POPULAR Limerick band Size2Shoes were left breathless at a gig in New York when they had the amazing opportunity of providing backing vocals for Sting during an impromptu performance of his classic song Every Breath You Take.
The Limerick duo – brothers Owen and Michael ‘Moley’ Ó Súilleabháin – were performing at actor Russell Crowe’s Indoor Garden Party in the Gramercy Theatre in New York at the weekend when the Police frontman abruptly appeared on stage.
Little did the audience at the $25-$55-a-head concert know that it was a set-up, that Crowe had organised for Sting to perform – and that Size2Shoes were in on the act.
“We heard about Sting making an appearance the evening of our first rehearsal - I must admit I welled up,” said Owen afterward.
“Sting is a total vocal idol of mine. We had a laugh with him backstage too and talked about the time when he used to live in Roundstone. I told him that Bill Whelan, composer of Riverdance, had bought his house, which he was very interested to learn,” he added.
The duo - sons of world-renowned composer and head of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in UL Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and Sean-nós singer Nóirín Ní Riain - moved to New York earlier this year to pursue their career, having already forged links with Russell Crowe, who is listed as an executive producer on their new album Happy Songs.
“Russell is in New York shooting Noah and the Ark and he planned this gig a couple of months ago so we all met up in his trailer on the set out in Brooklyn a few days beforehand,” explained Owen of the gig, which is the second Crowe has put on with Alan Doyle, lead singer of the folk rock group Great Big Sea from Newfoundland.
“He was doing night time shoots, so we all met up out there at 1.30am and ran through the whole set, we finished up around 5am, he’s a hardcore worker,” he added. The duo sang three songs at the concert, all from the new album, which the Australian actor had “personally requested”.
“The whole night was totally surreal, the most surreal moment was walking into the after party behind Russell while he was singing our song we had done that night called Breathless,” added Owen.
The duo hope that Crowe may even bring his touring Indoor Garden Party gig to Limerick given his deep connection with Richard Harris, whom he befriended when they filmed Ridley Scott’s Gladiator together.
Watch a video of Sting’s performance here.