Ahead of the release of a live album, Donal Scanell remembers the late, great singer-songwriter Mic Christopher, forever remembered for his classic song Heyday.

These words are coming to you as we approach the 20th anniversary of the Heyday singer Mic Christopher’s last birthday with us.

As September 20th became September 21st in 2001 and he went from being 31 years old to 32 years old, Mic was onstage in the packed Lobby Bar in Cork.

A near perfect venue that Mic sold out every time he played.

Thankfully, there was a resourceful chap called Emmett Murphy in the audience who recorded the entire gig on his MiniDisc. Twenty years later, to mark this auspicious anniversary, Emmett’s recording is being released digitally and is available to pre-order on vinyl.

We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Mic Christopher Live At The Lobby - listen to a preview

The Lobby Bar was the only venue Mic sold out when he was with us. Just how huge Mic Christopher became after he died is a bitter irony.

The fact that he was propelled to fame as the soundtrack to a Guinness ad about someone swimming back to America to say sorry to a friend feels fitting. Guinness was Mic’s tipple, he was born in the States and swimming 3000 miles to say sorry feels just like something he’d do. If only he’d been around to promote his own music and make more albums how huge he could have become.

There are so many ‘if onlys’ about Mic.

If only he’d lived longer is the biggest and bitterest ‘if only’.

Mic was an obscure yet much loved singer-songwriter when he was alive. He had a special glow that anyone who encountered him noted. Many attribute that glow to his near death experience just a few years before he died. A motorbike accident that could have killed or paralysed him did neither. He emerged a changed man, or so the legend goes. He was born again with a new zest for life and a conviction to only write positive songs.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Listening to Mic’s song Listen Girl, I had imagined him lying in bed for weeks in his head to toe cast, writing the lyrics in his head:

‘Like when couldn’t get out of bed baby, Oh I could hardly walk’

Silly me! I only found out recently that Mic wrote that song before his bike crash.

And that’s the point about Mic, the more you think you know, the less you know.

I only really got to know Mic in this post-crash phase when he had truly seen the light. He was fervent and passionate about how things ought to be without being self-righteous. He would have made a very interesting pop star, that’s for sure. It aches when I think about what could have been. He was so interesting without the spotlight focused on him - what could have happened when the whole world hung on his every word?

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Watch: Mic Christopher sings live on the Ireland AM couch in 2001

In fairness, the world only had limited opportunities to be aware of Mic when he was with us. His debut Heyday EP started life as a DIY release burned onto CD one by one using Mic’s home computer, the sleeve glued together in his Dartmouth Square flat. He hand-wrote his phone number on the back of each copy and loved nothing more than getting texts from people who bought it. You could only buy it from Road Records, Mic’s website or at gigs.

His big break came when he wrote to Mike Scott and got himself booked as The Waterboys’ support act for an entire European Tour. The Heyday EP was repressed properly and Mic filled a suitcase with copies as he headed off on tour. Little did we know we’d never see him conscious again. I often think about those who got to see him on that tour. I’d love to know what they thought.

Heyday is streamed over a million times a year all over the world. Most Mic Christopher fans haven’t seen him live and that’s the whole point of releasing an audience recording as an album. The opportunity now exists to press play and imagine you’re in The Lobby Bar as Mic commands the room. What other options do we have?

As well as Live At The Lobby being available to pre-order here, there’s also a concert happening in Whelan's, Dublin, on Sept 21st to mark Mic’s birthday featuring Ailbhe Reddy, Cry Monster Cry, Mundy, Paddy Casey and Steve Wickham.

This concert is funded by the Live Performance Support Scheme of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media which means that the entire ticket price (less VAT) will be going to Aidlink.ie to fund their work empowering young women in Kenya and Uganda by helping them complete their education.

Mic Christopher: Live At The Lobby is released on September 21st - find out more here.