Dream gig has come true for Limerick man of magic

Limerick magician Steve Spade with his Merlin Award. Photo: David Doyle Photography.

“Never give up on your dreams” is the message to people, from Irish magician, Steve Spade, who was honoured as one of the world’s greatest magicians at the Magic Oscars in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Spade, from Coonagh, Limerick, said he was left dumbstruck when his boyhood hero, 21-time Emmy award-winner and “King of Magic” David Copperfield, asked to meet him in Vegas prior to Spade being awarded the illustrious Merlin Award at the famous Ballagio Hotel, in Sin City.

“I was so shocked, he said he had heard good things about me and he wished me the best of luck with the magic,” said Spade, (38).

Spade, who’s other hero is the late great escape artist, Harry Houdini, described the meeting with Copperfield – also a past Merlin Award winner – as “surreal, a blur”.

“Obviously I have been watching Copperfield since I was a kid and getting to meet the Houdini of this era was just incredible, the trip couldn’t have been better.”

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“He came across as such a sincere and genuine man, and I’m sure he meets thousands of people every week at his shows in the MGM Grand Hotel in Vegas.”

With his boyhood dream achieved, and his award in the pocket, Spade also had time for some romance on the trip when he proposed to his partner Elaine Daly going on bended knee to in the Bellagio conservatory gardens, “and she said ‘yes’”.

“Her guard was down, so it was the perfect time, the whole trip was just a whirlwind of positive emotions.”

The Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Gerard Mitchell reached out to Spade when he arrived home to Shannonside with the gold Oscars-style award and both posed for photos outside King John’s Castle where Spade previously entranced crowds when he escaped from being burned at the stake.

Spade, who has performed a host of death-defying stunts – including escaping from being chained inside a box beneath the surface of the River Shannon – was also recently made an honorary member of the prestigious American Society of Magicians, and, Global Society of Escape Artists is now known as “the Irish Houdini” due to his dramatic stunts.

The Limerick man will perform at Electric Picnic, at Fish Town, next Sunday “which is always great, it’s a circus-freak-show kind of vibe with loads of fire breathers”.

“It’s great to be back doing that kind of high energy festival type gig after the loss of gigs during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Hoping to build on his growing profile in America Spade is first bringing a new tour of performances across Ireland later this year.

“I’m hoping to do an Irish tour called Lost Magic which is based on the idea that a lot of magicians I would have looked up to and who are past Merlin award winners, have died, and I feel like their magic could be lost with them, so some of the show will be a tribute to these past masters to keep their magic alive.”

However, Spade, who has also emerged as a sought after magic consultant on the set of movies, is now rubbing shoulders with his heroes.

‘Copperfield definitely has inspired me to go to do bigger and better things, and you know, they say you should never meet your heroes because you’ll only be disappointed, but with Copperfield, I think sometimes there are exceptions.”

He dedicated his Merlin award to his son Michael and said: “Kids are the future and whatever Michael wants to be I hope I inspire him, so no matter what he wants to be I will always support him.”