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:

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