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Author Topic: Hello from Las Vegas  (Read 7325 times)
VegasDavid
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« on: October 07, 2018, 05:10:49 AM »

Hello from Las Vegas!  I joined the forum on July 31st.  I already feel very welcome here but I figured it's about time to introduce myself and say how I ended up here.

College, community radio, and world music

I grew up in Urbana, Illinois and went to college there too, at the University of Illinois.  I had a radio at my desk in the dorm, so I explored it and found a community radio station named WEFT (90.1 FM).  They played world music from 2pm to 4pm every weekday afternoon, and I really liked it.

From 2006 to 2008, I volunteered as an airshifter at WEFT, helping to play the news broadcasts from 4pm to 6pm every Wednesday.  This meant that I had access to all the CDs at the station.  Here is the world music section:



Thanks to WEFT and the Urbana Free Library, I discovered lots of artists, including Capercaillie, Afro Celt Sound System, Enya, Pink Martini, and Moya Brennan.  I was also into lots of other music that isn't relevant to this forum, like gypsy music.

In 2008, I had my own world music radio show at WEFT where I got to share the world music I had found every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm.  I even hosted one live performance on my show: Jamie Laval and Ashley Broder joined me on 2008-03-12 to promote their new CD, Zephyr in the Confetti Factory, and perform songs from it.  (They were in town that day and contacted the radio station to set it up.  Between songs, I asked them a few questions about their music and careers.)  Here is the control panel at the radio station where I ran my show:



I could have conceivably played the original Celtic Woman CD or A New Journey on my show if I had known about them, but I did not!  I don't think we had those CDs at the station or the Urbana Free Library.  And I did not really follow the local PBS radio station or TV station.

I moved to Las Vegas in June 2008 and had to stop doing the show.  Nothing relevant happened until 2018...

Early 2018

I didn't take perfect notes on this stuff, but my path to discovering Celtic Woman in early 2018 was something like this:

  • Netflix made The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring available for online streaming some time in January 2018.
  • I remembered that Lord of the Rings is a cool series, and I'm a fan of it, and I should watch it again for a third time.
  • I remembered that May It Be by Enya is a really beautiful song, and decided I'd like to hear more music like it.
  • I started listening to "May It Be radio" on Google Play Music (i.e. I clicked on that song and asked them to make a radio station for it).
  • Based on the tracks I was liking, Google recommended that I listen to "Celtic Woman radio".  That sounded like a nice genre to me because I like Celtic music and music with women singing, so I started listening to it.  It took me at least a few weeks to figure out that "Celtic Woman" is an artist, not a genre!
  • I really liked the wholesome, happy feeling this kind of music gave me, and I started listening to "Celtic Woman radio" exclusively, ignoring all the other types of music I used to like.  Mainly I would listen in the car for 30 minutes every day while driving to work and back.
  • I distinctly remember driving to my favorite pizza place on a chilly Las Vegas night while Google Play Music was playing Send Me A Song by Lisa Kelly.  It was so weird, because one particular note in the song actually sounded like a blatting saxophone to my ear!  I listened to that song over and over in the car, before and after picking up my pizza, trying to figure out what was happening.  I eventually figured out that the Google Play Music Android app was skipping part of the song, so the playback of the song jumped abruptly from an instrumental part into the middle of a long note sung by Lisa Kelly.  (It wasn't happening on the web version of Google Play Music, and the bug has since been fixed in the Android version.)
  • I think this was the night when I first looked up who Lisa Kelly is, and discovered that Celtic Woman was an artist, not a genre!
  • Shortly after that, I watched all the YouTube videos on the CelticWomanVEVO and CelticWomenVEVO channels.  I really liked seeing this beautiful music performed in video form.  I paid close attention to the faces and tried to associate names to them, using the Celtic Woman About page.
  • I started ordering Celtic Woman DVDs and putting them on after coming home from work.  At this point, they had become my favorite musical artist of all time.  I don't think there were any previous artists where I had taken the time to learn the names of more than 2 or 3 of their members.

