Pogues | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Considering Shane MacGowan's acrimonious split with the Pogues in 1991--he either quit or got sacked, depending on who you ask--this is one reunion a lot of people thought would never happen. Then again, who thought MacGowan would outlive the man who temporarily replaced him, Joe Strummer? His grip on this mortal coil has always been tenuous, a state obvious to anyone who's ever caught a glimpse of his infamous teeth and cockeyed stance or watched him struggle to remember his own lyrics. But MacGowan is someone willing to prove himself with miracles again and again. His songs, devastatingly incisive and beautiful, are never shaky, never stumbly, and always show up for work. And with bigger crowds turning out to hear them now than ever before, it's clear they've achieved something MacGowan never will: immortality. Remastered editions of the first five Pogues albums--long out of print in the U.S.--were released back in the fall; if you somehow missed out on possibly the greatest songwriter of the 80s, they're the perfect way to get up to speed. Girl in a Coma opens. See also Tuesday. a 7 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 312-752-6601 or 312-559-1212, $50. A

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