I have seen him so many times now in concert that I have lost count but I have been a fan of Brian since his Dublin debut almost 20 years ago as a then relatively unknown guest at the Lord Mayors Gala, ironically at this same Venue, the NCH. Since then he has had a glittering and uniquely successful career here in Ireland remaining popular through the years despite changing musical tastes. One thing remains unchanged throughout that time and that is Brian's superb live performances, which never disappoint.
He is a man who although hugely successful in Ireland has had relatively modest international success by comparison, a fact which is partly explained by his failure to adopt a confined persona which the business led music industry so often demands. The fact that Brian is not a major international star is one of the great losses to international music. Without disrespecting Westlife or their fans who are entitled to their freedom of choice, it is a deep inditement of the lazy and often absurd modern Music Industry that it would prefer to promote their far inferior version of 'You Raise Me Up'. It took the death of a football legend and the haunting performance of the same song by Brian at George Best's Funeral to send Brian's infinitely superior version to the top of the UK chart. Life can be strange sometimes.
The new CD 'Interpretations' showcases new dimensions to Brian's superb voice which like a good wine seems to only improve with age. The choice of songs is superb and the arrangements sublime. This CD is one of his best to date and deserves massive worldwide success which will probably elude it such is the state of the music industry. Am I angry? Yes a little but one lives in hope.
The Concerts at the NCH Dublin in April were a subtle change from Brian's previous week long stints at the Olympia. This time around we were treated to a more mature artist with an agenda to gently change his image and carry his existing fanbase along with him into a new phase of his career. His never looked or sounded better.
His musicians (including an 8 piece string section) were superb.His choice of material spanning all 10 albums, flawless and his mood and overall demeanour that of a performer at the peak of his powers.
I remain saddened that he is not one of the biggest international male acts. He is Irelands greatest living entertainer and one of our best kept secrets, a magical, supremely talented modern bohemian who is one of the finest male voices on earth.