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Author Topic: My Homecoming Tour Experience - June 2018  (Read 1630 times)
Tracie
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« on: June 11, 2018, 12:38:27 PM »

I saw Homecoming twice over the past few days and had the most amazing time!  This will probably get long, thanks in advance for reading!

Grand Forks, ND - June 7, 2018

If I kept a diary, the entry for today would begin "Dear Diary, today was the second most incredible day of my life, exceeded only by my wedding day."

My husband Gregg and I went to the Grand Forks show, which was our sixth Celtic Woman show and our first official meet and greet.  We drove there from Minneapolis the day before the show.  The venue was an auditorium on the University of North Dakota campus.  When we arrived we stopped there and found the stage door and walked around campus a bit.  We found that right across from the auditorium was a nice walking path along a stream and there were fountains.  We thought it looked like a place with great potential to meet them before the show, particularly Tara who we know loves going out on walks by the water from her instagram posts.

The excitement of show day started right after we woke up. Gregg went out to our vehicle to grab something and saw their tour buses in the hotel parking lot. Holy moly, they were in the same hotel as us! We decided to hang around the lobby for the morning with hope of meeting them. Gregg sat in the lobby while I was taking a shower and when I came down he said he had seen Caitriona.  She was on a phone call so he didn't get to talk to her, but it was so cool just to see her right there.  We hung out in the lobby together for quite awhile and nothing happened.  Based on an Instagram post, it seemed that they had arrived around 3am, so we figured they were probably all sleeping.  After a couple of hours Gregg decided to go back to our room and take a nap and I stayed in lobby a bit longer and I also walked around outside a few times.  Around noon I figured we should go have some lunch, but before going back to the room I stepped outside once more and as I was going around a corner of the hotel, there was Carl! I told him I was so excited for the show and he said "oh brilliant!"  He asked if I had seen the show yet this year and when I said tonight would be the first one, he said it's an incredible show and I'm gonna love it and he thinks it's the best show they've ever done.  I said I had seen the show last year three times and it was wonderful and I couldn't wait for tonight.  He said he'd see me at the door later.  He was super nice. 

I went back inside planning to go up to the room and tell Gregg about this.  As I walked past the fitness room, I did a double take and my jaw dropped - Mairead was in there running on the treadmill!  I'm not entirely sure how I had the nerve to do this, but I walked in there.  The way the room was set up, her back was to the door so she didn't see me walk in.  I walked over to one side and when she noticed I was there she took out her earbuds.  I told her I'm sorry for interrupting but I was just walking past and had to tell her how much I love her music and I'm so excited for the show and I'm such a huge fan.  She smiled and said thank you so much (at least I think that's what she said - in all the excitement my mind blanked on her exact words - funny the way that happens) and then I said I'll see you later and I left.  I didn't want to disrupt her for too long while she was running and I felt slightly bad about interrupting her workout in the first place, but then I thought she's cool it's fine.  I went to the room and told Gregg I had just talked to both Mairead and Carl.  He was so jealous, especially that I had talked to Mairead!  We headed out to go to lunch and she was still on the treadmill so Gregg saw her through the door, but he didn't go in to talk to her.  As we walked out the lady at the front desk, who had seen us hanging around all morning, asked if we were having a good day and I said it's been great!  Then I asked her if she knew that they had music royalty staying there.  She looked surprised and asked how I knew that and I said their buses are outside and I've already talked to two of them today.  She said she had talked to a couple of them also (I don't know who) and it was so much fun that they were there.

