CT Show Review 10/25/13
I wanted to write up a quick review for the show in Lincoln, NE on 10/25. But.. I know me.. and there won’t be anything quick about it. So, just bear with me and I’ll get you through this.
I went to Lincoln a day early because of some connections my new Celtic Thunder friends have, we were going to see the guys before their interview with a local television news station. It turned out to be Emmet and Colm. We all had a nice conversation, got a few pictures, and watched the interview from the lobby. It was great!
So.. for the concert.. I can never remember the songs in the order they were performed. As anyone who’s been to a CT show knows, it’s almost impossible to remember without writing it down and who has time for that when you’re so busy having a blast and getting caught up in the music, right? HA HA. So I’ll go through the songs first by solos and then group numbers.
We’ll start with Big G! He did Both Sides Now… absolutely amazing! I’d honestly never heard of it until I was told he was performing it. I looked it up on YouTube and fell in love! It’s so perfect for him! He also did The Grande Affaire… I can’t describe it! It’s like he was remenicing a forbidden love at one time and the evolution of it… It almost felt like taking a trip into his head while he was recalling private moments… That’s the amazing storyteller he is though! Then, of coure, Life With You. The crowd went WILD! (and we were a pretty wild bunch).. George was all smiles and insanely into the song! It couldn’t have been any better.
Okay.. now Ryan. I know he started with Carrickfergus. He didn’t go into detail about how special the song was to him, but from previous chats and blogs, I remembered that it was the first song he performed on stage after his accident. It just made the song so much more special. It’s a great song itself but with him singing it and knowing how much it means to him, it was just outstanding. Then it was Hunter’s Moon. This song on the DVD was honestly not one of my favorites but live.. Ry blew my mind! I’ve heard time and time again how perfectly he performs it.. and that doesn’t come close enough to the truth! He completely nails it! The arrangement is spot on.. Cudos to Dave Munro for that! That man truly knows his performer’s voices! It was great to see the ‘Dark Destroyer’ rear his head again! And lastly, but certainly not least, The House of the Rising Sun… When the first chords were played, all of us went insane! And it didn’t stop at the beginning! I would almost say that at least someone was cheering and/or clapping and/or whistling through the entire thing! You couldn’t keep that grin of Ry’s from being plastered on his face if you’d wanted to.. But why in the world would anyone want that? And Dave was beyond description during the guitar solo! From the moment he picked up the electric, I had chills!
Neil started with Carolina Rua. It’s such a fun song and so great to see the band get up front and center and get the attention they deserved! Neil sings every song with such pure emotion. If it’s happy, he’s happy and so are you. If it’s sad, he sings like his heart is breaking and so is your’s… It’s such a talent that he has in that. It was so wonderful to see the smile on his face as he moved around the stage! Next, I have to mention one of my top 5 favorite songs of the show, Perfect. And boy is that the perfect word to describe it! Seeing that amazing Declan up front and center, doing what he does best.. indescribable.. But besides that.. The song just fits Neil so well! He looks to have such fun doing it!!! And we had fun getting into it.. clapping and singing along! And of course, the best surprise for me was Neil singing Summer in Dublin! That song too is in my top 5. I wanted so badly to see him sing it and I was not disappointed one bit! The feeling that man can put in a song gets me every time!
Now let’s move on to Keith.. and the gorgeous song, Rosa. Such a beautiful job done with the whole set up. The shadows of Rosa on the rocks in the background. The feeling in the words. The only thing, I though, that was lacking was the emotion on his face. I didn’t see it. But then again I wasn’t where I had a great view of his face either, so he may have showed the emotion but I didn’t see it. Oh Tears of Hercules! WOW!!! What a song!!! Kieran up front with the pipes.. amazing! I’ve always had a love for the pipes! Keith hit every note perfectly and the crowd loved it. When he holds out the last one, I just melted! And of course, last but definitely not least, Now We Are Free. Not one of my favorites on the album or DVD. But live.. Just wow! I can’t describe! I think without the dancers it was tons better. They just took away from the raw beauty of the song. That’s all in my opinion so no angry mobs here!
Colm.. what a guy! Although he only had 2 solos, he made the most out of both of them and just nailed it! I can’t say enough positive things about him!!! The first one he performed was Katie. Now, I’m not a huge fan of such a charasmatic performer being stuck behind a stationary instrument, i.e. Colm at the piano for this one. But not even a piano could keep his personality from shining through! He sang wish such passion that your heart just broke for him, feeling like it was he who had lost the love of his life. I think it helped that he was straight in front of me so I got the full effect of him and his “heartbreak”. Ah.. The Edge of the Moon. What a perfect choice for him. It’s so beautifully arranged and he just sings it magnificiently. I love the song even more now than I did before.
