Singer Alistair Griffin performing at a Candlelit Christmas show at St Olave’s Church with the Ebor string quartet decided to close the show with an impromtu performance of the Fairytale of New York as a tribute to Shane who’d passed away earlier that day.
Alistair said: “We hadn’t planned it or practiced the song with the string players but it just seemed the right thing to do and the crowd all sang along.”
A video post on his Facebook page showed the performance and explained his love of the song in a tribute: “Our tribute to Shane McGowan last night in York. I’ve sung this song a thousand times and it’s always poignant, a song of hopes and dreams. Last night more emotional than ever. Rest in peace sir…when the band finished playing they howled out for more!”
The video of performance quickly racked up thousands of views with comments and further tributes from fans in Ireland and round the world.
Rita Heneghan from Mayo in Ireland “So lovely… his struggles are over, and he left us with a legacy of great music.. RIP Shane … So proud.”
Debs Cordoza from Gibraltar commented, “Absolutely beautiful, perfect tribute”
Tom Greene from Lincolnshire, “So beautiful, still makes my eyes leak even after all these years! Thank you for posting this amazing tribute.”
The show was part of Ignite Concerts Candlelit Christmas which ran for three nights at St Olave’s Church on Marygate. With the 14th century church bathed in candlelight concert goers were treated to classic Christmas songs performed by the Ebor Quartet. Alistair joined later to lead the carol singing on what became an emotional night.
Alistair said about the Fairytale of New York: “As a songwriter who’s tried to write a few, this song really is the perfect Christmas song, set on Christmas Eve, a couple telling a story to each other of hope’s and dreams, of loss but with an uplifting ending and magical melody. To me it’s the greatest Christmas song and Shane McGowan a genius.”
The song is a regular feature as the finale of the Big Christmas Concert which Griffin fronts, this year taking place at Q Church, off Micklegate December 8,9, 15 and 16.
Last year Alistair, who shot to fame on the BBC talent show Fame Academy in 2002, scored a number 5 hit with a track co-penned with his former mentor, BeeGee Robin Gibb.