After lunch, we went back to campus and sat down by the fountains.  We sat there for maybe half an hour or so and then walking up the path comes Tara!  We walked up to her and said we're such huge fans and we love her music so much.  She said lovely to meet you and we shook hands and introduced ourselves.  She asked if we were going to the show tonight and we said we were, with meet and greet, and that we had driven up from Minneapolis.  She asked how far away that was and we said it was about a five hour drive.  She looked surprised and said oh is this the closest we're getting to you this year?  We said yes and she said she would think when they do more than 90 shows that they'd get closer than that.  We said we didn't mind and told her about all the locations we've seen their shows previously, including trips to Colorado and Illinois.  Gregg was also telling her the cities in Minnesota that we've seen them and when he said Rochester, she asked if that was at Easter last year and I said it was June actually because it had been a year since we've seen them.  Afterwards I thought she was probably thinking of Rochester NY because that was probably around Easter.  Gregg told me later that I shouldn't have corrected her, but I was like it's fine she was so nice.  Continuing our conversation with her, we said we had seen Voices of Angels three times and loved it so much and we were so excited for tonight's show.  We talked about how lovely the campus was and she said she always likes going out on walks and finding the water.  We said we had walked around campus the night before as well and she said oh you made a trip out of it?  We said yes and said actually we're at the same hotel as you.  She said oh did you see the buses and we said yes and I said I've also talked to Mairead and Carl already today and this is so much fun for us.  Then we asked if we could take a picture with her and she said we could.  While Gregg was pulling up the camera on his phone, I told her it is such a joy watching her perform and she's so incredible.  She looked genuinely touched when I said that.  We took the picture with her and then said thank you so much, you're so awesome!  Wow, she spent at least a few minutes talking to us and she's an absolute sweetheart!  And we thought wow, our idea that it was very possible for us to meet at least Tara out by that stream was right!  If anybody saw her Instagram story that afternoon where she said she was in North Dakota and had found the water, that was just a few minutes after we met her.

We sat there a little bit longer and then went back to the hotel to get ready for evening.  We arrived and checked in for meet and greet and the guy from PBS was very friendly and chatty with us.  We showed him our picture with Tara from earlier.  As it was getting close to time to go in, he said there were several people missing still and they'd had a few cancellations.  What!?  C'mon people, don't you know how special it is to meet them!?  As we walked back to the meet and greet room, Carl walked by and I waved to him and said hi again and he said hey!  When we were brought into the room and told to line up, Gregg and I were first in line.  I'd guess there were about 20 people.  It was a big open room with lots of light and a curtain lining the wall where we would take the pictures.  The tour manager came in and said there's not a lot of time, this is just a photo op and to be snappy.  Although he said that, I was very pleasantly surprised that we were actually not rushed at all!  We said we brought a gift for them and held it out to hand to him and he said we could give it to them.  When the ladies walked in the room, they were looking at the line of people.  When Tara saw us she waved.  Mairead looked at me with recognition that we had met earlier.  I gave my phone to Aimee and realized afterwards that I completely forgot to ask her to take candids while we were talking to them.  Oops, I'll have to remember that next time!  When we walked up to them, Mairead said oh hi! and told the others she had met me earlier and I said yeah I totally interrupted your workout! She said she was listening to some tunes and hadn't realized that somebody had walked in the room and then looked over and saw me standing there and went "oh hello!"  It was so adorable the way she was describing our meeting and confirmed for me that she didn't mind that I had interrupted her workout.  Then Mairead held out her hand for a handshake and I shook her hand and also gave her a hug.  As I was hugging Eabha next, I said we had seen the buses outside of the hotel and were so excited that they were there.  Tara was next and then Susan.  By the time I had reached Tara and Susan I was so overwhelmed with excitement that all I was getting out was a "hi" as I hugged each of them.  Gregg hugged each of them as well and then the picture was taken.  When Aimee handed the phone back, we turned back to the ladies and I said thank you so much, we love you all.  They give such wonderful, warm smiles!  Gregg left the gift bag with Aimee and then the tour manager told us how to get to our seats from there and we left.  As we walked out, Gregg said right away that we're now going to need a meet and greet on every tour.  I completely agree, what an amazing experience!  Then Gregg looked on Instagram shortly before the show started and saw Eabha's story where she said lovely gift from the lovely Tracie and put a picture of her holding the glass blown flower.  I was completely blown away by how sweet that was.  First of all I didn't realize they would open the gift immediately and I was also so touched that she had put it on Instagram.  Could these ladies be any sweeter to their fans!?  They're so incredible!

