OTwo Reviews: Oliver Tree’s 3 Olympia Homecoming (Of Sorts)

Ciarán Howley dissects the chaos of Oliver Tree's gig in 3Olympia.

There are few performers like Oliver Tree. Madcap, unhinged, hysterical and confusing are words that don’t even come close to capturing the heightened mania of his show, but are meant in the best possible way. From the moment he began the Dublin rendition of his Last Ride Tour to the final song, Tree is best at riling his audience up by means of trolling them, and even turning them against him. His rallying chants turn his audience into an angry mob - “F*ck TikTok”, “F*ck America” and “F*ck the UK” - and screams at them to “Sook his f***ing d*ck!” for lacking enthusiasm. Though, I did appreciate that Tree, unlike too many artists, knew Ireland was not part of the U.K. and did enough research to know that chant would get a rise out of people. It almost works too well at one point when Tree fakes a crash on a scooter and he’s noticeably taken aback when the crowd call him a “p**sy” without provocation. 

Antics aside, Tree puts his money where his mouth is and puts on a good show. Diehards and casual fans were not left disappointed as Tree mixes the bread-and-butter tracks from his oeuvre like ‘Miss You’, ‘Life Goes On’ and ‘Cash Machine’ with cuts from his newest album Cowboy Tears and a cover of ‘Sandstorm’ as a jolting mid-concert surprise. There were several costume changes - from Tree’s signature look of oversized flares, red and purple windbreaker and sunglasses, to a look I can only describe as' lollipop lady’ and an impressive cowboy get-up in which Tree closes the show. The songs from Cowboy Tears are surprisingly touching considering Tree’s habit for edginess: “It’s okay for tough cookies like us to cry,” he says, though not altogether sincerely. While it’s all part of Tree’s elaborate game of performance, little is said on stage with any basis in reality. 

If you didn’t know anything about Oliver Tree before seeing the show (me and my friend) you might think he was born in Ireland and went to “St. Mary’s” before his family packed their bags and upped sticks to the United States. In fact, Tree tells us his real accent is Irish but the record label made him put on an American falsetto to increase mainstream appeal. This fabrication is shattered by a revelation of what was probably the worst fake Irish accent that I’ve ever heard - ever. “Sook me fooking d*ck it’s me nanny’s eighty-sixth birthday today!” Tree tells us his real name is McNipple - it’s Nickell - and that every song, including the first, is the last song. Having to chant “one more tune” before every song becomes a bit tiring at times as do some of the antics that were funnier the first time around. But it is a refresher from the usual lines about Dublin being the artists’ favourite city in the world - by the concert’s end Tree jokingly espouses his hatred for Dublin, and for the crowd, and he wishes he never, ever has to come back. 

While it was fictitious, Oliver Tree’s performance at the 3Olympia was a confusing if not undeniably entertaining homecoming show.