Concerts in 2018

I moved this to its own post below.

Favorite social media interactions

I've had a handful of social medial interactions with Celtic Woman members where I say something amusing or sweet about their music and they like the comment or respond to it.  Here are links to my favorites:

Mairéad Carlin: https://twitter.com/DavidEGrayson/status/1012357998298054656
Megan Walsh: https://twitter.com/DavidEGrayson/status/1031248207517556736
Tara McNeill: https://twitter.com/tara_mcneill/status/1021416010648375297
Máiréad Nesbitt: https://twitter.com/DavidEGrayson/status/1007130600505929728

Future plans

In the near future, I'm looking forward to seeing the Christmas 2018 tour and seeing Evermore Park.  Máiréad Nesbitt was teasing a performance at Carnegie Hall in NYC some time in November but at this point I doubt it will happen.  I really want to see Lisa Kelly sing some time; she might be my favorite former Celtic Woman member and it's not too hard to fly to Georgia.

Anyway, thanks for reading!  I'll probably post future personal updates in this thread if they are not super relevant to the other forums.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 09:36:53 PM by VegasDavid » Logged
Tracie
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2018, 10:27:37 AM »

Hi David! Thanks for sharing your story of how you discovered Celtic Woman. I really enjoyed reading this. It was great meeting you in Ireland! If you throw that amazing backyard party, I'll be there!
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Tracie
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 10:39:50 AM »

I also really enjoy interacting with them on social media! It's so much fun getting likes and comments from them 🤗

I love your post about realizing Tara was playing harp on the Destiny DVD and then Tara's reaction to it. That is a gem!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 11:39:20 AM by Tracie » Logged
CWazyTom
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 10:46:53 AM »

Cool!

Lisa Kelly will hopefully do a show in spring (April or May, most likely). If so, it will probably be announced in November.
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VegasDavid
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2019, 09:43:57 PM »

Now that 2018 is over, I thought it would be nice to post a summary of all the musical stuff I have done this year, along with links to all my writeups.  Some of this info was moved out of my original post in this thread.

Kat Edmonson: On April 20th, I saw Kat Edmonson perform in Las Vegas at Myron's Cabaret Jazz.  She has a unique, wonderful voice, and a relaxed musical style that I think a lot of you would enjoy.  She was on a tour.  She was backed up for a 3-man band, and took requests from the audience.  It was a small room and I had basically a front-row view, while sitting at a table and eating a box of sushi.  That was my first time attending something at that venue.  It was a great night, but at the time I was really looking forward to the next concert...

Homecoming: On May 20th, I went to my first Celtic Woman concert: they performed in Las Vegas at the Smith Center as part of the Homecoming tour, on a Sunday afternoon.  It was great!  I really liked the slow way they introduced The Kesh Inn and seeing Éabha play a recorder with her fingernails painted orange.  As far as I could tell, the hall was full, though I was on the ground level and did not check the numerous upper levels.  We had some young celtic dancers performing in the lobby right before the show, so that was neat.  I also got to chat with Darryl, one of the dancers from the show, as he was selling commemorative programs.  Pretty soon after that, I started following the stars of the show on Instagram and figuring out how Instagram works.  (It was fun to see the pictures of Éabha having her bachelorette party here in Las Vegas!)

Chloë Agnew: On June 1st, I saw Chloë Agnew perform at the secondary stage of The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood (Los Angeles, California).  The room was very tiny and Chloë was right there near me before and after the show, but I was too shy to introduce myself.  Maybe next time.  I think this performance was the first debut performance of her new "Thing About You" album.

Tony DeMarco: In August, I took a trip to New York City.  Beforehand, I Googled "celtic music NYC", and thus I ended up in the 11th Street Bar on Sunday, August 12th, listening to Tony DeMarco play traditional Celtic fiddle songs, accompanied by a guitarist named Matt.  It went from about 10pm to 2am.  It was pretty low key, but enjoyable in its own way.  Here is a picture of me with Tony.