We had front row seats for the first time of any concert we had attended.  It was so amazing being right up next to the stage! The entire show was so incredibly beautiful.  We loved every minute of it and every new song.  I very much hope for a new album this year with all the new songs on it.  Every single moment was incredible as always.  Homeland is so catchy and is a great show opener, Ballroom of Romance is so much fun and also so catchy, The Long Journey Home had such beautiful lyrics and I loved Going Home so much it had me in tears.  Eabha's May It Be was strikingly beautiful and her Wild Mountainside was wonderful as well, Tara's Tunes was incredibly fun, Susan absolutely nailed From A Distance, and Mairead's Nella Fantasia was a jaw-dropping stunner.  The only downside of the night was that they had removed My Heart Will Go On, Walk Beside Me and Teir Abhaile Riu, all of which I had seen in earlier setlists.  I wonder why?  I would have loved to hear those songs as well and it's a bit of a bummer that audiences earlier in the tour got to have a longer show than we got.  We loved everything they did perform though of course.  The audience was only so-so and I think only about 2/3 of the seats were filled.  They did get louder as the show went on, especially in the second act.  Gregg and I were cheering very loudly for every song and we gave them multiple standing ovations.  The ladies were very aware of us in the audience and smiled and nodded directly at us several times throughout the night.  It was so much fun interacting with them that way during the show.  The whole audience gave a very long standing ovation after The Kesh Inn and the ladies looked truly touched by that.  Another very long standing ovation after The Parting Glass and then the show was over.  It seemed to just fly by, I could have sat there and listened to them for hours.  I only took a few pictures during the show in between songs while they were talking.  That was my plan and I stuck to it because I wanted to be fully immersed in the beautiful music and didn't want to distract myself by taking pictures during songs.  The pictures I do have are on my public Instagram account, feel free to take a look - username tracie_dorn.

Afterwards, we went out to the stage door.  Every single member of the band and choir walked by and we told each of them that we loved the show and they all thanked us.  I also told Carl that he's awesome.  I think it was Tommy that said the ladies would be out shortly.  Of the ladies, Tara came out first.  We said the show was incredible and we loved it so much (we said that to each of the ladies).  She thanked us and then also said thank you for being such a presence in the audience.  Awwwwww, so sweet!  Her saying that is one of my favorite moments from the entire day.  Then she said she had her rose in her bag and she hoped the others didn't forget to grab the sweets - we had also put some candy in the gift bag, including Mikey Ikeys!  ;)  Susan and Anto came out next and Susan said thank you so much and Anto said we'll see you again soon.  Mairead and Eabha came out last of everybody.  Mairead was carrying our gift bag and they said thank you for the gift and thank you for the lovely letter I had written and that they loved it.  ;D

What an amazing day!!  I was on Celtic Woman cloud nine and really haven't come down from it yet four days later!


Appleton, WI - June 9, 2018

This one will be a much shorter write-up! I went to the Appleton show with my mom, sister and sister-in-law.  Only my mom had seen them previously.  My sister and sister-in-law both very much enjoyed the show.  My mom loved it too of course.  We had seats in the third tier of the balcony looking directly at the middle of the stage, which actually weren't bad at all.  There was a great view of the stage from up there.  I found that I really enjoyed seeing the show from a completely different perspective than seeing it from front row, particularly seeing the choreography of Ballroom of Romance from above.  I have told Gregg that I would really like to do this on each tour now if we're so lucky as to get two nearby shows - one with meet & greet/front row and another with center balcony.  He's not convinced yet, but it really is a different experience having such different seats and I thought it was an excellent way to see the show twice.  The audience was so much louder and showing so much more appreciation than the Grand Forks audience which was a lot of fun.  I don't think it was quite up to the level of the insanely awesome Minneapolis crowd last year, but it was excellent.  I hadn't told any of the ladies that I would be seeing the show again in Appleton.  I thought if I did get another chance to meet them, I would surprise them.  It didn't work out unfortunately.  I did find the buses after the show, but I think I went around the wrong side of the theater.  The buses were down a ramp in kind of a pit and I was looking at it thinking I shouldn't just walk down in there.  I also didn't see anybody out there and didn't see a stage door.  I think I must have chosen the wrong side of the theater to walk around.  I would've walked all the way around searching more if it was just me, but it was hard on my mom to walk that much, so we just headed home.  That's quite alright though, I had all the amazing meeting experiences in Grand Forks!

Thanks for reading my super long write-up!  Gregg and I had such a blast and now we've got all fingers and toes crossed that the Christmas tour comes to a location we can get to!  Love them all so much!  Oh and Gregg has already made a list of all their Florida locations from this tour and says next spring we should take a Florida vacation and follow them around for a week.  I'm in! 
       
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 10:53:53 PM by Tracie » Logged
CWazyTom
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 07:08:45 PM »

Thanks for sharing!

I got right into it while I was reading.  It made me feel like I was there, getting all happy and excited again.

I'm glad how well the Stage + Greet and Street + Greet worked out for you! ;D  It made me think about trying that again sometime ...


