Fisherman's friend | 

All-star concert to pay tribute to famed former Waterboy and Irish musician Noel Bridgeman

A string of top names, including Mary Black, Mary Coughlan and Colm Wilkinson, will also be taking part in the charity gig in Dublin

Eugene MastersonSunday World

The Waterboys are reforming to join an all-star line-up for a tribute concert to famed Irish musician Noel Bridgeman, who played with them on two albums.

A string of top names, including Mary Black, Mary Coughlan and Colm Wilkinson, will also be taking part in a charity concert in Dublin in memory of the late Bridgeman, who was best known as co-founder of Skid Row.

Tickets have just gone on sale for the ‘Remembering Noel Bridgeman’ show, which takes place on Thursday, May 4 in the 3Olympia Theatre.

Dubliner Bridgeman had a natural gift for music and began his music career in the 1960s playing initially the accordion and later the drums, going on to play with the cream of Irish music.

He spent much of the late 1980s and early 1990s in Spiddal House in Co Galway recording with The Waterboys their legendary albums ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ and ‘Room To Roam’.

On ‘Fisherman’s Blues’, which included ‘And a Bang on the Ear’, Bridgeman played tambourine and congas, while on ‘Room to Roam’, which included the song ‘The Raggle Taggle Gypsy’, he played drums and percussion, as well as backing vocals on ‘A life of Sundays’.

Among those who took part in the recording of those albums with Bridgeman were Mike Scott, Sharon Shannon, Steve Wickham, Anto Thistlethwaite, Trevor Hutchinson, Colin Blakey and Seamus Begley.

Bridgeman was born in Dublin in 1946 and by the Autumn 1967 he was playing with bass player Brush Shiels’ new band Skid Row, along with lead singer Phil Lynott, and lead guitarist Bernard Cheevers.

‘Nolliag’ went in and out of the Skid Row line-up and drummer Robbie Brennan replaced him twice as Noel played with Colm Wilkinson (of Les Misérables fame), playing the American bases in Germany.

Gary Moore, a 15-year-old lead guitarist from Belfast subsequently replaced Bernard Cheevers in March 1968.

Skid Row released their first single New Places Old Faces on Song Records as they became Ireland’s top group. Not long after, Noel returned Phil Lynott left the band and Skid Row along with Gary and Brush became a three-piece.

Skid Row toured Ireland and often opened for Jethro Tull and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac at their Dublin shows at the National Stadium.

Fleetwood Mac’s manager Clifford Davis took over the management of Skid Row and they moved to London and signed with CBS Records. Skid Row toured all over the UK and the US and released several albums.

Renowned DJ John Peel rated Skid Row as “one of the best groups I have heard anywhere…The drummer is just out of this world, the best I have heard in about two years”. He recorded three tracks on Granny’s Intentions only album ‘Honest Injun’.

When Skid Row broke up circa 1972, Bridgeman played with The Plattermen, The Gentry and The Rob Strong Band and eventually joined Brush Shields again gigging throughout the country.

Since the 80s Noel has played with Pat Farrell in The Business and later joined Mary Black on percussion and drums and recorded a couple of albums with Mary, most notably ‘No Frontiers.’

Noel played with many other artists and musicians throughout the years, most notably Hothouse Flowers and The Waterboys.

He was also a wonderful singer who was able to interpret a song with great emotion such as his version of John Lennon’s ‘Across the Universe’ and Billy Fury’s ‘I Will’.

In recent years, he spent his time gigging with Ed Deane, Tommy Moore, John Quearney and Mik Pyro (Republic of Loose) among many others.

Noel Bridgeman died at the age of 74 in March 2021 in St Francis Hospice in Dublin.

Musicians who played with Noel, or wanted to, have come together for what promises to be a very special night of music.

The Waterboys are bringing their 1989 line-up, that Noel played with while Mary Black will perform with her band. Colm Wilkinson a lifetime friend of Noel who also played together will make a rare appearance.

The full line up of musicians in alphabetical order is, Alan Dee, Antonio Cafolla, Bree Harris, Brian Harris, Brush Shiels, Carl Geraghty, Colm Wilkinson, Donnie Devaney, Ed Deane, Fran Byrne, Ger Kiely, Gerry Hendrick, Gerry Mulryan, Grant Nichols, Honor Heffernan, Hugh Buckley, James Delaney, John Quearney, John Walsh, Kevin Malone, Lee Meehan, Mary Black, Mary Coughlan, Mik Pyro, Pat Farrell Paul McAteer, Richie Buckley, Rob Strong, Ronan Collins, Susan Tomelty, Tommy Moore, Trevor Knight, The 1989 Line-up of The Waterboys and Victor McCullough with Special Guest and Compere Audrey Bridgeman.

Tickets €30/€38/€42 at Ticketmaster outlets and on www.ticketmaster.ie

The concert is dedicated to The Bridgeman Family with proceeds to St Francis Hospice.


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