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The Saw Doctors
IN CONCERT: LIVE IN GALWAY (DVD) and LIVE IN GALWAY
(Shamtown)
Stars graphics

These twin Shamtown releases are drawn from the same live concert at the Black Box Theatre in Galway last July 30, during Race Week. But the performance sequence is different, and the DVDís 17 tracks (total 81 minutes) include two songs, "Tommy K" and "Galway and Mayo" that donít appear on the CD, whereas the CDís 16 tracks (72 minutes) include one song, "Share the Darkness," that doesnít appear on the DVD. The DVD also promises a track, "Maroon and White," that doesnít appear at all.

What you get either way is a live performance of the Saw Doctorsí greatest hits. Two of the four original band members, John Donnelly and Pearse Doherty, are gone; Davy Carton and Leo Moran (the latter inheriting Dohertyís signature bass licks on "To Win Just Once" and "Exhilarating Sadness") remain, abetted here by Derek Murray, Jim Higgins, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Padraig Stevens, and occasionally Cartonís son, David Carton Jr. Only "Bless Me Father" doesnít come from the bandís first four albums ó which is to say theyíre living in the í90s still. These live performances, at a Roxy-like venue with the audience singing along, are coarser and jammier than the studio versions (no Tuam Cathedral church bells on "Same Oulí Town," no Gaelic vocal counterpoint on "Share the Darkness"), so if youíre not already an aficionado, thereís little reason to buy the CD. The DVD, however, throws in a 50-minute documentary that follows the Docs to Mayo, Clare Island, and Brooklyn and includes snippets of "Will It Ever Stop Raining?" and "Michael D. Rockiní in the Dáil"; we even get to hear Dáil member Michael D. Higgins discoursing on the band, something that makes up for the sight of Carton and Moran spelling out "TK" (for DJ Tommy Kavanaugh") with their arms and legs. But you also need at least the Saw Doctorsí first two studio albums if you want the bandís softer ("I Hope You Meet Again," "Wake Up Sleeping") and funnier ("Pied Piper," "Broke My Heart," "F.C.A.") sides.

(The Saw Doctors play the Roxy, 279 Tremont Street in the Theater District, on St. Patrickís Day; call 617-931-2000.)

BY JEFFREY GANTZ


Issue Date: March 12 - 18, 2004
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