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1
Celtic Woman / Celtic Woman on Blu-Ray
« on: December 10, 2018, 08:14:34 PM »
Is there really only 4 Celtic Woman concert specials that are available on Blu-ray?

Emerald
Home for Christmas
Destiny
Ancient Land  (to be available on Blu-Ray around spring 2019)

Those seem to be the only 4 items in my entire Celtic-Woman-related concert DVD collection (including all the solo work) that are available on Blu-ray.

They seriously never released Homecoming on Blu-ray? That's odd...

2
Ancient Land / Celtic Woman: Ancient Land DVD: Track List
« on: December 10, 2018, 07:50:09 PM »
I'm posting the track list from the Shop PBS version of the DVD separately for people that want to see the track list without the additional spoilers in my write-up.

Tracks that appear on the DVD but not on the PBS TV special are in bold.

Track List

1. Ancient Land
2. Homeland
3. Moorlough Shore
4. Ae Fond Kiss
5. Amazing Grace
6. Long Journey Home
7. Sive
8. Shenandoah
9. County Down
10. Love & Honour
11. Ballroom of Romance
12. Follow Me
13. Mná na hÉireann
14. Over the Rainbow
15. Tara's Tunes
16. Danny Boy
17. Garden of Eden
18. Faith's Song
19. Siúil A Rún
20. Be Still
21. Going Home
22. The Enchanted Way
23. The Parting Glass

3
Ancient Land / Celtic Woman: Ancient Land DVD (PBS Release): Write-up
« on: December 10, 2018, 06:24:57 PM »
I watched the Celtic Woman: Ancient Land DVD release from Shop PBS today!

The Ancient Land DVD from PBS has the full concert (all the songs that were recorded at the castle).

But the general release (at least the Blu-Ray release) will likely have additional content that the PBS release currently does NOT have.

If you're looking for a review of the portion of the concert that was shown by PBS, see:
http://www.celticwomanforum.net/index.php?topic=617.0

The mini-write-up below contains spoilers for the Shop PBS release of the DVD.


--- SPOILERS BELOW ---
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The Celtic Woman: Ancient Land DVD release from PBS has the full concert (ALL the songs recorded at Johnstown Castle while the audience was in attendance).

That includes the 3 additional solos that were recorded on night #2 at the castle that were not on the PBS special:

* County Down (Mairead Carlin)
* Faith's Song (Megan Walsh)
* Garden of Eden (Eabha McMahon)

I know of at least one person that was in the audience that got a clear close-up during the additional songs that did not appear on PBS.  ;)

I knew there was going to be quite a bit of bonus content for Ancient Land, so I was surprised when I started up the DVD and found that there were only two menu items. Something like:

* Play concert
* Track selection

I checked the track selection hoping to see bonus content in the track listing.

I did not.

I did maintain a measure of hope during the DVD that there was hidden bonus content at the end of the concert.

There wasn't.

This is likely why the general DVD release hasn't been announced yet. I think they're still working on the extra content. I'm unsure as of the time I'm writing this if the extra content will be on the DVD or only on the Blu-Ray. I can only say that we know from multiple very reliable sources that there is quite a bit of extra content and that it's NOT on the PBS release of the DVD.



Track List

1. Ancient Land
2. Homeland
3. Moorlough Shore
4. Ae Fond Kiss
5. Amazing Grace
6. Long Journey Home
7. Sive
8. Shenandoah
9. County Down
10. Love & Honour
11. Ballroom of Romance
12. Follow Me
13. Mná na hÉireann
14. Over the Rainbow
15. Tara's Tunes
16. Danny Boy
17. Garden of Eden
18. Faith's Song
19. Siúil A Rún
20. Be Still
21. Going Home
22. The Enchanted Way
23. The Parting Glass




Additional Tracks

The 3 additional tracks are definitely worth getting.

County Down is a beautiful Mairead Carlin solo. The melody is soothing and rolls gracefully up and down like the hills of the Irish countryside. As mentioned in my writeup of the CD, the turns in this song are really pretty. Mairead's voice is simply enchanting.

Garden of Eden is an incredibly fun Eabha McMahon solo and it's one that she wrote (prior to joining Celtic Woman in 2015). I couldn't imagine the arrangement being any better than it was. It was absolutely fantastic! This is definitely one of my favourite tracks from both the CD and the DVD.