Ancient Land filming: In September, as many of you already know, I was lucky enough to make it to Johnstown Castle to see Celtic Woman record the Ancient Land DVD.  I planned the whole trip around seeing them, and I was there for both nights (September 13 and 14).  It was definitely the high point of this year for me.  Here is a picture of me in front of the castle.  I made a concert writeup and a photo/video index.  It was wonderful to meet Tom, Tracie, and Gregg there!

Riverdance: While I was in Ireland, I also got to see Riverdance with Edel Murphy in Dublin.  I made a silly photo where I pretended to meet Edel.

Jimmy's Hall:  Near the end of my Ireland trip, I drove all the way to Galway just to be there for one afternoon and see Jimmy's Hall with Lisa Lambe.

Gareth Emery:  On October 2nd, I saw Gareth Emery's Laserface concert at the Palms Casino here in Las Vegas.  Here is a picture.

Ustad Shafaat Khan:  On November 2nd, I saw Ustad Shafaat Khan perform in Las Vegas at Myron's Cabaret Jazz.  So that was my second concert at that venue, and I like it a lot!

New York Trad Fest:  On November 10th, I spent another day in New York City, and took some friends to see the New York Trad Fest, organized by Tony Demarco.  It featured three different performances:

  • Dermot Henry, singing and playing guitar
  • Jenna Nicholls, singing with a two-man band
  • Oisín Mac Diarmada on Fiddle with Daithí Gormley on Button accordion

Máiréad Nesbitt: On December 14, I had a great time seeing Máiréad Nesbitt perform with the Scariff School in Utah (writeup here).  I actually got to meet her, so she is the first Celtic Woman principal member I have ever met.

Evermore:  While I was in Utah, I also saw Evermore Park (writeup here and here).

Celtic Woman Christmas symphony tour::  On my last night in Utah, I saw the wonderful Celtic Woman Christmas tour in Salt Lake City (writeup here).
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 10:01:20 PM by VegasDavid » Logged
Tracie
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2019, 09:50:18 AM »

You had an awesome year David!
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VegasDavid
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2020, 12:09:49 AM »

Here's a summary of all the fun musical stuff I experienced in 2019!

Máiréad Nesbitt: I saw her Celtic Sounds concert with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra in March.  It was really beautiful to see her playing with a full orchestra behind her, and it was nice to see Tom and Mr. Peabody.  This trip to Ohio enabled me to see one of my cousins who I don't get to see often.

The Fitzgeralds: The Fitzgeralds did several shows in Laughlin, Nevada, so I caught one of them and wrote a report.

Nellie McKay: I found a few albums by Nellie McKay a long time ago and enjoyed many of her songs, so it was great that I got to see her perform in person at Myron's Cabaret Jazz in Las Vegas.  I brought a housemate to this concert.  It was unusual how little Nellie McKay talked during the show.  It was also unusual that one of the few times she talked, she chose to tell a really strange story, perhaps from a dream, about Julian Assange and her untidy home.  Usually an artist will tell us something about how they made their songs, or what they are planning in the future, but I guess that's just not Nellie McKay's style!

Ancient Land tour: I saw the Celtic Woman Ancient Land tour three times in the U.S. in May, and two times in Germany in October.    I wrote long reports about most of those shows.

Lisa Lambe: I saw her perform in New York City at the Irish Arts Center in May.  I brought my cousin and his wife to the show.  I snapped a great picture of her embracing Tom.  Tom wrote a report.  This was my first time meeting Lisa Lambe and seeing her perform live.  Lisa Lambe also looked at me and said "we have the same hair!" (side note: I did not get any hair cuts in 2019).

