Gavin James in Bern

I didn’t stand at my spot for 10 minutes when the light went out, a gentleman came up to the microphone all alone and began to sing acappella. “Fields Of Dreams” was the name of this first beautiful song and captivated the audience who listened attentively. The singer was Declan Greene – with “e” at the end, because he was no color – an Irish musician from Dublin. He was the surprise support.

The surprise support

“Thank you all for coming early to hear me. Even though most of you didn’t know I was playing,” Declan grinned broadly and immediately had the audience on his side. So Gavin James had brought two support acts with him.

In his relaxed, funny and very charming way Declan Greene presented not only his own songs like “Falling Lights”, “River” and “Stay”. His version of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” was also well received. So the audience didn’t let themselves be asked to sing along twice at the end of the way too short set. And for all those who didn’t have enough, he offered CDs and free hugs after the show. You just had to like him right away!

Perfect harmonies by Saarloos

The pop/rock trio Saarloos, consisting of Brian McGovern, Craig Gallagher and Andy Kavanagh, continued the evening. Even before Saarloos, Brian and Craig had made a name for themselves as solo singer/songwriters, supporting stars like Bon Jovi, Daniel Bedingfield and Picture This.

Besides the rousing current single “Fire is love” they captivated the audience with their two-voiced singing and wonderful, harmonic melodies as in “Memphis” or “Changes”. “Don’t loose faith” they played only in twos, without Andy on bass. In the meantime, he let the outside world take part in the gig through a live stream. Suddenly Gavin James stood between the two and sang a few bars with them. And as fast as he showed up, he disappeared again.

Saarloos also didn’t miss the opportunity to involve the audience and especially to let them sing along to the last song “Girl From New York”.

Gavin James brought along a band

Gavin James stepped into the spotlight all alone with his guitar and captivated the sold out Bierhübeli with “Til the sun comes up” from the first note on. Everyone hung on his lips and listened carefully as he devotedly plucked the strings, performing his songs to his best soulfully with his fascinating voice. So far he has always been known this way. But unlike expected, he now tours with a full band.

Gavin James is no stranger back home. Growing up in a musical family – his great-grandparents were famous Irish opera singers and his sister sings in the Dublin Gospel Choir – his first single “Say Hello” was directly voted “Irish Song Of The Year”. With his first live album as well as his debut album “Bitter Pill” Gavin soon also celebrated success abroad and was support of Ed Sheeran as well as Sam Smith.

First headline show in Bern

Did Gavin James still play at the small Amboss Rampe in Zurich last summer, his follow-up album “Only Ticket Home” brought him a boost with hits like “Always” and “Glow”. And after a performance at “Energy Air” at the Stade de Suisse in Bern (one or the other stadium anthem is definitely there) it’s not so surprising that he played at his three concert tour through Switzerland, including his first headliner show in Bern, now at Bierhübeli in front of a full house.

It was usually as quiet as a church mouse when Gavin and his band played the silent sounds and created a series of goose bumps. Sometimes they played together “The Middle” acoustically, then Gavin stood on stage for “22” only in company of the pianist oonly and with “Nervous” again completely alone in singer/songwriter style. He wasn’t quite as talkative as I had expected, but Gavin and his band were able to enchant the audience in every way.

Whilst the first album mainly featured ballads and folkier pop/rock, “Only Ticket Home” features faster, more synthies and more ‘modern’ songs. So there was not only the quiet, but also the wilder, catchy side of Gavin to hear and see. Gavin and his fellow musicians were groovin’ to “Faces”, that includes some  R’n’B tunes, turned up with rousing pop songs like “Glow” and started off even more with “Start again”. Gavin also liked to joke with the audience between the varied set.

Towards the end Gavin’s “Hearts On Fire” was a must. The song again animated everyone to dance, hop and sing along. He also let the audience play the game with the kneeling down and jumping up again.

The Irish didn’t disappoint

For the encore Gavin returned again all alone with his guitar. With “The Book of Love” it became quieter again, but not for long. Reunited with the band he paid the audience a short visit for the final during the album title song “Only Ticket Home” with his guitar. In the confetti rain everybody was yelling “Hey lala lalala” and turned the Bierhübeli into an Irish Pub at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Finally it had worked out for me to see Gavin James live. I had already read and heard a lot of good things about him. And with all my expectations I was not disappointed. The likeable red head has, as it seems to be common with the Irish, the music definitely in his blood and sings great ballads and pop songs with his beautiful voice. So also did the previous support acts Declan Greene and Saarloos.

The evening had been a lot of fun and didn’t end after that: Declan Greene and the trio of Saarloos continued the entertainment a bit. They grabbed a guitar behind the merch stand and played another song for those who didn’t have enough yet.

There you hope for a soon return.


Infos about the bands can be found here:

Declan Greene
Gavin James



Declan Greene


Gavin James

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