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CWazyTom
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 07:46:15 PM »

... although I don't think I'll ever try getting near either the tour buses again without someone that's comfortable and experienced doing it.  I certainly won't try again without proper, encouraging support that's not going to stress me out to the brink of a panic attack.  ::)

On the upside, having been to a few Meet and Greets now (some rushed, some not), I'm quite sure that anything more than 60 seconds (of heavily rehearsed dialog) is just going to get awkward and frankly, be a waste of their time.  :D

Yeah, some people are meant to enjoy these things only vicariously. And I did, so thank you. ;)
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Tracie
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2018, 09:35:57 PM »

Thanks Tom! I honestly shocked myself with how gutsy I was, especially when I walked into the fitness room while Mairead was on the treadmill. No idea where that courage came from. So different from when I met Mairead and Eabha last year and the only words I managed to say were that it was the greatest show I had ever seen.  If you ever do feel up to trying to meet them outside of an official meet and greet, know that they are so warm and welcoming and friendly. I know that they wouldn't mind at all if you're nervous. I'd be happy to send you words of encouragement
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2018, 05:32:22 PM »

That part about walking into the gym was great!  I definitely would have walked on by and missed out.

I know the girls would, in most cases, be welcoming of that kind of thing.

I'm not sure I want to start a therapy thread but here goes...

If I just randomly came across one of them walking around, I'd be my usually ridiculously shy self, very likely wouldn't be able to say much, but with effort, I could do it. I'm the kind of person that hates parties because I would be paralyzed by anxiety and would just sit alone (not figuratively, but literally) getting increasingly miserable.

The real problem is when there's a combination of anticipation, wanting something really badly, and having associated regarding it. If I try to power through those kinds of things, my inner voice gets upset and starts going absolutely ballistic. It will start aggressively (and effectively) poisoning all attempts at happiness. It'll suck the joy out of everything. It's really hard to come out of those flash-depressions and they can go on for days, weeks, ... even months, just from one little event.

I can go a while being really positive, working on shutting that nasty little inner voice up ... immersing myself in the experience that is Celtic Woman. But no matter how try, it just takes an instant to burst that pleasant little bubble of bliss.

Even Meet and Greets take a LOT of mental work beforehand for me. Waiting for them anywhere (stage door, buses, etc.), as a result of some bad previous experiences, has become a trigger for flash-depressions, so attempting them does come with risk of extended consequences that outweigh the rewards.

That's even if things work out, too. If they don't, that's when the flash-depressions can get really, really bad and any amount of time in that state is just not a good idea.

I can mitigate the anxiety by tagging along with people that are assertive, experienced and comfortable doing stage and greets, but it's rare around here that I have that opportunity and no formal M+G already. I usually end up going to shows alone or with people that I don't trust anymore to provide proper support in that situation. I don't think I'd want to hang around the buses / stage door alone anymore unless the girls said it was ok and they had someone there to keep me from freaking out while I waited. Lol.

It sucks because I want to experience one of those unofficial encounters so badly, but it's a catch 22.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 05:35:08 PM by CWazyTom » Logged
Tracie
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2018, 10:53:22 PM »

I'm glad you get to have the wonderful experiences of the official meet and greets, front row seats, and interacting with them on social media
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2018, 05:46:56 PM »

I'm glad you get to have the wonderful experiences of the official meet and greets, front row seats, and interacting with them on social media
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2018, 11:53:15 AM »

Thanks Tracie for the write up on your shows. I also was at the Appleton show. I loved the new show it was great and I had front row seats in the Pit but they were great to view the show from but they were really bad seats. They were crammed real tight to the stage and you had no place for your feet due to the bundle of wires from the show that ran along the floor in front of the stage. I did do a M&G at the stage door which we found before the show so we knew where to go after the show. Met up with Ray, Anton Mairead, Eabha, and Tara they all stopped and chatted for a few min's and Tara was great she seen the Forum button I was wearing and goes hey he's wearing one with all of us on it so I gave them all one of the new buttons for the forum and we talked for a few min's then I walked them to the bus and then a guard showed up and the Girls go he's ok we know him and the Guard just stepped back and then they were off into the bus and most of the Guys went across the street for a beer of something to eat then we left for home. It was a great night
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Tracie
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2018, 12:29:18 PM »

Tom, I also really enjoy that about the forums - getting all excited reading other people's experiences. It adds to the fun! And yes it's such a wonderful feeling having the ladies smile and nod directly to you in the audience  ;D

Glen, that's too bad about your seats, but I'm glad you were able to meet them at the stage door since you didn't have an official meet and greet. That's cool that they took your buttons!
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