Thir(s)ty Years of The Pogues

Pogues 2012 CologneLabelled by Rolling Stone as ‚The Musical equivalent of a pub crawl’ The Pogues were in Cologne at the Tanzbrunnen on Tuesday to celebrate their suitably titled  ’Thir(s)ty Years’ Anniversary Tour.

I knew the plastic beer glasses would be flying, and I was pretty certain the 7pm start was more a hope than a statement of intent.  I was certain too that the main question on everyone’s minds would be the same as it was in Bonn last year: ‘How will Shane be?’. Which is a pity, because people really should read their tickets more closely.  It doesn’t say ‘Shane MacGowen & Band’  it says ‘The Pogues’ – and they are a great Band in their own right.

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The Pogues – Men you don’t meet everyday

In 2002 Q Magazine listed The Pogues as “One of the fifty bands to see before you die”

A little late maybe; but last Thursday at Bonns Museumsplatz I got around to the task, and, whilst it would perhaps be optimistic to hope that Punk-Folk was well,  was it still alive?  The Pogues would be a chance to find out.

It’s 8pm, and I’ve been standing in the Photo-pit with a monitor blasting music directly into my ear for half an hour. There’s a plastic duck sitting on top of a backstage speaker that I’ve now ‘shot’ three times with my camera just to pass the time. Roadies shuffle back and forth onstage; we’re half an hour late and no band. Fans I’d spoken to on the train from Cologne had been enthusiastically talking about the Band, but I had the impression that a show stood or fell on the physical condition of singer and renowned drinker Shane MacGowan. Now, as MacGowan finally took the stage, I feared his appearance didn’t bode well for the evening.

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