It’s quite obvious, and some might say remarkable, but following a musical pedigree of 44 years in business these two boys from Ireland still have what it takes and are, quite literally, knocking it out of the park!
Playing to a packed house in the Lanarkshire town of Motherwell as part of their new ‘Putting On The Style‘ Scottish tour, Mick Foster and Tony Allen had the audience eating out of their hands.
They have what many other musicians and bands long for - a loyal and appreciative group of followers who resolutely stick with them . It’s a unique age demographic they’re playing to, and both Mick and Tony will readily agree it makes for a captive audience - a group of people who simply enjoy their music, and will continue to pay to hear it.
Looking out on the audience Mick remarked: “Sometimes, when I look out into the crowd, I actually think our audience is looking younger, but then have to remind myself that its actually us who are getting older.”
But it would be remiss of me not to point out that without the undoubted talents of their band this would be much less of an offering. Put together though, it’s a winning combination with Mick Foster’s Aberdonian wife Moyra Fraser on keyboards, penny whistle and flute, Ollie Kennedy, a band member for 37-years, on bass guitar, while Bryan Megahey showed he was no slouch when it came to electric and acoustic guitar.
And, one thing that was very noticeable was how appreciative the audience is. I think that this is all part of the international success this duo enjoy and who take nothing for granted.
The put on a great show, but it’s always been a two-way street, and I strongly suspect that this is one of the magical key ingredients that has seen them enjoying such longevity in this fickle business.
Mick is the comedian of the duo and intersperses the music with anecdotes that helped lead into the next song and boy do their audience love it!
The show kicked off with what is probably their best known track, and the one which saw them making an appearance on Top of the Pops back in 1982, A Bunch of Thyme. We had all the classics, Maggie, Fields of Athenry, The Blacksmith and Seven Old Ladies along with their homage to the hit BBC comedy Mrs Brown’s Boys, and the audience loved them for it, singing along, clapping, cheering, even hugging each other at one point - although I’m not sure that’s to be recommended if you, like me, end up sitting next to a rather large and boisterous lady who may just have gotten the wrong idea about all this.
The show started at 7.30pm and ran for two-and-a-half hours until 10pm with a 20-minute break. Now, a wee bit of advice, when you hear Until We Meet Again, don’t do as some of the audience in Motherwell did, got up and left, because you’re about to miss an encore of a further 10 minutes, and it’s a cracking finale you’re missing out on.
The International recording duo have now released more than 30 albums and recorded in excess of 1000 tracks in their lengthy career.
There is no doubt that Foster and Allen have something unique to offer that people want. It’s the first rule of supply and demand.
There was very obviously an enduring love for the music of Foster and Allen at Motherwell and this is being replicated at venues throughout their Scottish tour with many now being sold out. This latest spring tour sees them bring their musical offering to 13 venues across Scotland. It’s a quite remarkable achievement to think that Ireland’s famous crooning sons have now been playing to packed venues across the country and internationally in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada for a total of 44-years.
Their brand of country, traditional, Irish folk and easy listening has been a notable trademark of the duo throughout their lengthy career.
One very noticeable trait of the pair is the remarkable lack of fame or arrogance on display, as I spoke to both Mick and Tony backstage. They’ve told me in past interviews that they are just “normal people who simply play music for a living.”
Mick remarked on one occasion “we are nothing special, but we’re good what we do, and always want to make sure that those who pay good money to hear us go home with a smile on their face.”
And you know what, as I watched the crowd of 600 plus leave Motherwell Concert Hall every single one of them was chatting, laughing, and, had a huge smile on their face. It appears that the pair had managed to do exactly what they wanted.