Publication: Los Angeles Times (San Diego County edition) 
Date Published: Wednesday, September 13, 1989 
By: Thomas K. Arnold
Section: Calendar, Part 6, Pg. 2, Clm. 1, Entertainment Desk

Gee, it was sure nice to see the Pogues last Wednesday night at the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park, opening for Bob Dylan. It would have been even nicer had lead singer Shane MacGowan been there, too.

But the London-based Irish pub band walked on stage without MacGowan and stumbled through an awkward 30-minute set, prompting one disgruntled fan to remark, "Seeing the Pogues without Shane MacGowan is like seeing the Doors without Jim Morrison."

That analogy might be a little hyperbolic, but it is true that MacGowan is not just the Pogues' lead singer, he's a flamboyant front man and writer of most of the band's material, an infectious blend of traditional Celtic pub music and ferocious punk rock. 

And, since the group had known for at least a week that MacGowan wouldn't be there -- he fell ill on the eve of their U.S. tour and remained at home while his compadres flew to the States -- the proper thing to do would have been to either postpone the date or at least alert the fans.

Or the promoter, for that matter. John Nelson of Bill Silva Presents was as unaware of MacGowan's impending absence as anyone else, and, when he did find out, it was only a few hours before show time.

"When I didn't see (MacGowan) after the sound check, I walked up to the tour manager and said, 'Aren't you missing a band member?' " Nelson recalled. "He said, 'Oh, yeah, Shane's been ill; he just got out of the hospital, and we think he'll be rejoining us next week.'

"I asked him why he didn't let us know in advance, and he just said, 'Um, I don't know.' And I told him that, while it was too late to do anything now, I was very disappointed in the band's failure to communicate with us. It wasn't fair to us, and it certainly wasn't fair to the fans."

©Copyright 1989 The Times Mirror Company 
All rights reserved 

Your intrepid maintainer is DzM