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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisTechnically speaking, The Cranberries first reunited in 2010, but considering it was just a greatest hits tour, it was unclear just how well the foursome's chemistry would translate to the studio. Thankfully, 2012's Roses (Cooking Vinyl) follows right in step with 2001's Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, but there's also a newfound maturity that trails the Irish outfit's sometimes sweet and often times sassy musical journey.
Front woman Dolores O'Riordan looked and sounded absolutely radiant as she charismatically prowled the stage, while guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler were a whip smart rhythm section that served an equally integral role in the group's Celtic-influenced alt-rock/jangle pop platform. Kicking off the evening with mega-smashes like the euphoric "Dreams" and the charming "Linger" also helped pinpoint what made the band so unique, while both tunes have maintained their integrity despite being recorded nearly 20 years ago.
Despite crossing over to seasoned status, The Cranberries are still a relevant force in today's adult alternative world, as demonstrated by a hearty sampling of songs from "Roses." "Tomorrow" was packed with upbeat energy, "Conduct" possessed the immediate pop sensibility that made the aforementioned tracks instant success stories and "Schizophrenic Playboy" bustled with unbridled intensity.
The blending of old and new continued to serve the 90-minute set well, though familiar favorites like the dreamy duo "When You're Gone" and "Free To Decide" were runaway highlights from the band's melodic annals. In the more muscular category, "Zombie" and "Salvation" sparked impassioned sing-a-longs and brought to light O'Riordan's underlying ferocity. No matter the material's tone or temperament, The Cranberries once again connected during this comeback show of sorts, but considering how well the players gelled, it was like they never left in the first place.
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