The Stunning were one of the most successful Irish bands of the early nineties. Their debut album ‘Paradise in the Picturehouse’ spent five weeks at number one in the Irish charts and propelled the band to national stardom. They received huge radio play and television exposure. Though they worked hard throughout their seven year existence, their music never spread outside Ireland and their fame was not what it might have been. Now twenty-five years since their formation, they marked their milestone with a welcome return to a packed Vicar Street to allow their fans to relive the nostalgia of their historic first album and much more.
The performance began with a visual display of the years in which they showed pictures of the band who first formed back in the late eighties. As you can imagine Charles Haughey, Zig and Zag and Uncle Gaybo all featured prominently. The band then took to the stage, announcing immediately that ‘Paradise in the Picturehouse’ would be played in its entirety, much to the crowd’s delight.
The crowd take a while to get going, letting opening classics The Girl with the Curl and Romeo’s on Fire drift past them. Got To Get Away then launches a sudden surge of energy into the Vicar Street punters, the enjoyment of this reaction is clear to see from the smiles on the bands faces. From here the sing-song for one of the bands biggest hits Half Past Two shows just how the Wall brothers can still hold a crowd in the palm of their hands. It’s merely a prelude however, to what was always going to be the greatest crowd reaction of the night, the bands major anthem Brewing up a Storm. You could hardly blame them for teasing it out for as long as they did, and the crowd loved them for it.
From here lead singer Steve Wall took the opportunity to tell the crowd of how he once travelled seven hours to get to a record shop and how he felt that with downloads the passion has gone out of music. Certainly a poignant sentiment to share with a crowd that quite clearly felt the same way.
Once the album had been completed the crowd then began to stagnate somewhat. Coming to life only in bursts, in particular for an interlude of some new songs from The Walls. Carrying the Fire stood out here, it gave the crowd the lift they needed and brought the gig back to its feet.
From here till the close it was smooth sailing from a group of more than experienced showmen. The roof nearly came down with the two final tracks Johnny Cash’s Jackson and Bob Dylan’s Rolling Stone, the later cover seeming apt for the occasion with the group once supporting Dylan. An emotional end and a fitting send off for a band that will be fondly remembered by many and will go down as very influential in Irish music history.