Faith's Song is a moving solo performed by Megan Walsh. Megan is accompanied by a choir, dressed in black behind her. Just as she did on the album, Megan shows off her stunning pop voice in this song. She has a strong voice and although she may have been nervous at the castle, that didn't stop her from projecting a lot of confidence when she performed. Listening to her makes me feel confident in other aspects of my life and I think she's the first member of Celtic Woman to ever have that particular effect on me.

The Parting Glass was a song that did appear in the PBS special. What wasn't shown on the PBS special was something that happened before the song at the castle: a dedication to Dave Kavanagh by the girls. Sweet Mairead got emotional during the dedication. It was one of many treasured "live Castle experience" moments that Mairead provided, but this was the only one of those moments to make it to the DVD. They pulled away to a mid-range shot as she was wiping away a tear, so it wasn't quite as powerful a moment as it was on night 1 at the castle, when I really felt her pouring her heart out on stage. Still, I'm very glad they captured this.




Bonus Content

As mentioned, this Shop PBS release of the DVD does NOT have bonus content beyond the concert itself.

As far as the content not on the Shop PBS release of the DVD, I am almost 100% certain there is a behind the scenes that will accompany at least the Blu-Ray release in spring. It's possible there will be more bonus content than a "making of" documentary, but I can't promise that.

I'm kind of in a difficult position because of the surprisingly absent extra content on the DVD. I kind of promoted the Shop PBS DVD thinking the bonus content would be on it. I don't think I ever stated it was, but I assumed it was and I'm pretty sure other people did too.

I don't want to tell people to not get the Shop PBS version, but I was forced to make some emergency posts cautioning people that I don't think this is the full set of content that will be available in spring with the general release. People for whom the PBS special will not be airing until January - March might want to get the DVD anyways, in spite of it not having all the content. I think knowing that this DVD does not have the full set of content, most people that aren't planning to get a separate copy in spring anyways would choose to skip this release wait until spring.

I'm not disappointed I got the DVD from PBS since I wanted to be able to show it to people during the Christmas holidays. I really wish it had the behind the scenes on it though.


Visual

That castle looks really pretty all lit up and the fog, in spite of the fact that it muddied a few of the shots, caused some pretty cool light-scattering, added to the mystical feel of the music, and was a benefit overall.

I still think Songs From the Heart holds a slight edge in terms of being visually spectacular: we got to see a lot of the Powerscourt grounds on the SftH DVD and the Wicklow Mountains in the background looking away from the stage. In Ancient Land, the castle looked incredibly beautiful. There's no doubt about that. But the only time you get to see the rest of the beautiful grounds is a brief flyover before they cut to the concert. You don't get to see the other side of the castle at all during the concert itself (most likely you will see more in the spring release on the behind the scenes).


Technical Note

This has nothing to do with this particular DVD, but I'll only be getting Blu-Ray going forward. I believe most DVDs have 480p video (someone please correct me if I'm wrong), whereas Blu-Ray has 1080p. If you have a Blu-Ray player it does seem to make DVDs look better than if you play them on a regular DVD player. But considering my DVD player is now so bad that it can't make it thorough a single track without skipping repeatedly, it's time for me to finally get Blu-Ray. That's going to be an expensive overhaul (a Blu-Ray player and probably a new speaker system, since the one I have is starting to suck, plus I have to replace all my DVDs with Blu-Ray versions where possible), but it's long overdue and will be well worth it.


Overall

As I mentioned in my previous writeups (on the PBS special and the CD), Ancient Land is the most fun set of Celtic Woman music I've ever heard! The harmony is gorgeous, the arrangements are fantastic and the visuals are breathtaking.

Depending on your specific taste in music, you may enjoy A New Journey even more.

In spite of the pretty significant shock of not having any of the bonus content (aside from the 3 extra songs) on this DVD, this is definitely one of my favourite Celtic Woman DVDs.




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--- SPOILERS ABOVE ---



4
Festival of Stars: The Irish Jukebox starring Nathan Carter


On December 4th, 2018, Nathan Carter and guests (including Chloë Agnew) performed at the Meridian Center in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.


