« Who is Chip Weinman? Funny you should ask ... | Main | Liquor board shutters Club 410 »

November 13, 2009

Concert review: The Cranberries at Rams Head Live

It's been almost seven years since the Cranberries last hit the road.

Last night, the Irish rockers officially ended their hiatus with a 90-minute sold-out show at Rams Head Live. The concert kicked off an international tour which stretches through late March. What have they been up to in the meantime?

"I can't believe it's been six and a half years," said singer Dolores O'Riordan. "Babies were born. We had fun in the bedroom."

Aha ...

That's not all, though. O'Riordan recorded two solo albums, the most recent being "No Baggage," which came out in August. Last night's show was heavy on classic Cranberries material, but also included some of O'Riordan's solo work. 

The band emerged at 9 p.m. sharp, and started with "How" a mellow track from their debut album, "Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?" Early on, it was clear the concert would succeed or fail on the strength of the songs and O'Riordan's voice.

The four other musicians in the band (guitar, bass, keyboard and drums) had a few miscues, and several songs ended up sounding flat. I'm sure the band will find their footing in the coming weeks.

On the whole, the show was a fairly strong showing, especially considering how long it's been since the last time they toured.

O'Riordan has lost none of her spunk. Dressed in a tight, sparkly black dress and black leggings, her dark hair cut short, O'Riordan cut a fierce and captivating figure. Her impressive range and vocal acrobatics were on full display, too. O'Riordan's singing can switch from gentle to savage in a heartbeat, and her warbling and cracking can be polarizing.

The pace picked up with "Wanted," and shifted gears with "When You're Gone," an ambling, '50s inspired ballad. O'Riordan had the crowd in her corner all night. Fans sang and clapped along with her, and one audience member gave her a bouquet of flowers.

The first encore, "No Baggage" featured just O'Riordan and the keyboardist, which showcased the softer side of O'Riordan's singing. The inevitable closer, "Dreams," suffered from some disappointing guitar work, but O'Riordan carried the song -- as she did most of the night.

Welcome back, Cranberries. Don't make it so long next time around.

Here is the setlist:

1) How
2) Animal Instinct
3) Linger
4) Ordinary Day
5) Wanted
6) Just My Imagination
7) Dreaming My Dreams
8) When You're Gone
9) Daffodil Lament
10) new song?
11) I Can't Be With You
12) Ode to My Family
13) Free to Decide
14) Waltzing Back
15) Insomnia
16) Salvation
17) Ridiculous Thoughts
18) Zombie

No Baggage
The Journey

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Concert reviews


This is the first time we have ever seen the Cranberries, even though we have been fans for a long time. We were not disappointed. We think Doloris is part pixie/part pit bull, and she portrays both aspects well. She is a commanding presence on stage, and the rest of the band just blew us away! The Cranberries are back!

Saw them 10 years ago on a tour with Collective Soul. Dolores has an amazing voice. Sorry I missed the show.

its not "No baggage" its actually "Lunatic" from the album no baggage. and i wouldnt say how is melllow...

can't believe I missed this!

actually, TWO audience members gave her flowers!!!

How was the guitar on "Dreams" dissapointing? The audience certainly did not seem to think so.

did anyone open for them or is it 100%

Yusef, thanks for catching that. That's what I get for writing the review at midnight.

Cdman, a band named Griffin House opened up, but I didn't get there in time to catch them.

V, the guitarwork on the album version of "Dreams" is so expansive, and the guitarwork on it last night started out offbeat and sounded muddled at best.

Was front row and center what a show! She took my hand twice even giving me a "hey baby" ! Even got her set list after a mad grab with other fans,still tripping!

Hi cdman, thank you for the wonderful review!

You didn't mention the names of the other original members of The Cranberries so here they are:
Noel Hogan - Guitars
Mike Hogan - Bass
Feargal Lawler - Drums

and musician from Dolores' Solo project
Denny DeMarchi - keyboard / guitar / backing vocals.

Just saw this show in Boston tonight. I think only Dolores was the only original Cranberry on stage. Should have been titled a la Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Griffin House is a solo act. Kinda folksy. Decent though. First time seeing the Cranberries and they didn't disappoint. I would agree there were some sound issues to work out but nothing major. Rams Head is an awesome live music venue.

Two of my sons and I saw the show and were not disappointed. Wow! Dolores, an on-stage composite of Tinker Bell, adrenaline and vocal opus, gave the crowd what it wanted. Wish they could have Lingered longer. Great show in the right venue.

I thought Griffin House was disappointing. Though I kept silent during his set, many of my neighbors did not, which I thought was rude.

INSOMNIA? what's that? Are you sure they sang that song? According to another site, they sang Switch Off The Moment instead.
And was there any "10) new song?"
Reply to VANILLA:
Thanks for the info about the "new guy", Denny DeMarchi.
Nice to see him at the board. Will he be a stabile member of the Cranberries?

Saw the Boston show.... absolutely fabulous! They nailed almost every number. Dolores' voice was dead on for ebery tune. Was like watching "Beneath the Skin" DVD from the 3rd row.

Note to "Hello from Boston" poster....all of the original Cranberries were on stage. these were not fill-ins.

The song "Switch off the Moment" is a song from Dolores' 2nd solo album, "No Baggage" and is a song ABOUT insomnia. There is no song titled 'Insomnia'. All original members of the Cranberries were there. Thanks for the review.

I went to the Boston and Hampton, NH shows and had a great time. Giffin House was a nice opener and people responded well to him. The Cranberries did great versions of all their songs. Dolores was spot on with her vocals. Her solo songs were good and the band did a decent job playing them considering having to probably learn them for the tour. The band really seemed to be enjoying themselves. If you're a Cranberries fan do not miss them

just an amazing concert! a mix between new songs, and good old ones ! cranberries rocks!

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "a" in the field below:
About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected