Universal Hall

Last updated
Universal Hall
Universal Hall Waterboys Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released9 June 2003
RecordedJanuary 2003 – February 2003 at Findhorn Foundation, Scotland
Genre Folk-rock
Label Puck
Producer Mike Scott
The Waterboys chronology
Fisherman's Blues, Part 2
Universal Hall
Karma to Burn
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg link
The Guardian Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [1]

Universal Hall is a 2003 (see 2003 in music) album released by The Waterboys. It is named after the theatre and performance hall at the Findhorn Foundation, which is pictured on the album cover. The album shows much more influence from folk music than its predecessor, A Rock in the Weary Land . It is the first Waterboys album to feature Steve Wickham since Room to Roam , and therefore the first Waterboys album with all three core members of the post-reunion band.


Mike Scott describes the album as a "record containing one Irish reel and eleven spiritual songs that articulate - to the best of my ability - the vision that drives, challenges, sustains and transforms me" . The cover was designed by art director Steve Manson.

James Christopher Monger, writing for Allmusic, describes "Every Breath Is Yours" as "simplified", and "Nick Drake-cloned" . Scott thanks Liebe Pugh for the song.

"Seek the Light" is unique amongst Waterboys recordings for borrowing heavily from contemporary dance music, specifically electronica. It includes part of the song "Etheric Currents" from the album Cosmic Breath, by May East and Craig Gibsone, both of whom also appear on "Seek the Light". East plays an instrument, the sandawa, which the album's recording notes claims "reproduces the frequency of the speed of light" .

"The Dance at the Crossroads" is the "one Irish reel" mentioned by Scott. It is a short instrumental written by Wickham, who performs the song on fiddle. Scott plays both tambron and rotosphere, while Naiff plays piano and flute.

Track listing

Tracks written by Mike Scott, except as noted.

  1. "This Light Is for the World" – 3:31
  2. "The Christ in You" – 3:18
  3. "Silent Fellowship" – 4:59
  4. "Every Breath Is Yours" – 4:28
  5. "Peace of Iona" – 6:13
  6. "Ain't No Words for the Things I'm Feeling" – 2:32
  7. "Seek the Light" (May East, Craig Gibsone, Scott) – 2:37
  8. "I've Lived Here Before" (Liam Ó Maonlaí, Scott) – 3:08
  9. "Always Dancing, Never Getting Tired" – 3:16
  10. "The Dance at the Crossroads" (Instrumental, Steve Wickham) – 1:13
  11. "E.B.O.L." – 2:15
  12. "Universal Hall" (Scott, Wickham) – 6:23


Ballet music

In 2007 British choreographer Christopher Bruce created a new work for the ballettmainz of the German Staatstheater Mainz using six songs from this album. The ballet premiered on 8 November 2007 in Mainz.

Order of the songs:

  1. I've Lived Here Before
  2. Always Dancing, Never Getting Tired
  3. Peace of Iona
  4. Seek the Light
  5. The Christ in You
  6. The Dance at the Crossroads


Chart (2003)Peak
Norwegian Albums Chart [2] 24
UK Albums Chart [3] 74


  1. David Peschek. "CD: The Waterboys: Universal Hall | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  2. Steffen Hung (2010-02-23). "The Waterboys - Universal Hall". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  3. "WATERBOYS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  1. ^ "Mike Scott, March 2003". Archived from the original on October 23, 2004. Retrieved October 30, 2005.
  2. ^ "Review of Universal Hall". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2005.
  3. ^ Scott, Mike (2003). "Recording Notes". Universal Hall. Puck Records. pp. 11–13.
  4. ^ "ballettmainz PROGRAMM XXV". Staatstheater Mainz. Archived from the original on December 2, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2007.

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