Billy's return to stage was 'terrifyingly lovely'

By Maria Pepper

Billy Roche onstage in the Arts Centre.
Billy Roche onstage in the Arts Centre.

The playwright Billy Roche described his return to the stage for a concert in Wexford Arts Centre as a 'terrifyingly lovely' experience.

The former frontman of the Roach Band was joined by ex-bandmate Mike Odlum on bass and keyboards and the legendary Pete McCamley, husband of the singer Aileen Donohoe on percussion/drums, for a rare gig inspired by his old red guitar.

Billy, who was a musician before he became a writer, sold the beloved guitar over 35 years ago and it came back into his life again not so long ago following a chance conversation with Matthew O'Brien of Cornerboy who asked him if he would like it back. Songs of a 'psychedelic folk' nature started spilling out of Billy once he was reunited with the precious instrument.

Hence the concert in a cabaret-style setting in the Arts Centre which was attended by other musicians including Pierce Turner, Mick Egan, James and Anne Meyler, Liam Merriman and Cyrl Murphy and featured original songs written by Billy in the past year.

It is 'too far back for me to remember' when he played his last gig, apart from two toe-in-the-water events at the Red Kettle Cafe last year.

'I was nervous I must say. I don't think anyone noticed it except Mike. It was a beautiful excitement. There was a lovely atmosphere. The audience were very beautiful. They were there for the night and gave me every chance,' said Billy.

The trio and possibly a few additional musicians will make a reappearance in the Arts Centre on November 3.

Wexford People

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