Friday, December 04, 2009
The Cranberries at the Pearl Theater
The number of reunions this year has been staggering. In terms of unexpected reunions, I was stunned when The Cranberries announced they would reunite for first time in seven years. I strategically plotted a Las Vegas trip when I saw they would be stopping by the Pearl Theater at the Palms.
The Cranberries first album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? was in constant rotation for me in the college years, as they found a magical combination of Noel Hogan's guitars, Dolores O'Riordan's siren vocals and the slick production of Stephen Street.
I only managed to see The Cranberries once when they opened up for Duran Duran in the 1990's and was astonished by how well they recreated their songs live. Noel Hogan's minimalist guitar playing is superb as he plays just enough notes to make the songs breathe. I fully approve of his guitar rig which is nicely diagramed on his Gohan Records website.
"How" was the perfect opener with its loud and quiet moments, as I could barely see Fergal Lawler's head peering over his drums. Dolores was still as energetic as ever, running across the stage without missing a note. I was surprised that they played "Linger" so early in their set, but it made sense since they had so many good songs to cover.
The Cranberries also tackled some of Dolores's solo material as they played "Ordinary Day". I was extra excited whenever they played material from their first album as "Still Can't" sounded pristine with Micheal Hogan (Bass) quietly standing in the back methodically plucking away like clockwork. Dolores did mention how she could never live in Las Vegas cause she would be a "Gambler and rambler".
Dolores managed to play guitar sporadically on some songs including "Dreaming My Dreams" from No Need To Argue. The doo-wop vibe of "When You're Gone" brought back some memories as Noel had his back turned to the audience and was hunched down in front of his amplifiers. I only remember this characteristic because I always try to figure out what guitar chords he was playing. I did however note they played the song with a capo on the third fret.
Noel brought out his ebow for the sustained notes of "Daffodil Lament". "Can't Be With You" seemed to have been sped up as it went by extremely quick. Dolores mentioned how attractive all women are before nailing the high notes of "Pretty". The hits just kept coming as they had the crowd singing along to "Ode To My Family" and "Free To Decide". The tempo never really seemed to slow down with a short and sweet rendition of "Salvation".
Dolores did manage to take a rest as she laid down on the stage for "Ridiculous Thoughts" which transitioned to "Zombie" before ending their main set. An acoustic propelled "Empty" featured bongos and Dolores's voice still didn't waver as they were nearly twenty songs deep into their set. The crowd really let loose during the shimmering chords of "Dreams" as the reverb and delayed vocals perfectly accentuated the jangling chords. I hope some people catch their show at Club Nokia. You will be impressed how well the songs sound live and stand up after seven years.