I'm no fan of St. Patrick's day, and I pretty vocal about it. I'm all for celebrating heritage; just don't let that heritage be obscured by drunken frat boys acting out a poor man's mardi gras. But I am thankful for St. Patrick's day '06, because last night I caught the final show of The Pogues four day return to NYC after a fifteen year absence. And it was a hell of show from the first moments when Shane McGowan stumbled out onto the stage looking drunk enough to be barred from most drinking establishments. Despite a failed attempt to balance his beer on his head, cursing the audience, introducing Old Main Drag as Sunny Side of the Street, and disappearing after every second song off-stage (to drink more, puke, nap, piss, who knows), he rocked through two hours and three encores of greatest hits and kept the crowd loud and raucous. When Spider Stacey asked for requests, the audience responded less coherently than some of McGowan's hopelessly confusing introductions, and the mosh pit that broke out during Fairytale of New York made me wonder if some folks were actually paying attention to the songs. It was loud, it was crazy, and it was one of the best concerts I've seen in a long time.