On the eve of his tour to promote his latest album "A Scruff At Heart", Gilbert  took time out to answer a few questions for

With the tour soon to commence, how do you feel about touring and do you enjoy playing live?

Yes, unlike making a record you have that unique experience of performing in front of an audience who if they respond well to your songs is something very special.

Do you suffer from pre-show nerves?

Of course, I would be more nervous if I didn't.

During the last few tours you have been supported on stage by Mick Parker, Julian Webster Greaves and two backing vocalists.  What line up can we expect on this tour?

Apart from those already mentioned, a String Quartet, and a 3 piece Rhythm Section.

How do you decide on your set list?

Tracks I think the audience would like and those that sound good live, in some cases even better than on record.

What tracks do you intend to play from "A Scruff At Heart"?

Quite a few but only in first half of the show.

To answer a question often posed by your many American fans, can you see a time when you might play live again in America?

For the last ten years we have been trying and believe me we have tried.  It was meant to finally happen this past Summer but again problems arose.  We will get there but it has to be right.

I know you played some dates in Denmark and Norway on the 2004 tour, but do you have any plans for any more European dates?

Yes, it's being set up for the early part of next year.

What is the most amusing thing that has happened to you while on stage?

It's usually when I begin a song in a different key to that of the band.  The most bizarre was a few years back playing a New Years Eve concert in Portugal that was meant to take place before midnight, but did not begin until half an hour into the New Year and singing 'Nothing Rhymed' to the sound of party poppers, crackers and fireworks going off completely drowning us out.

My own personal favourite song of yours is "The Niceness Of It All".  Have you ever considered playing it live, especially as you now have a guitarist on stage?

I played it on tour 1980/81 after release of 'Off Centre'.  I love the original version on 'Rare Tracks' better than the 'Off Cent>

Olympia in Dublin has to be special however, what makes it special is not so much the venue as the audience.  If  I had to pick a venue it will be the Albert Hall when we get to do it.