On to darling Emmet. As a side note, he is so growing into his role and popularity. It’s good to see him start to come out of his shell. Anyway, back to the music. The first song he did was Danny Boy. It’s such a popular classic but he doesn’t sing it like it’s an over done song. He used just as much passion as one would use if it were the first time they were publically performing a piece. He was so into the words and story that you couldn’t help but feel the emotion pouring off of him. And that beautiful voice? Need I say more! He made the song so fresh and new. Ha Ha.. The Spanish Lady… First thought.. That man looks amazing in purple! I know.. it’s a bit shallow.. but it’s a truth that can’t be disputed! But the ammount of fun he was having while running from one end of the stage to the other.. how could someone not love the song? I know I did! I do think the running and jumping was a bit much as at the end he seemed very out of breath.. not that he looked as if it bothered him nor did it effect his performance in the least. Now, Always There, (insert sigh here), was just beautiful! It was beyond words. The only thing I could do was cry.. so that’s what I did.. So many of the lyrics hit so close to home for me that I just closed my eyes and let him serenade us all while the tears flowed from my eyes. I’m sure it looked odd to some but to me it was just such a beautiful moment.
So, now we’ve come to the end of the solos.. You all still with me? I haven’t bored you to death yet, right? GOOD!!! Now we’ve got the group numbers! You think you can make it a bit longer? I promise I’ll be done.. “soon”! ;) maybe soon-ish is a better description. Anyway, onward we go!
I’ll say it now, so I’m not repeating myself a MILLION times (because believe me, I would be) the harmonies for each and every song were spectacular! The dynamic was spot on and they guys appeared to be having the time of their life. That being said.. onto the songs!
I do remember that the show opened with Voices. It’s so intense when you can fill the drums and get chills when you hear the voices added to it! So I’m going with uber intense to describe this one… but not in a bad way at all!
Turning Away- Another intense song! The rounds at the beginning are amazing! And the drums are to die for.. but beings Declan is my favorite.. I may be a bit biased. I love the song though.. It’s like their superhero theme song.. all they need is capes! HA HA!
The Rocky Road to Dublin- I spent plenty of time learning every single word to this song and was so excited to see it performed! Love, love, love the intensity (I know, I’m using that word a lot) and the movement about the stage.. To me, it was so much fun!
My Land- It was the perfect ending to the first half of the show. The song is nice and vague so it can be applied to anywhere someone calls “my land”. But at the same time, it makes me want to see the beauty that is Ireland and Scotland. Especially with the passion each man uses during his part.
Seven Drunken Nights- The storytelling before the song was too funny, but I’ll get to that in the next section. The song was super fun, as always. Highlights: Colm trying to go after Neil. George catching Emmet before he could run off and hide behind Seamus or Neil (like Keith and Colm did, respectively). And of course, drunk Neil, both during his verse and at the end. I thought for a second that no one was going to catch him and he was about to hit the floor.. Until Emmet stuck out those buff arms and got him (*phew)
Steal Away- Again there was an introduction that was too cute not to mention, but I’ll cover it in a bit. It was a beautiful and welcome surprise. (Although I’d heard from others who were at shows that they had been doing it.) The arrangement was a bit different and if George hadn’t have introduced it, I don’t think I would have recognized it until they began singing. One of the most lovely versions they’ve done, in my opinion.
Ireland’s Call- I can’t tell you how happy I am that they brought this one back! It wouldn’t have been a Celtic Thunder show without it! (even though in 2012 I saw my first shows and they had taken it out and replaced it with Caledonia. Equally awesome, just not the same.) As soon as the first note played, the crowd roared and some of us got to our feet. It was just simply the perfect ending to the most amazing concert.
I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow- If you want to be technical, it is a Keith song but I think the instruments were as vital a part as the singing so I’m including it here. Anyone who has seen O Brother, Where Art Thou can recognize the song as soon as it starts. Keith is perfect to sing it. And having the majority of the band so close is amazing. One complaint.. You can’t hear any of them singing back up.. It’s just the one mic in front of Keith and everyone else’s voices are lost in the shuffle. All of the band, Neil, Nicole, Kieran, Laura, and Dave, were absolutely brilliant!
