The showband era was back in the spotlight in Cashel last weekend when one of Ireland’s top showmen graced the stage bringing back all his hits, and his fans’ memories.
Brendan Bowyer and his band made a triumphant return to Cashel almost 40 years after he last played in the town - all the more remarkable that he took to the very same stage he sang from in 1974!
It was like old times as the memories flooded back and the dancers tripped across the floor of Halla na Feile to all of Brendan Bowyer’s hits, including the huge hit from 1965, The Hucklebuck.
Not only was Brendan and his band, the Royal Showband, one of the top showband stars in Ireland, but in the UK he once had The Beatles as his opening act, and when he played in Las Vegas in the 1970s Elvis Presley was a regular concert attendee!
His trip back to Cashel was at Brendan’s own request, said his friend Billy Morrissey, who told The Nationalist he had helped organise last Friday’s dance.
Brendan lives in Las Vegas but each summer he comes home to Ireland for a few months and he likes to play in some of the halls he played in his heyday. Many are gone, or have changed use, but Hall na Feile is still going strong as a music and dancing venue.
Brendan was delighted with the success of the Cashel event and Billy thinks we might see him back there again next summer, he had such a good time. “The Hall was perfect, he was absolutely delighted with it. He met so many old friends who haven’t seen him in years, he got a great kick out of it,” Billy said of his friend.
He went on to say Brendan might look at a return concert at Halla na Feile next summer, on the back of the success of this one.
Halla na Feile’s delighted dancers gave a warm welcome to Brendan, especially when he told them that the last time he was there he received a phone call to tell him his wife had given birth to their daughter. That daughter, Aisling, accompanied her father on stage on Friday night! They now tour Ireland together with their band.
Patrons were overjoyed to see their one time idol back on stage in Cashel again. Only a short time ago it looked a remote possibility, but with the resurgence in ballroom dancing throughout the country maybe it is a little premature to write the obituary on this phase of our social history just yet. Regular social dances at Hall na Feile have become a popular evening out.
More than 300 dancers enjoyed a thoroughly great night, the Halla floor, widely acclaimed to be the best in Munster, was packed most of the time.
Brendan sang all the old favourites from the show bands days and to the ears and eyes of those listening the voice and the man are in remarkable condition for someone a little past three score and ten. The promoters expressed satisfaction with the night as did the patrons many of whom said they would be back again to support any similar venture.