The Cranberries

After waiting four hours at the Great Woods box office and making friends with half the security guards, my friends and I finally got Section Two tickets. We had seats 18 rows from center stage and were so excited! We arrived three hours early for the show and found our seats to watch the opening acts. Willy Porter was totally amazing with his twelve-string guitar, but his set got a bit monotonous. Though I am not a big Toad fan, I enjoyed their set. The few songs I did know were really great and sounded very close to their recorded versions.

Finally at 8:30 the Cranberries took the stage. The stage was modestly set up with a drum set, some screens, and weird staging, a lot of the amps (that were bigger than my car) were hidden. There were two sets of stairs on either side connected by a platform. After a few minutes of church-sounding music, the band appeared and took their respective places in jeans and T-shirts to begin playing “Pretty.

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We could hear Dolores O’Riordan’s voice but couldn’t see her until she walked up a hidden staircase dressed in a flowing white dress contrasting her bright red hair. The music was very tight and true to their tapes and also very energetic and lively. For the most part Dolores stole the show dancing around the stage in her barefeet and overwhelming us with her powerful voice. One of the guitar players (Noel Hogan) had a beautiful black Gibson Les Paul that I couldn’t help noticing and to which he did justice. There were a lot of instrument changes throughout the show, with Dolores occasionally picking up a stunning guitar or two. She played an awesome Gibson ES335 in a shade of red to match her hair for a few songs, an acoustic guitar for some, and then my fave: a huge white Guild guitar (I think from SNL) for “Zombie” and a few others.

They also played “Waltzing Back,” “Linger” (do you still remember this one?), “Still Can’t” (with the first lines shouted), and “Put Me Down” from the first album and “Ode To My Family,” “Twenty One” (with Dolores on keyboard), “Disappointment,” “Ridiculous Thoughts,” and “Daffodil Lament” from the second album. It must be mentioned that halfway through their show Dolores changed into a pair of tight silver pants, and black DKNY tank top, and silver jacket. Forgive me if I focus on her, but she remained the center of attention throughout the show. Memorable moments include her with her acoustic guitar spinning madly in circles to “Ridiculous Thoughts.” “Empty” was just breathtaking, and my fave, “Dreams,” the last song, with the same “they’ll come true” from Woodstock II. Again, we were amazed by Dolores’ voice that filled the entire venue with its intensity ranging from the plea of “Does anyone care?” making us feel the emptiness of that question to the demanding “You’re gonna have to hold on” to the gentle sadness of “Empty.” During “Zombie” there were white-on-black images of peace signs flashing on-and-off then the band members being bathed in purple and blue light during a slower part then turning to blood red for the chorus.

They played a lot of material from their next album, including “Free to Decide,” a song about the death of John Lennon, and a few more that were all very impressive.

This was only their second show on their U.S. tour, so hopefully you can get a chance to see them. If you liked their albums, you’ll be sure to love them live because they truly are incredible

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