It is with much sadness that we have to advise that Pete Fyfe passed away in 2015.
Riverdance - part 2
Spirits lifted (and copious quantities of Guinness!) we finished our set and on returning
home I immediately wrote a note to check out the next morning if my suspicions were
correct that Riverdance somehow involved Bill Whelan who had worked with Planxty
on a previous Eurovision break scene-stealer “Timedance” in 1983. For those of you
that hadn’t/haven’t experienced “Timedance” it was a joint performance coupling the
music of Planxty and the choreography of the Dublin City ballet. To this day in one
of those “Believe It Or Not” moments legend has it that one of the countries involved
thought they were voting for the performance such was its power. For your records…Eurovision
was won that year by Bucks Fizz and their controversial skirt ripping routine. I
wonder what would have happened if the Dublin City Ballet had done that?
Anyhow, onto Riverdance and the influence it had on all Irish based bands. Firstly
the feel-good factor affected us all and with the introduction of the O’Neill’s chain
of Irish bars springing up throughout the country our ‘circuit’ was thriving. Gaz
and I had been asked to ‘launch’ a ‘Plastic Paddy’ pub called Shamus (sic) O’Donnell’s
(formerly and now returned to its original pub title of the Wig & Pen) in Southsea
along with a donkey and a great landlord whose name unfortunately I can’t remember.
Gaz never was particularly into pandering to the whims of organisers, the donkey
being a prime example but we still managed to walk around the block a few times with
the pub staff handing out leaflets while we played the obligatory “Wild Rover” etc.
To be perfectly honest I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but then again…as Garry
rightly pointed out…I would, wouldn’t I.
By now, Paddy Power (as those who got some sort of derisory enjoyment proclaimed
it) had gripped the Nation and the O’Neill’s chain were in full swing.
Via an agent called Sean Brady, Gaz and I were to work the ‘circuit’ on a regular
basis for quite a few years until we came to the conclusion that trying to get into
London was taking up way too much time (what should have been a 40min drive often
became a 2 hour nightmare!) and parking anywhere near the venues was practically
impossible also bearing in mind the amount of gear we had to hump we weren’t doing
ourselves any favours. OK, the money was good…but not that good and the hassle of
working in confined areas with drunken students and business men was also another
major concern. In the end we thought (correctly as it goes) that our performances
would be better served out towards Kent and East and West Sussex. Firstly it wouldn’t
take as much time getting to the gigs and secondly we wouldn’t have to put up with
the boorish behaviour of many of the ‘customers’. How right (at least in part) this
proved to be.