Lisa Kelly: I saw her show in Peachtree City, Georgia.  This was my first time seeing Lisa Kelly perform and meeting her, and it was my first time meeting Chloe.  I wrote a report in this thread.  This was the foundation of a short but sweet road trip with my dad.

May 2019 was super busy with the 3 Ancient Land shows and two solo shows.  It was worth it but I'll probably be trying to space out my vacations more in the future!

Herb Alpert and Lani Hall:  But this one is.  I just bought tickets for this show because I saw it on the event calendar and it had a female vocalist.  I went with one of my housemates.  The concert had an amazing feeling of nostalgia and love to it that really touched me.  It turns out that Herb Alpert is a very famous trumpeter who has been active since the 1960s, and most of the people in my parents' generation grew up listening to him and still remember him.

Weird Al Yankovic: I saw Weird Al in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center with two friends, as part of his Strings Attached tour.

Smith Center Broadway musicals: In 2019, I bought my first season ticket for broadway musicals at the Smith Center.  My favorites were Book of Mormon, Anastasia, and Wicked.  My ticket includes three more musicals in 2020 so I'm looking forward to those.  I also volunteered for a sensory-friendly performance of The Grinch and for some reason The Smith Center decided they should write an article about me doing that.

Linda Eder: I saw Linda Eder perform at The Smith Center (specifically, Myron's Cabaret Jazz) in Las Vegas.  She really impressed me, and I got to meet one of her superfans at my table, and I got to meet her too.  I wrote about her.

Magic of Christmas tour:  I saw the Celtic Woman Magic of Christmas Tour in Denver and wrote a report about it.

Taj Express: I had front row center tickets for this amazing show in Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center, and I brought one of my housemates.

More Smith Center shows: I lost count of how many shows I've seen at The Smith Center in 2019, both in Reynolds Hall and at Myron's Cabaret Jazz.  Most of them were good, but not quite good enough to make it into this list.

Las Vegas music

David Perrico Pop Strings orchestra:  I discovered this fun group in 2019.  Their shows always have a lot of musicians, including multiple vocalists and a big string section.  They do a show every Friday and Saturday on the Las Vegas strip, and I also saw them perform twice at Myron's Cabaret Jazz and once at the San Gennaro Feast.  The latter was my favorite time seeing them, because I could grab a front row seat, there was dancing, and the weather was perfect.  I posted pictures from that night.  I'm especially a fan of their star cello player, cellobat, who also plays for Aerosmith at their live concerts.

Piazza Lounge:  I started visiting the Piazza Lounge in 2019, and went there several times to enjoy the live music with female vocalists on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.  It's a classy atmosphere where you can order food and drinks.  The one who sings on Monday nights is my friend, Laura Shaffer!

Irish Pubs:  In 2019, I caught live music at four different Irish pubs: McMullan's, Nine Fine Irishmen, Ri Ra, and Ritchie McNeely's.  The most notable act to mention is Killian's Angels, a Celtic all-girl band who were very friendly to me one time when I saw their monthly show.

Swing City Dolls:  I've been seeing this trio of female vocalists perform at the Rocks Lounge in the Red Rock Casino for many years, and I continued in 2019.  I go every month with the friend who introduced me to them, and we like swing dancing to their music.

So there is lots of live music from performers based in Las Vegas!  It's hard for me to get excited about going to an event that happens every week or every month, because it takes energy to get myself out of the house and I always tell myself I can go another day, but I think I'd enjoy figuring out a way to make some of these acts a regular part of my life, and perhaps getting friends or family to go with me.


Conclusion

In 2019, I had a variety of new experiences and made a LOT of good memories.  I did a lot of traveling and had a lot of fun friends and relatives.  The folks I met through this forum — Tom, Tracie, Gregg, and Rachel — were a big part of that!  I saw lots of different kinds of shows, but I have concluded that none of them can come close to replacing a Celtic Woman show. 
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 12:22:51 AM by VegasDavid » Logged
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