Tonight isn't so bad. They didn't even play 'Zombie'...

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Dublin Vicar St

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Dublin Vicar St

Let’s be thankful for small mercies. Tonight The Cranberries play for little more than half an hour for the purposes of a live recording to be broadcast at the forthcoming MTV European Music Awards in Stockholm. Billed as a rare ‘intimate’ performance, the Limerick superstars are in sedate mood. Maybe it’s because the audience is composed of competition winners more interested in free booze than free rock. Maybe it’s because Dolores O’Riordan is well into her pregnancy and she’s taking it easy tonight. Maybe it’s because The Cranberries are thinking of calling it quits any day now. Sorry, wishful thinking.

But tonight isn’t so bad. Dolores is holding it down. If this was a stadium, she’d probably be shrieking like two cats scrapping in an alleyway or a pissed banshee with the giggles or a coyote with a sore foot yodelling in pain. She’d be ruminating over the natural disaster of the day with that incomparable rhyming scheme of hers.

Anyway, Dolores and “the band” play ‘Breath’ and the audience barely recognise it. They play ‘Linger’ and there’s a muted cheer. They play a bunch of new songs but everyone’s too busy trying to spot someone famous. They play ‘In The Ghetto’ because “sometimes it’s fun to play cover versions”, but it might as well be a Slint track for all these glitzed up Saturday-nighters know. It’s all over in a flash. Job done. Moby comes on the P.A. and everyone starts dancing.

Tonight isn’t so bad. They didn’t even play ‘Zombie’.

Leagues O’Toole