The Boys Are Back in Town- The title describes the feeling perfectly! That’s the way I felt on the day I knew they were there! The four (Ryan, Keith, Neil, and Emmet) had so much fun! Lucky for Em, when Ryan had to swing at him, it was a clear miss! HA HA!
She Moved Through the Fair- Oh my goodness! It was just… amazingly perfect.. the harmonies of Colm, Em, Neil, and George seem so effortless. I have no doubt the worked super hard to get them to sound that way.. and it was worth it! The song is so beautiful and, even though it’s a sad story, the beauty of it makes you serene.. It’s like a comfy blanket or something.. I don’t know how else to describe it.
The Star of County Down- This one is too fun! Love that it starts with George! His voice is just.. something else! But the highlight of the song was Colm and Neil.. Those two either can’t dance to save their lives or are experts at faking a lack of coordination. They were shaking their hips all over. It reminded me of someone trying, and failing, to hula hoop. Seana also was brilliant. Poor girl almost lost it with the “dancing” though.
The Sounds of Silence- another story I’ll tell in a minute. This is probably my all time favorite song on Mythology. Keith and Colm were the perfect choices for this one. I loved that they both had their guitars, making them look so at ease and natural.
Now for the funniest part.. the stories and antics on stage.. and they were epic!
The one that everyone seems to love the most is Keith’s story about how they lost Barry and gained Kieran. So.. here goes..
Barry died of a broken heart, much to everyone’s dismay. You see, he had gotten hold of the music charts and upon seeing Justin Beiber on top, he just couldn’t handle it.
Keith went on to explain that in Ireland, when a person dies, they tie a string around their pinky finger before burrying them. This string is then threaded up to a tree above the grave site and is attached to a bell. If the person were to come back to life, all they would have to do is wiggle their pinky to signal that they were indeed alive. This is where the term “dead ringer” comes from.
Keith also explains that there is a person under this tree around the clock, listening for the bell. Thus the term “graveyard shift”. One day, Kieran was that person, when the bell rang. Indicating that Barry was alive! After being dug out, the poor man was still too distraught to have the want to play music anymore so he decided not to come back to Celtic Thunder.
Now, Keith spent some time talking to Kieran. Asking what he did to pass the time. Kieran told him about the instruments he played to pass the time. This gave Keith an idea. He asked Kieran if he liked working the graveyard shift. Kieran, of course, said he didn’t. Keith then asked if he’d like to tour with Celtic Thunder, since they just had an opening that he would fill perfectly. Kieran, of course, accepted. Which leads us to now.. with Kieran playing in the band.
Antic 2 came before Seven Drunken Nights. You see, Ryan wasn’t too sure of the stairs since his accident and all.. so he was kind of .. stuck. The other 5 guys were down in front of the raised set while Ryan was too scared to do the steps. After a bit of talking, they realized that he wasn’t with them. He was asked if he was okay, which led into a story about how he’d asked the set designer to take the stairs out and that it didn’t happen but he still wasn’t too sure about them. Neil turned to the audience and explained that Ryan had had a little fall down a few stairs that landed him in hospital for 3 weeks. Keith (I think) made sure everyone knew that this had led to some memory issues. Emmet helped Ryan down the stairs that had him paralyzed in fear. Ryan was then asked if he knew where they were. He started scratching his head, unsure. Someone said Lincoln. Someone said Nebraska. Someone said America… and so on.. Finally Keith (again, I think) said The Cornhuskers! At this, Ryan remembered. He says in response, “Oh! The Big Red! Why didn’t you just say so?” (this was greeted with a HUMONGOUS roar from the audience)
Then they tried to kick both Ryan and Keith off stage, just to remember than they hadn’t rehearsed their 4-part song with the band.. so Keith and Ryan return, and Seven Drunken Nights starts.
Last, but not least, and definitely sweetest, before Steal Away began, George dedicated it to someone in the audience. A girl by the name of Sophie, I believe. He said he was a bit nervous when she gave him a big hug that calmed him.
So.. that’s it for the show everyone! Afterward, with the signing table isn’t nearly as interesting these days due to all of the new rules, which I’m proud to say, everyone respected and abided by.. or at least all that I know of!
I was lucky enough to meet a few more local Thunderheads so that I know more than one or two people from here!
So, thanks for reading if you made it all the way through without falling asleep! Here’s to future solo gigs and next year!!