Under a wide-brimmed fedora and sporting his signature mass of unruly hair, Mike Scott led the current iteration of the Waterboys through nearly two hours of spirited, Irish-tinged folk rock at the Boulder Theater, delighting an older crowd of ardent fans along the way.
The group’s most recent record, ”An Appointment with Mr. Yeats” (released in Europe in 2011, but just last March in the U.S., officially) features 14 luminous musical interpretations of some William Butler Yeats’ famous mythical poetry. A few of them made their way to the setlist on Monday, but the set meandered over much of Scott’s storied 33-year career as well.
While the thought of parlaying some of Ireland’s greatest lines from perhaps its greatest wordsmith into rock ‘n roll may seem precarious at best, the Waterboys proved their mettle and did it well on the record. And live versions heard Monday at the Boulder Theater added yet another level to their mastery. A rendition of “White Birds” contained all the dramatic power of the poem’s violent sea imagery (a long recurring theme in Scott’s music), but “Mad as the Mist and Snow” stole the night. Beginning alone onstage at the keyboards, Scott was joined by a masked Steve Wickham playing the electric fiddle, flanked by a masked guitarist Jay Barclay. Both of the musicians eventually played a swordfighting duel with their instruments when the song climaxed. As the sweeping emotion calmed, Scott appeared on stage in a mask, and recited Yeats’ “The Second Coming” amidst the cacophonous noise — a near perfect image of what the poem may have looked like in the mind of Yeats himself.
Read the entire Review, and see all of Mike McGrath’s spectacular photos, on Denver Post Reverb…