Steve Wall reveals how The Stunning played a private gig for Vicky Phelan before she died
LIKE so many artists whose global ambitions never made it to the stratosphere despite their extraordinary talent, Steve Wall of The Stunning saw his dreams fall to earth in 1994.
he Stunning was one of Ireland’s biggest bands with hits like Romeo’s On Fire and Brewing Up A Storm, but they had to crack
survive financially on the international scene.
By 1994, Steve and the band knew that wasn’t going to happen, so they called it a day.
Nine years later in 2003, The Stunning reformed for a tour of Ireland and for the first time Steve and the band, which includes his brother Joe, recognized and felt the impact they had made on the lives of their fans love like never before
They later had a very personal experience with an amazing “super fan,” fearless cervical cancer activist Vicky Phelan, who asked her live on The Late Late Show to sing at her funeral.
“I don’t think we realized until we got back together in 2003 and reissued the Paradise In The Picturehouse album and went on tour again how popular the band was and the love there was for the band.
“That first tour in 2003 was completely sold out. There were people flying back from England and America… flying home to see The Stunning!
“We met them at the merchandise stand after the show and heard their stories, like how some teenagers would sneak out their bedroom window to watch us play.
“That’s what Imelda May did.
“She told me we were the first gig she saw and that in Dublin she crawled out of her bedroom window, got on a bus and came to see us at the Boxing Club in Drogheda when she was about 16.”
Vicky Phelan has been her most high-profile fan in recent years.
Before she became a household name, one of her friends contacted The Stunning through their website and shared how Vicky received cancer treatment.
“They had bought tickets for the Mungret Music Festival in Limerick, where we were playing, but then Vicky got sick and couldn’t go,” says Steve.
“The message said Vicky was a huge fan of the band, adding, ‘You wouldn’t believe how much that woman loved you. Is there any way I can come and do a gig for her at her house?’”
The private show for Vicky and her friends ended up taking place at the same venue where she had her wedding reception.
“It was a big gathering of all their close people, about 80 of them,” says Steve. “That morning, Vicky had just received the good news that the experimental drug Pembro was working and the tumors had shrunk.
“She was over the moon, the timing was great and it was a night of celebration. There’s a clip from the night in the Vicky documentary.”
Unfortunately, Vicky’s treatment ultimately failed.
“She was on The Late Late Show and because it was supposed to be her last time on TV, The Late Late contacted us and asked us to appear on the show as a nice surprise for Vicky.
“And then she pissed us off that night. She said, ‘Will you play at my funeral?’ That being asked on live TV. We joked with her about it afterwards.
“Last time we saw Vicky, Joe and I we played an acoustic show in Lisdoonvarna in December 2021 and she came with all her friends, about 20 of them.
“That was shortly after she did ‘The Late Late Show.’
“Her funeral was a private family affair, but the memorial was beautiful.
“It was lovely to hear her family and friends deliver the eulogies and share the stories of how Vicky was a real force of nature, a great friend and a great mother.”
The Stunning are looking forward to a new festival year and a show in Dublin at the 3Olympia in November, but in the meantime Steve and Joe’s side group The Walls have released a new and final album called Stray Sparks which is due out in March and is available to pre-order now.
https://www.independent.ie/news/steve-wall-reveals-how-the-stunning-played-a-private-gig-for-vicky-phelan-before-she-died-42325907.html Steve Wall reveals how The Stunning played a private gig for Vicky Phelan before she died