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91
New Members / Hello, I'm new here
« Last post by Michael44 on March 22, 2024, 07:11:44 AM »
Hi, everyone. I first noticed Celtic Woman back in 2020 with the Celebration Tour. They were supposed to come to my town but Covid had other plans. I drove 6 hours to see them in Memphis for the make-up Postcards tour and I've been in love with them ever since!
92
CW Musicians and Choir / Re: Brian McGrane
« Last post by CWazyTom on March 21, 2024, 11:02:02 PM »
I picked up a copy of Brian McGrane's new atmospheric piano album, "Engrane," on the Celtic Tenors tour recently.

The CD is subtitled Sketches and the tracks are demo versions. They won't be the same versions as the forthcoming public release of the album.

It's nice and relaxing.

My favourites are:
- 21/15 (which he performed with The Celtic Tenors on tour)
- Ecaps, Space, and the bonus track, which are basically all the same (or very similar) tunes 🤣
... maybe the same tune was accidentally copied a few times. It will be interesting to see what the tunes of the same name sound like when the album is officially released.
93
Mairead Nesbitt / Re: Celtic Spells show
« Last post by CWazyTom on March 19, 2024, 08:57:50 PM »
It was a little disguised in the brief voiceover segment during the show, where it was described something to the effect of "people from two different backgrounds whose love was forbidden." The show description in the booklet for the first show elaborated a little.
94
Mairead Nesbitt / Re: Celtic Spells show
« Last post by LakersCeltics on March 19, 2024, 08:32:26 PM »
I had thought about going to one of the shows. But we had prior appointments.  >:(

I appreciate the review. I didn't know it was about a Catholic & a Protestant! A pastor at my church has all kind of Catholic / Protestant stories from Ireland. He is from Co. Tipperary (same as Mairead I think).

I will have to listen to the CD again, and read all the notes again.

Thanks for the report.

95
Mairead Nesbitt / Celtic Spells show
« Last post by CWazyTom on March 18, 2024, 09:40:01 PM »
I got to see 2 of Máiréad Nesbitt's Celtic Spells show in California!

Before the first show, it got kind of chilly outside. Fortunately, they opened the doors a few minutes early because it started pouring unexpectedly outside a few minutes later. The venue was smaller than one that Celtic Woman would perform in, but larger than a venue Chloë would typically perform in. I had front row and the stage was below eye level. There was an array of speakers on top of the stage that impeded view a little (mostly of the footwork of the dancers). The performers were at least 20 feet from the front of the stage as well.

In the band, they had a keyboard, guitar, drums, and the usual assortment of Irish instruments, including the harp, bohdran, whistles, and uillean pipes. They were spread out wide across the stage. There was a video screen at the back, showing scenes of Ireland throughout the show to help set the mood. Dancers came out onto the stage every few songs. There were also a couple of singers.

Máiréad was on stage for most of the show, sometimes off to the side, sometimes center stage.

Between Máiréad, the band, the singers, the dancers, and the video screen, there was a lot to take in at once.

The music worked really well live, with some of the tunes sounding even better than they did on the album. The drum arrangements were engaging and the percussive tapdancing during Dance of Destiny was epic!

Máiréad tossed in There Is No Night, the gorgeous slow air from Raining Up and Hibernia. It's overwhelmingly beautiful and it had me mopping my face in appreciation.

I wasn't too high on the vocal arrangements, which didn't achieve much harmonic synergy between the singers. That said, The Ballad of the Perfect Storm was incredible live. Máiréad played tin whistle during that song. The melody is captivating and the lyrics, as those who listened to the album will know, are phenomenal. It's soooo good and the percussion in the live show made it even more amazing.

Most of the tunes in the set list were from the album, slightly re-ordered, with a few additions including what was possibly my favourite arrangement of Shenandoah.

The show closed with a variation of the David Downes Paring Glass, concluding each verse and chorus on a major chord instead of a dreary minor chord.

The second show was in a theatre on a high school campus. It was surprisingly large. It probably had a capacity of a few thousand people. Infortunately it wasn't filled up. When introducing the show, they pronounced Máiréad something like Merida or Meridith.

