After the excitement, (A very loose description), of the Dylan concert weekend, an event which saw two of Slanes finest enjoy a backstage kickabout with UB40 and Bono forgetting his name, he asked a steward from Slane GFC if they knew who he was ! there was some disquiet amongst locals as to whether or not there should be any more concerts at all.
Admittedly this disquiet came mainly, though not exclusively, from those who would have styled themselves as Slane’s social elite and they weren’t backward at coming forward with their opinion.
But quite a sizeable contingent did want Slane to rock on which led to a group calling itself the Silent Majority stepping up and calling a public meeting in the back lounge of Slane House to discuss the situation, each of the anti concert folk was called upon and assured they would be welcome at the gathering and guaranteed their voices would be heard and they would not be shouted down.
In the build up to the meeting boxes were placed in all shops and pubs around the place into which people could place voting slips on which they were asked a simple question, ‘Should the concerts continue’ with the option to tick a yes or no.
When the votes were counted it was 75/25 in favour and at the meeting, which saw Henry Mountcharles and Jim Aiken in attendance, the vast majority spoke in favour of the status quo.
The show was back on the road.
The thing was when Bruce Springsteen was announced as the headline act and it emerged he would play a five hour set with no support the reaction locally was ‘Who he’ ? as the New Jersey native wasn’t nearly as well known then as he is now.
Or we thought.
The local GAA club were tasked again with on site stewarding which led to two members reporting for duty at 10 am to discover numerous bodies sound asleep under the various stall coverings.
It gave a whole new definition to overnight camping.
Now over the years Springsteen’s Slane concert has become almost mythical, there are more people claiming to be there than claimed to be in the GPO in 1916, and while we didn’t bother counting them we do know there was far more there than the official attendance of 80,000
And at least one man went off richer than he arrived and we don’t mean Bruce.
Back then when you arrived at the entrance gate a security man checked your ticket tore it in half and gave you one part back for a keepsake.
Except this one guy didn’t.
Unless you asked for your half of the ticket he kept all of it and mid afternoon, by which time he had amassed hundreds, if not thousands, of full tickets he was seen selling them at face value in the village !
No wonder so many claimed to be there.
And what a show they witnessed as the moment when the Boss performed ‘The River’, has surely become Slane’s most iconic moment.
At least one Slane man was so impressed he has subsequently travelled the globe to see Springsteen in action.
So how did Henry follow that ?
Well first of all he had to recover from a quickfire putdown from Jim Aiken.
Legend has it that Mounty enquired of Aiken what he should do to celebrate the Castle’s 200th anniversary and Aiken being a South Armagh man replied, ‘Give it back to them that owns it’ !
When he recovered the power of speech Henry announced Queen for 1986.
The day Freddie Mercury took to Slane’s stage he was introduced by none other than Duleek’s finest DJ Ken Murray and the famous DJ of Spiders Disco at the Beechmount Hotel,sadly no more!
The other notable thing about that day was that for the first time ever the rain fell in Slane on the day of a show.
It also marked the day one Navan woman took a sip of a drink from a plastic container that was being passed around and immediately spat it out, just as well because she was later informed it had been spiked with heroin.
Bowie came and went in 1987 and while he attracted a decent gathering there was nothing like the buzz as there had been two years previously or even when Queen performed 12 months before.
Bowie was the end of the beginning.