It was a rainy Sunday night on August 8, 2021 when Dermot Kennedy took the stage at The Pageant in St. Louis. The venue hummed with the energy that only a sold out show could provide. The show itself was emotional for me in numerous ways. This was the first concert I attended since the pandemic started in early 2020, over a year ago. Just being back in a crowd of like-minded music lovers was enough to send tingles straight down my spine.
Anyway, tickets for upcoming Dermot Kennedy shows can be purchased at dermotkennedy.com/tour. Also be sure to check out the Official Dermot Kennedy Website for music, videos, merch, and all upcoming tour dates. Continue reading below for my full concert review and more photos from the performance. All images copyright and courtesy of Sean Rider.
Going into the show I had listened to some Dermot Kennedy songs, and really liked them, but I could tell within moments that most of the people in the crowd were super fans. I definitely had a taste of how dedicated Kennedy’s fans are earlier in the night, before I even made it to the venue.
I had just parked my car on a street several blocks down from The Pageant, in St. Louis’ famous Loop neighborhood. As I stepped out of my car, an excited couple sprang out of the car in front of me and immediately asked me where I was going. I told them I was headed to the show, and they said they were going there too. “We’re so excited to finally see Dermot!” they said. “We love him so much!.” I exchanged info with them so they could find my photos after the show and I went on my way. Little did I know I would have interactions with passionate fans like them repeatedly as the night progressed.
As I mentioned above, the show was extremely emotional for me. The tingles going down my spine were intense. I knew I had missed attending concerts, but I guess I didn’t realize I missed it as much as I realize now.
After chatting with some others in the audience, the lights go low and Kennedy took the stage. At first the crowd was quiet, waiting to see Kennedy and his band walk out. As the lights came up, and the crowd caught their first glimpse of the Irish singer-songwriter, the silence quickly swelled into frantic screams; which reminded me of those old videos of The Beatles playing shows back in the 1960’s.
Teenage girls losing their minds and fainting left and right. That’s what it’s like at a Dermot Kennedy show. As he began singing his first song, the crowd immediately took it away and Kennedy let them; grinning out at the crowd as they sang his words back to him.
Perhaps my favorite moments during the show were when Kennedy paused briefly during his songs. He would occasionally pause while crooning out his folk/pop love songs, and just smile at the crowd. It was apparent that he loves his fans. Maybe he loves them even as much as they love him? Seemed that way.
The show went on and Dermot continued to sing along with the adoring crowd; belting out songs about love and loss and uncertainty. At one break between songs he mentioned something that I had already been thinking, but couldn’t quite put my finger on. He explained the inevitability of the pandemic’s influence creeping its way into his song-writing process; illuminating something that only seems obvious after it’s explained. The sadness and uneasiness in his songs mirror the desperation, I believe, lots of us have felt the past year and a half.
This concert felt like a stab back against the depression and loneliness that Covid had ushered in for many of us. Dermot Kennedy and his band created a moment to acknowledge just how sad many of us are; however, he also provided a space in which we all could celebrate life, love, and the fact that all of us had made it through the last year together.
Below are more shots from Dermot Kennedy’s performance at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO on 8/8/21. All images copyright and courtesy of Sean Rider. Enjoy!
Stream Dermot Kennedy’s newest album, Without Fear, on Spotify: