THERE was a sense of a homecoming when David Gray ended his 'Gold in a Brass Age' tour in style in a packed Marquee last night.
Fresh from his North American leg, the English singer-songwriter was visibly delighted to wrap up in the Rebel County, posting a number of times on social media in the days leading up to the gig.
“With memories of places visited still rushing through my mind, thoughts turn to Cork, and the end of tour celebration that awaits there. Looks set to be a special night,” he wrote on Friday.
He wasn’t wrong, and that special night was enjoyed by all lucky enough to hold a ticket for this year’s penultimate Live at the Marquee concert.
"It's no exaggeration to say that I've been looking forward to this show from the moment that it was announced. Are you ready Cork City? I'll be giving it everything I've got up there," he tweeted just hours before taking to the stage.
And give it everything he did, with a swelling crowd singing along to his many classics, and even a few of his newer tunes too from his most recent album, ‘Gold in a Brass Age’, released this year.
He kicked off the night with an energetic performance of his electronic ballad 'Mallory' and 'The Sapling' from his newest album, but is was 'The One I Love', 'My Oh My' and 'Be Mine' that got the appreciative crowd hopping.
Some idle audience chat was turned to song when a few more crowd-pleasers were performed, including 'Late Night Radio', of which Gray said: 'We're going back to 1995 for this one. I barely remember it. I hope you do'. A loud chorus around the tent showed how well they remembered.
The atmosphere in the Marquee was appropriately electric and Gray, dressed all in black, was a commanding presence on the stage. He skillfully moved between piano and guitar during his set and often, eyes closed and head tilted, joined the audience in getting lost in the music.
He moved on to some better-known hits from his White Ladder album and the crowd went wild. 'The Other Side', 'Sail Away', 'Babylon' and 'Please Forgive Me' had the audience ecstatic. They were swaying and singing until the very end.
Despite launching his music career 26 years ago, the 51-year-old's songs have stood the test of time - as has his voice, which has aged well.
His grand finale was an inspired encore of 'Raglan Road', which he followed with the ever popular 'This Year's Love'.
Pouring out onto the leafy streets afterward, there wasn’t a bad word to be said about the singer among the crowd of contented concert-goers.
If Gray ever brings his show Leeside again, he has a few thousand fans who will happily attend once more.