The crowd the first night was pretty good. The audience was engaged in the show and clapping along enthusiastically when appropriate. The crowd for the second show was quite a bit more reserved, preferring to sit and enjoy the production, rather than participate in the energy.

The show has a story to it, but I'm not sure how easy it would have been someone to follow who didn't know the story or song titles in advance, even with the video screen. For instance, Star Crossed Lovers was performed with a starscape on the screen. It was pretty, but unless you knew the tune was called Star Crossed Lovers, it wouldn't have meant much beyond looking and sounding nice. It was pretty clear early in the show that the two dancers were lovers getting married and Máiréad did a pre-recorded voiceover explaining that they were from different backgrounds and that their union was forbidden (to elaborate, the story took place in the early 1900s, starring a protestant from the north and a catholic from the south, and their families disapproved of their union, so they married in secret and left for America). I'm a bit worried that the average audience member would just think they were listening to separate stories, or just random songs and tunes, albeit very good ones.

Overall, the show was highly enjoyable and worth the lengthy flights.

Speaking of flights, I'm not sure how much it was on the news outside of California, but the traffic at LAX the day I returned home was horrendous. I made unexpectedly good time from Glendora to LA. It only took about an hour to get to the rental car return lot. Things went downhill from there. The trip from the lot to the airport was only a few miles, but traffic was crawling the entire way due to poorly planned lane closures. They closed 4 out of 5 lanes in multiple places. It took over 90 minutes just to get off near the start of the terminal, over 2 hours in total on the bus. On the way, I started seeing people with their suitcases walking towards the airport at the side of the road (some between cars). There were people on an overpass that got out of their cars to take photos because traffic was dead stopped on the highway too. Closer to the terminal, there were streams of people hurrying frantically on foot with their luggage. I've never seen anything like it.

There are about 6 or 7 terminals arranged in a huge multi-mile horseshoe. Mine was #6. I ended up getting off the bus around terminal 2 and booked it on foot, because if I had stayed on the bus in that nightmare, there was 0% chance I was making my scheduled departure time. Thankfully security was quick (probably because nobody could actually get to the airport). I got to the gate mid-way through boarding around 10-15 minutes before they were going to close the gate. They completely boarded the flight, then we sat around on board, eventually being notified that the flight crew was also stuck in traffic and hadn't arrived yet. We took off around an hour and a half late. It was a very long beerless St. Patrick's Day, but certainly worth the trip.
96
Celtic Woman / Re: Special Celtic Woman Moments
« Last post by CWazyTom on March 18, 2024, 08:55:18 PM »
Since St. Patrick's Day just passed, I thought I'd mention that the first time I saw Celtic Woman live was on St. Patrick's Day. I was really, really messed up with depression then. At first, I didn't want to get a seat near the front, but my parents got me one in the pit. I was excited out of my mind being that close to those incredible performers. Máiréad Nesbitt looked at me and waved and smiled at me from about 8 feet away. Yes, the only remaining original member in the group at the time waved at me. I couldn't believe it! I'm not sure she knew who I was. I had done a little bit of posting about the show in advance but I don't think I posted anything publicly on Facebook, I didn't have an Instagram account, and only had a Twitter account because I needed one to troubleshooting something at work.

I had a few little interactions over the next few weeks with some of the girls over social media. I certainly didn't matter to myself in those days, but it was in those moments I felt like, for the first time in a long time, I mattered to someone else ... like I mattered to some of the people who meant the most to me. I don't want to ever forget that feeling. Every St. Patrick's Day since then, I've been grateful for that sense of purpose.
97
Other Musicians / The Celtic Tenors tour
« Last post by CWazyTom on March 18, 2024, 08:34:29 PM »
I got to see one of The Celtic Tenors shows last week.

For those who may not be aware, The Celtic Tenors used to open for Celtic Woman on tour and Matt is Deirdre Shannon's brother. Brian McGrane, their musical director and multi-instrumentalist, toured with Celtic Woman and currently forms the duo The Brave Collide with Chloë Agnew.

The Celtic Tenors have toured together for 25 years, I believe with the same 3 members. It was apparently their first time in 9 years visiting this area.

One of the lads played tin whistle / low whistle at times during the show, as well as guitar.

