As local supergroup The Script kicked off a series of Irish shows in Belfast last night, they were rejoined by guitarist Mark Sheehan.
Founding member Sheehan was absent from the most recent American leg of their greatest hits tour.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World ahead of last night’s performance at the SSE Arena, singer Danny O’Donoghue confirmed that Mark has been taking time off to attend to family commitments.
“It’s his story to tell, but yeah, I think if I could paraphrase it, his kids needed a father and his wife needed a husband,” Danny told me.
“He’s been the engine of The Script for so long [I told him] that “if you want to take some time with your family, you are welcome to do so and I insist that you go and do it”.
“He took a little break. You refresh yourself and then come back with a new joie de vivre. And I think it was the best thing that could have happened to all of us.
“Me and Glen had to get on with that in the meantime. We did the American leg without him, but the second we all get back in the room for the Ireland tour, you’re just sitting there and you’re like, ‘There’s that shit, kin’ magic!'”
Danny acknowledged that there is added pressure on band members who have to juggle family life with the demands of touring.
He said: “I have no children. Mark has kids and Glen has a son, but what’s special about this band is that we’re there for each other. We’re not here for personal gain.
“When my lungs collapsed, the guys filled in for me. When I was going through a lot of shit, the guys left, right and middle did interviews for me. That’s what this band is… we’re a band of brothers and we stick together no matter what.
“There was probably a bit of kerfuffle… ‘Where is he, we need a statement.’ He’s just taking time off for his family. He comes back when he feels he wants to come back and we keep the fort up for him – it’s no problem.
“Anyone who has children will understand that – and those who don’t will not.”
Danny admitted he was nervous about getting back on stage after more than two years off the road.
“We did the first leg in America and I won’t lie, after not doing anything for two and a half years it’s like you never did it at all,” he told me.
“I was so nervous. It’s the ‘best of’ and it’s almost 14 years of lyrics to remember. But it was such a release of emotions, and I mean that from my point of view.
“We had stopped in the middle of the tour [due to the pandemic] and went into a house for almost 18 months and then didn’t know if we would ever play again, if we could hang out again.
“Just getting back out there to rehearse was something, and then filling a place full of people without masks – we’re on stage and we’re all singing, it felt like normality again.
“I went to a football match at Wembley and it was really strange to be among 40,000 people because up until then it was just me and my wife [in lockdown] for such a long time.
“I remember the hairs on the back of my neck stood up when they all started singing and singing. I realized I missed it so much and it was such an emotional moment.
“So there’s a new feeling of doing shows again. I swear it’s a drug for me. I’m just so excited to start playing and we’re catching a kind of surge that not many bands have the privilege of doing. Well, to start playing to huge crowds.
“Even though we were done in America I can’t wait to play those Irish gigs just because I’m on home soil.
“We spoke to Ed Sheeran two days ago and of course he just recently played Croke Park. For a lot of people, that would have been the first big show people were allowed out to see.
“He said there was a touch of magic in the air that made this wave of people finally get out there and be able to touch again, have a few drinks, sing their heads off and have the time of their lives. So we’re looking forward to reliving that in Ireland.”
The Script are back in Belfast tonight, the 3Arena in Dublin from 14th to 16th June inclusive and Musgrave Park in Cork on 19th June. Additional tickets are now available from Ticketmaster.
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