Monday, October 14, 2019

Concert review: The Waterboys in Orange County, Calif.; North American tour ends Tuesday in LA

photo by Xavier Mercade
Last night, in Santa Ana, Calif., The Waterboys did the penultimate show on its first North American tour in four years and it was a real corker. Despite suffering from a cold that he said was caught in Oregon last week, band leader Mike Scott was still in fine form throughout the exceptional gig, which was divided into two halves and clocked in at two hours, 15 minutes.

The four selections from Where the Action Is, released earlier this year via Cooking Vinyl, all came across strongly in a live setting, especially the soulful set-opening title track and rousing rocker "London Mick," a tribute to Mick Jones, guitarist for The Clash (see the music video here: 

While the bulk of the material performed was taken from Scott's prolific output during the 2010s, longtime fans were also treated to several songs from the Eighties. 

Seated at an electric piano, Edinburgh native Scott reached all the way back to The Waterboys' eponymous 1983 album for the sumptuous "A Girl Called Johnny." The four-piece U.K. band really elevated the jaunty title track to 1988 high water mark Fisherman's Blues and the riveting "We Will Not Be Lovers," driven by Steve Wickham's frenzied electric fiddle work.

Other highlights: the quick and dynamic "Medicine Bow," the Mark Knopfler-esque "Nearest Thing to Hip" (off 2015's Modern Blues), complete with fan singalong, and The Waterboys' vibrant best known hit, "The Whole of the Moon" (always guaranteed to put this writer in a good mood) serving as closing encore.

On Tuesday, the Waterboys play the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. Tickets are still available at

Where The Action Is is available on CD, deluxe 2xCD, LP, digital download and streaming services. For more info, go to the official store:


Keith said...

Hi George,
I was there too and I think your review was a good one. An enjoyable evening despite his cold. I could have gone for a few more songs from This is the Sea but you can't have everything.
I will be at The Observatory again tonight to see Ride. Are you going? I'll look out for you.
Surprised not to see a recent Morrissey review. Maybe you're going to the Hollywood Bowl show? I was at Fivepoints a few weeks ago and he was excellent. I like the return to a less formal look with the grey hair and no suit... much more Morrissey. He came across superbly but the stadium sucks ($17 for a beer amongst many other complaints).
Keith (met you at China Crisis in May)

newwavegeo said...

Hi Keith,
Somehow I missed this comment last year and only noticed it now because the Blogger interface was just changed.
I'm looking forward to the upcoming Waterboys album.
Unfortunately, I missed Ride on that tour as well as Moz. But I wasn't too sad about Moz, considering I've seen him perform at least a dozen times over the years. I think Five Points Amp is a pretty good venue. I've had seats all the way in the back, up high, in the very last row and still thought it was a decent view of the stage. High food and drink prices are par for the course at Live Nation venues (that's why I almost never eat at concerts).