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Miami Showband returns to the Opera House

By Eddie McIlwaine

Love Is, the ballad Miami Showband singer Fran O'Toole wrote only two months before he was gunned down with other members of the band in 1975, will echo out again at the Opera House on Wednesday, September 17.



The new look Miami is making a poignant return to Belfast 33 years after the infamous massacre that changed the look of the entertainment business at the height of the troubles.

And Love Is will be performed at the concert by former Eurovision winner Dana and Miami survivor Des Lee who helped Fran write the romantic song.

“It's going to be a tearful moment when they stand up together for the performance,” said Dana's musician brother Gerry Brown who is joining Lee and the other survivors of the shooting

on stage that special night.

“My sister is returning from an American tour in time for the Opera House date and is delighted to have been invited to take part.”

In fact, Dana sang Love Is last year when a memorial to Fran and the other two Miami musicians who died in the attack by UVF terrorists was unveiled in Dublin.

The recording by O'Toole swept into the Irish charts when it was released soon after the outrage in July 1975.

Now it will figure prominently again in the one-off concert at the Opera House at which Miami survivors Lee, Stephen Travers and Ray Millar will be joined by Brown, Barry Woods, ex-Clubsound, and musician Johnny Fean, ex-Horslips.

Love Is which will always be associated by Irish idol O'Toole, was released posthumously after the killing as an immediate tribute to Fran and the band.

The other two Miami members who died were trumpet players Tony Gerrity and Brian McCoy.

The Miami show bus, on its way home from a dance in Banbridge on the night of July 31, 1975, was waved down by UVF gunmen wearing Army uniforms.

Stephen Travers, who has written a bestselling book about the Miami, was seriously injured in the massacre. He survived the attack along with Des Lee.

Drummer Ray Millar of Antrim wasn't on the bus — he travelled home by car after the dance.

Two of the murder gang were killed at the scene when a bomb they were attempting to load onto the Miami bus exploded prematurely.

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