In the first act, the lads came out dressed casually in jeans. In the second act, the wore the suits.

Most of the song were group songs with great harmony. The solos were excellent too though! Some of my favourites were:
- Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears
- Song for Ireland
- Remember Me
- Nella Fantasia
- The Prayer
- Perfect
- Galileo

The harmonies on Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears, Song for Ireland, and Nella Fantasia (among others) were gorgeous!

Matthew's solo (Galileo) was really good, possibly my favourite version of the song!

Brian's keyboard solo 21-15 (available from his forthcoming album "Engraned" which was available to purchase at the show prior to its official release) sounded really pretty.

There were plenty of fun songs and the crowd got into it and clapped / sang along.

The lads were pretty funny.

There was a Derry Girls shoutout during the show.

There were a lot of superfans in the audience and the tenors called out quite a few of them from the stage throughout the show. One of the people sitting next to me had seen them 60 times. There were fans that flew in from out of town to see the show.

Sadly (thought not unsurprisingly), Deirdre didn't make an appearance. In spite of that, I really enjoyed the show and plan to see them the next time they come to the area.

I got to meet the 3 tenors as well as their musical directory / pianist / guitarist / singer Brian McGrane after the show.

Full Set List

I'll Tell Me Ma
Isle of Hope
Red Is the Rose
Finnghuala
Nella Fantasia / Funiculi
The Dutchman
Perfect (Ed Sheeran) (James solo, along with Brian McGrane)
Carrickfergus
Rocky Road to Dublin
The Prayer

21-15 (Brian McGrane keyboard solo)
Feels Like Home
The Boxer
Gallileo (Matthew solo)
From Here to Moon and Back
Brown-eyed girl (Daryl solo)
Can't Help Falling In Love (With You)
Whiskey In the Jar
Remember Me

The Parting Glass (encore)
98
Other Musicians / Re: Celtic Thunder tour dates are here.
« Last post by CWFella2011 on March 18, 2024, 02:08:52 PM »
Thanks for the heads up. I'll take a look.

I just saw Odyssey on PBS. I won't post here. I'll have to tag my post with a spoiler alert if I review it.
I watched it last night too.
99
Other Musicians / Re: New Celtic Thunder Special
« Last post by LakersCeltics on March 18, 2024, 12:02:44 PM »
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
Don't read this post if you want to watch the special for yourself first.


*** ***


My random thoughts on the PBS special, not really a review.

If you want a video preview of the show, I posted a link about 6 posts up.

Pros.
- Song choices. I like that they went back to traditional Irish standards.
- Ronan. He fits right in, and they all get along well during the interviews. Plus the CW connection is always a plus.

Cons.
- Missing faces. No Ryan Kelly (personal reasons), no Seana Davey (harp), no Nicole Hudson (fiddle).
- No stage choreography. They stood at their mics the whole time. I'm not sure if the tours are different.
- Missing energy. The crowd seemed tiny, and no wide shots for us to see. So it wasn't as energetic as usual.
- No "Ireland's Call". This was the CT calling card.

General impressions.
- In one of the interviews, they said it's their 1st special since 2017.
- Generally, a different vibe they are going for. The CD itself sounds like 'traditional' CT. The special does not IMHO. It's much more cozy & intimate, and a little 'tame' for a CT show.
- I enjoyed it, but I probably won't watch it over & over every time it is on PBS (like CW 20th for example).
100
Celtic Woman / Re: Special Celtic Woman Moments
« Last post by dbbii on March 18, 2024, 10:05:41 AM »
A couple years ago (2020), I took a business contact and his daughter (high school) to see a CW show with M&G.  I was going to try to get their photo signed later in the tour since I had another couple M&G's.  Of course, COVID.

Anyway, when they came back to the area this year, I asked if he and his daughter wanted to go againt.  ABSOLUTELY!.  I was going to bring my daughter, but that didn't work out so I had an extra ticket.  My contact brought his wife, who I had met before.  She was totally blown away with the show!  At the end, she had tears running down her face!  It turned out her great-grandmother was Irish.  We had a blast.  OK, the fact that the bar had Jameson didn't hurt!
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