says and gives three short skips. The bop can't stop.
Reggae is the perfect music for grooving on a Sunday afternoon and UB40 are more than capable ambassadors of rhythm - which is why their set is ranked by many people as second only to Dylan's on the day.
The Birmingham band opened by dealing straight from the top, hit-wise - "One In Ten" following "Red, Red, Wine" and "Cherry, Oh Baby" - and thereafter fired up the pace in fine style, the guitar, drum and bass line coming over loud and clear while Astro skanked and rapped and Brian Travers' sax beefed up the melodies. They also brought on the first special guest of the day - namely, Mickey Dread, whose charismatic exuberance was evident as soon as he hit the boards. "More bass! More bass!" he beseeched, "so I can shake down the stage", and after that, neither the band nor the bopping masses looked back.