Ireland 1997

[Marc Roberts] Now with a full report and two pictures. The scores below the list/report.

Marc Roberts (right) swept to victory with a rather languid ballad about a breif encounter with a mysterious woman at an airport. According to the words 'She had something foreign in her eyes'.

Here was the line up, in running order, for the Irish Eurosong, held on March 9th in Waterford at the Gymnasium of the Institute of Technology, with my (Geoff Harrison, that is) comments in italics:

  1. Good life, sung by Tommy Quinn, written by Teresa Keogh
    Tommy Quinn comes from Belfast. Repetitive moderately fast pop song rather short on 'hooks'
  2. I am here, sung by Miranda, written by Jimmy Walsh
    Jimmy Walsh was said to working on a Celtic ballet in New York. Miranda, wearing a blue mini-skirt, looks much older than her 17 years, but has a strong voice. This was a powerful ballad about offerring help to someone with a broken heart. [Michelle Costello]
  3. Suddenly, sung by Darren Holden, written by Darren Holden
    Darren, in black collarless jacket seemingly borrowed from Tommy Quinn, gave us another ballad, well sung, but not so well constructed as the previous one.
  4. Never far away, sung, and written by Michelle Costello (right)
    Michelle was apparently inspired to write this song after digging manure, but it didn't seem to show. This was a much more interesting faster, rockier song with an effective musical trick on the chorus "You're out of my sight, I'm out of my mind, you're never far way".She wore a wine coloured jacket over a very transparent top, as you can see.
  5. Uaigneas, sung by Helen Ui Dhunaird, written by Sean O'Coistealbha
    The Gaelic song, as often, was much more traditionally Irish-sounding. This one was co-written with New Zealanders, and was a slow ballad with accordion backing, a little like country music. I didn't find the melody very interesting. Helen wore a pink dress, and one of the backing singers was Eurosong veteran, Dav MacNamara.
  6. Love and understanding, sung by Gary O'Shaughnessy, written by Michael Heffernan & Kevin Smith
    Faster and louder, a relief after the ballads, but not really effective. 12 points to the saxophonist, though.
  7. My love, sung by Maggie Toal, written by Tony Adams Rosa
    Tony Adams Rosa has had a hit in Turkey, we were told. Maggie, in lilac, is a good singer, but this ballad was rather too ordinary to strike any chord here.
  8. Mysterious woman, sung by Marc Roberts, written by John Farry
    John Farry is from Fermanagh, and has had 9 songs recorded by Daniel O' Donnell - this was his first non-country song. His ambition, we were told, was to have a song recorded by a top Nashville artist. Long-haired Marc Roberts needs a better shaver, but was very effective in this slightly downbeat strong ballad about a mysterious woman seen at an airport, and the spell she casts. Unusual and, although it reminds some people of 'Somewhere in Europe', it stood out from most of tonight's rather blander offerings.

Maggie Toal sang "Come back and hold me" to come 3rd in the 1995 Irish contest, and the excellent "Feed him with love" in 1990 (7th), and Darren Holden came 3rd with "After tonight" in 1994. Jimmy Walsh wrote the winning "In your eyes" for the 1993 contest.

The set was rather ugly consisting of blue plinths for the singers to stand on, and there was plenty of general blue lighting. I hope the final has a better look.
As ever Pat Kenny was the presenter, this time in a hideous yellow jacket, and the Interval act was a joke band which included part of the Swarbriggs (distant Eurovision entrant) and rejoiced in the name 'Parazone', but best forgotten. No high-tech telephone voting here, just the usual votes from the pub in darkest Ireland:

Irish Eurosong 1997
Place/SongGood lifeI am hereSuddenlyNever far awayUaigneasLove and understandingMy loveMysterious woman

I personally would be surprised to see 'Mysterious woman' win in the final, but we never know with Irish songs.

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