The Stunning at Vicar Street Dublin 2012A night of festive nostalgia for fans of The Stunning as the Galway/Donegal band performed their seminal Irish album ‘Paradise In The Picturehouse’ in its entirety in Vicar St, some 22 years after its original release.

‘Paradise In The Picturehouse’ went straight to No.1 in 1990 and eventually went platinum in Ireland; a significant and laudable achievement for any home-grown band.  Would nostalgia be tempered by the disappointment of modern tastes? Far from it, The Stunning were eagerly received by a buoyant, moshing crowd, who roared them on from start to finish.

The Stunning cleverly brought the crowd back to the late ‘80s with a video intro that featured Zig and Zag learning German, Charlie Haughey’s infamous “tighten our belts” speech and archive footage of the band’s first television appearance, however the biggest cheer was reserved for Ray Houghton’s winning goal against England. The band finally took to the stage as Gay Byrne introduced them on to The Late Late Show to rapturous applause.

There would be no easy way out sample solutions for The Stunning, where necessary the band’s ranks swelled from 5 to as many as 8, with the addition of brass and accordion to the line-up, ensuring at all times that there was an authentic feel to the songs. Songs such as Half Past Two and Brewing Up A Storm were gleefully received by the crowd, but lesser known songs such as Romeo’s On Fire and Girl With The Curl were just as potent. A solo performance of An Empty Feeling by Steve Wall brought the first part of the show to an end.

A mini trad session would see Steve Wall mock jig his way back on stage before Joe Wall would quip “I’d like to thank the lads for putting the session back into the recession.” The second part of the show would be a post-Paradise greatest hits selection, including a breath-taking version of Tightrope Walker; which morphed into Serious Moonlight style white soul funk-fest.

Cries of “We want more” were answered as the band returned for a 3 song encore beginning with a sing-along version of The Walls track Carrying The Fire; followed by an outstanding rendition of Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. A second outing of Brewing Up A Storm set the mosh-pit into overdrive and brought the night to a triumphant close.

The joyous reaction of the crowd was mirrored by the band throughout the performance, so much so, that new material seems a realistic prospect for a band who are obviously enjoying it more the second time round.