Alzheimer's Society Music Benefit
Ulster Hall, Belfast - November 3rd 2011
Featuring The Divine Comedy, Ash, The Undertones with support from John D'Arcy
This special concert has been put together to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society. The three main acts will each perform one of their classic albums in sequence.
The Divine Comedy, featuring Neil Hannon and a string quartet will play the 1994 'Promenade' album. Tracks including ‘Tonight We Fly’, ‘The Summerhouse’ and ‘When The Lights Go Out All Over Europe’ will all be aired.
Ash will present their first ‘proper’ album, ‘1977’ as the original three piece. This record topped the UK chart in 1996 and fielded songs such as ‘Girls From Mars’, Angel Interceptor’, Goldfinger’ and ‘Oh Yeah’. The Undertones will perform their debut self-titled album from 1979, including 'Teenage Kicks’, ‘Get Over You’, ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ and ‘Here Comes The Summer’.
Tim Wheeler from Ash explains his involvement in the event: “My Dad passed away in January this year. He'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2008 and lived the last 6 months of his life in the Psychiatry Of Old Age Ward at Downe Hospital. I spent a lot of time in the hospital with him and saw many other patients and families going through exactly the same thing as we were going through. “As my Dad's condition deteriorated I felt very helpless as there was nothing I could do except visit him as much as possible. When I heard that Neil's father had also been diagnosed with Alzheimer's I thought that we could actually do something using our music to help fight Alzheimer's. It is a growing worldwide problem and as yet there is no cure. The main hope seems to be in prevention and a lot of funding for research is needed. “So using the uplifting power of great music we are going to make a contribution. It's going to be a wonderful and emotional night for me. The Undertones have been a big influence on Ash, they are Northern Irish music legends and it's going to be a real treat hearing them play their first album. “I've been a friend and massive fan of Neil for years too and always love being on the same stage as The Divine Comedy. With Ash, we're really excited to be playing our debut album '1977' in full, something that we've only ever done twice before. My Dad loved music, playing piano was one of his joys and he would never miss an Ash gig in Belfast. I know he'll be there in spirit. “As well as raising funds for the Alzheimer's Society I'd like to use our gig to say how important a service the Health Service is and that we can't let it be taken away. I'd also like to say how grateful my family and I are for the Health Service and the kindness of the staff at The Downe Hospital for the care my father received.”
Neil Hannon, The Divine Comedy says: “My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several years ago. It is a debilitating and frustrating condition, and affects not just the sufferer but all those around them. It is however possible, with early diagnosis and medication, to continue living a meaningful and enjoyable life as my dad has shown. I find him as entertaining now as ever, just in a much more random sort of way. “Of course being my Dad he decided to use his capacity as a public figure to talk openly about the inner workings of his ailing mind. To help demystify and de-stigmatise it a little. He's a very awesome man. I'm delighted to finally get this opportunity to do my bit for the cause. It should be a fantastic night!”
Ian Thomas, Alzheimer's Society, Operations Director for Northern Ireland and Wales, adds: “It's brilliant that Ash, The Divine Comedy and The Undertones have chosen to support Alzheimer's Society through this gig. Not only do music fans get to hear three great bands but it raises awareness of dementia and helps tackle some of the stigma that surrounds the condition. “There are currently 17,700 people with dementia in Northern Ireland and by 2021 this is set to rise to 25000. Every ticket sold will help support people to live well with dementia today and fund vital research to find a cure for tomorrow.”
The event is part of Belfast Music Week which runs from October 30 - November 5. Belfast City Council, with support from the NI Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland, has organised a packed programme of events in the run-up to the MTV European Music Awards which take place at the Odyssey Arena on November 6. A full programme of events will be announced soon and will be available via the council's website www.belfastcity.gov.uk
Doors at 7pm. Tickets, £20 and £22 will go on sale on Thursday 22nd September at 9am at the Ulster Hall box office: www.ulsterhall.co.uk Tel. 02890 334455.
Tickets will also be available at Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.co.uk and from Crowdsurge www.crowdsurge.com
Finally, you can donate to the cause by text: Text: ULST77 to 70070 for a donation of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.