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

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