There was trouble at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast last night. Trouble With a Capital T. Almost 30 years after they played their last proper concert at the Ulster Hall in Belfast (immortalised on the live album The Belfast Gigs) Horslips were back.
The hair, beards and glittering costumes that the band favoured during their early days in the 1970s were replaced by sensible clothing but the sound was still unmistakable.
Trouble With a Capital T, Dearg Doom and Sword of Light – rock songs built upon traditional Irish airs were all given a blast.
Also in the set were the more mainstream Man Who Built America, Furniture and the all-out rocker Shaking All Over.
My own particular highlights of the evening ware Charolias from The Tain and good 20-minute section from The Book of Invasions.
Four of the original line-up were on stage – Tyrone-born Barry Devlin on bass and vocals, Johnny Fean on guitar and vocals, Charles O’Connor on mandolin, fiddle and vocals, and Jim Lockhart on keyboards and flute.
Original drummer Eamon Carr, who still works with the band but not on stage, was replaced by Fean’s brother, Ray.
All are superb musicians, Fean in particular seeming to casually flick along the fretboard to draw out some extended but never-dull guitar solos.
Charles O'Connor, the only Englishman in the band, is also a superb multi-instrumentalist, switching between, fiddle, mandolin, concertina, slide-guitar and ad a share of the vocals.
Devlin is laid-back and affable and Lockhart's keyboards and flute gave them that distinct edge that makes their sound so unique.
Horslips built a huge loyal following in the 1970s by bringing Celtic rock to the ballrooms of Ireland including the north where few other rock bands dared to come because of the Troubles.
The Odyssey Arena audience seemed to be a cross section of those who are now in their fifties and sixties who were there first time round and younger fans, ranging from teens through to early middle age who until now only knew the band through their recorded output.
The after-show party (oh the privileges of journalism) was quite a civilized affair that had the feel of a cocktail party rather than a post-gig knees up.
It was interesting to see journalists, DJs and TV presenters all queueing up with the privelege ordinary punters who managed to get in to have their photo taken and gather autographs with the band.
On the way out I saw Eamon Carr standing deep in conversation with someone. How weird must it all have been for him to see the band he is such a central part of playing without him behind the kit?