Having played The Empire in Belfast a couple of times before we are always excited to go back and had high hopes for a glorious night of rock. However when we arrived in Belfast on Friday to find swathes of luminous pink Rockaoke posters slapped across the city centre ( we’re not sure by who) and double page spreads in gig guides we started to speculate about what might just go off on the Saturday night. Add in the fact that our hotel was a drum stick throw away from The Empire and we were all on a high as we strode out into the Friday night to ensure we were fully up to speed with all local customs. Addmitedly our tour of the sites led us straight to The Crown and a protracted 4 hour sejourn in booth two. 10 pints of guinness, 3 sambucas, a load of inappropriate jokes from Smooth ( head of security and chief photographer) and a stumble around town later we ended up back at the Empire where we gatecrashed the Salsa session in the bar down stairs and Danny a) tried to teach everybody the Maccam Conga and b) tell everyone that we would be playing on the big stage upstairs and it would undoubtably be ” a reet good craiic”
Following a leisurely breakfast and an afternoon G&T we piled into a new local bar, Lost Society for dinner. There, we were wined and dined by the glorious Maltman crew and told that we had already sold 200 tickets and they knew of at least another 150 peops who were coming. Now at fever pitch we burst through the doors of The Empire to see hundreds of people gleefully filling out song requests and piling them up high on the stage. We gathered back stage for a Corona laden rallying call and then the voice of god boomed out across the venue.”Ladies and Gentleman…..are you reeeeeaddddy to roooooooocccccck!’
The whole place erupted as we strode onto stage and pounded through the formalities of the geeing up, announcing a raffle, and our first song. Then onto the real stars.What ensued was quite simply one of the finest sets of Rockaoke ever to have been witnessed by our 200 gig a year souls. The crowd were electric, the performers were eccentric, the band were on fire, the Empire was one in one out ( 450 capacity, you do the math) and we were doing what we do best, making people into rockstars……IT WAS AWESOME! From a breath taking rendition of Highway to hell, through a strutastic Simply the Best to an emotionally rousing Don’t Stop Believing the half was jam packed of quality performers and brilliant moments.
The second half kicked off with a bang with a knee slide riddled Whole Lotta Rosie and bounced around some pop classics before ending with a beautiful You’ve Got the Love by our winner on the night Charlotte and scintilating versions of Living on a Prayer and Sex on Fire. We headed off stage, already talking about going back and discussing how that could be beaten in 2011? We still are not convinced we know.
As if it couldn’t get any better we then headed off to the afterparty where Dann and Basil where swamped by groupies and Jon and Mat wondered why they didn’t have any. Then to finish the night off Mat and Dan hosted an after after party in their room to which only Basil, Aggie and Craig were invited. We wrapped up a wonderfully successful and heavily intoxicated evening at about 4:30am.
Basil didn’t say much on Sunday!
We rocked! Belfast rocked harder! We’ll see you again soon.