The first in a series of live pilot concerts took place at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin on Thursday evening.

James Vincent McMorrow headlined to a crowd of 500. Sorcha Richardson opened the show as special guest.

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"I've never been as nervous for anything in my entire life," McMorrow told the crowd. "It just means the world."

Tickets were available in pods up to a maximum of four people Photo:

As the crowd warmly received old favourites and tracks from McMorrow's upcoming album Grapefruit Season, the sense of possibility was in the June air.

"It's been 16 months - you've got to give us an encore!" he laughed.

The crowd duly obliged. Returning to the stage, McMorrow said he hoped it was the start of the summer people deserve.

The National Concert Hall made the concert available to view online free of charge on and NCH YouTube, giving audiences all over the world the opportunity to share in the experience.

Sorcha Richardson kicked the evening off as special guest Screenshot: National Concert Hall/YouTube

The concert was presented by the National Concert Hall with the support of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the OPW, and Dublin City Council.

Tickets to the gig, which sold out instantly, were available in pods up to a maximum of four people.

Speaking earlier on RTÉ Radio 1's Drivetime, McMorrow described the level of anticipation amongst all involved in putting on the show as "probably untenably high".

"I think we've had a tough year as a sector, as an industry," he told hosts Sarah McInerney and Cormac Ó hEadhra.

"This is the first time where I've seen smiles on people's faces, genuinely - just seeing these people back to work - and that gets me in a way I never really anticipated.

"I was excited for this, but just being able to see everybody back at the thing that they adore and that they love is everything. It's really everything."

He said playing live "is like an obsession for all of us".

Fans arriving at the show Photo:

"But this genuinely does feel different tonight. I think the connection that's going to exist between the crowd and me and the band tonight is going to be something that I'm not sure we'll ever replicate because we're coming to it from a position of such supreme and profound loss of so many things - and we're getting back.

"It doesn't feel like a false dawn; it feels real and tangible to us all."

A number of measures were implemented to ensure the safety of those attending the show, including staggered access times, socially distanced queuing systems, hygiene stations, socially distanced pods for attendees and the wearing of masks when outside the pod.

CEO of the National Concert Hall Robert Read said the NCH was thrilled to lead the long-awaited return of live music as part of the Government's reopening plan for the country.

The sun goes down on a memorable night in Dublin Screenshot: National Concert Hall/YouTube