I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THIS CLIP.
For one, because it’s so hilariously dated. The presenters introducing it in unison! The hair! Michael Flatley in general! Amazing scenes.
But also, I can remember the exact moment that my dad saw it for the first time. Yes, my dad – not me. The whole family were away for a weekend and Tam was watching Eurovision in the hotel bar (😂) and when we all met him in the lobby later on he could barely speak, he was that overwhelmed by it. Being an Irish dancer at the time, it wasn’t long before we all saw it with our own eyes and a obsession that lives on to this day began.
I need to set the scene a little here. Irish dancing was absolutely not cool at the time. (Some people may say that this is still the case, but these people would be wrong, especially when comparing it with pre-Riverdance days. Also, you end up with calves of steel.) I was an absolutely rubbish Irish dancer – really appalling. I was good at the heavy shoe dances but only if I remained rooted to the spot, and my attempts at the light shoe dances were frankly comical, but I adored it, adored my friends there and adored it all the more when Riverdance and Lord of the Dance came on the scene. We went to see the latter at the Empire on its first tour – still, to this day, one of the best things I have ever seen; I was transfixed. Our Maria had my nan demented making exact replicas of the gypsy’s costume (God bless my nan, what a babe.) And even now, Reel Around the Sun off the Riverdance soundtrack is one of my yarden dances of choice. (Sorry neighbours.)
I only actually saw Riverdance for the first time (onstage rather than onscreen) a couple of years ago. I cried within about twenty seconds of it starting; the entire soundtrack is so beautiful and powerful. But this…this is the original, and the best, and sends shivers down my spine whenever I listen to it. I love it with my all heart.