Set List

Act 1:

Wagon Wheel
Good Time Girls
King of the Road
Caledonia
Winnie O'Neill
Glenn Campbell Medley
Reels
Fairytale of New York (duet with Chloë)
Feels Like Home (Chloë)
Isle of Hope (Chloë)
Temple Bar
Figtzgerald's 1 Tune / Dance
Banks of the Roses
Reprise

Act 2:

Loch Lomond
Home to Donegal
Brush Dance Mason
Ireland I'm Coming Home (Chloë)
Grace (Chloë)
My Church
Fitzgerald's 2 Tunes
Galway Girl
Thank God I'm A Country Boy
Town I Loved So Well
Irish Rover
Oh Holy Night
Reprise Irish Rover




The Journey

I had a dream the night before the show that I was late for the show because of traffic and because I got lost. I was really devastated I missed out on Chloë and was pretty relieved when I woke up.

The combination of that dream and my terrifying travel experience the previous weekend led me to leave over 5 hours before the start of the show, even though it was only a 1.5 hour drive under normal traffic conditions.

The drive to St. Catherines was mercifully less eventful than the drive to Orla's show in Toronto. The weather was great. There was a rush-hour congestion in some places, but for the most part, traffic was moving along pretty well.

I met up with prideslaw before the show for a bit to eat and some refreshments. We then headed over to the venue and waited a while for them to let people in. It was really chilly outside. Fortunately, the staff let people wait inside part of the building until the door opened.



The Merch Table

For the second Tuesday in a row, I spent a LOT more money than I was planning to at the merch table. There were lots of Nathan Carter CDs as one would expect, though not all of them. The only Nathan Carter album and DVD I have so far is Celtic Roots, from last year, because they both featured Chloë on a couple of songs.

I looked at the track list on some of the CDs but opted to get Nathan Carter's Celtic Country DVD instead. It'll be something fun to watch whenever I don't want to overdo the Celtic Woman DVDs.

The Fitzgerald's (who are from Ontario, Canada) had 2 CDs and a DVD available. They're really talented and I enjoyed their performance at Nathan Carter's show in Toronto last year, so I ended up getting both CDs and the DVD to support and enjoy them.

Chloë's "The Thing About You" EP and "Home for Christmas" EP were available too. Heartstrings was supposed to be at the merch table too, but didn't make it due to a shipping issue. I already have all her CDs and her DVD and she's already signed all my copies, so ironically, though I was sporting a Chloë t-shirt and was there to see her, I ended up getting everyone's merch except hers.




Venue and Crowd

The performance was in half of a hockey arena. I was actually pretty surprised at the lackluster turnout. The floor section was pretty full, but the stands at the back and the wings were mostly empty. There were maybe 1000-1200 people. For comparison, Celtic Woman last year in London, Ontario had slightly fewer floor seats, but the stands were pretty full for the Celtic Woman show.

The crowd was alright, but didn't seem nearly as enthusiastic as the one in Toronto last year. Either the sound didn't carry well or almost all the clapping was done by the first few rows.

The show was actually the last in a series of shows in St. Catherines over a two day span, part of the Festival of Stars. Perhaps a lot of people attended the earlier shows and there wasn't much energy left for the last one. A lot of people missed out on a great show!

I had an assigned front row seat, but as is typical of front row arena seating, those chairs were packed together pretty tightly. I had to sort of hold my arms in the whole time, which made clapping along to songs a bit a little awkward and uncomfortable.



The Show

Just like last year in Toronto, the show was really fun! Lots of energy in the music and from the performers. Nathan has a lot of good songs. Some of my favourites are "Banks of the Roses," "Irish Rover," "Temple Bar" and "Reels." Nathan does a great job with "Town I Loved So Well" too. It's a long song, but he performs it in a way that I don't get bored by the end. It's a song about Derry and the hard times it's been through. At least two of my favourite singers (Mairead Carlin and Margaret Keys) are from Derry and that added to my interest in the song, which was great in its own right.

The Brush Dance was brief, but both impressive and funny. Apparently they had three brooms for the dance, but they all went missing. So one of the event staff had to give them a maintenance broom.

There weren't really any songs I didn't enjoy.

The Fitzgeralds are really talented siblings from a nearby town in Ontario, Canada. They all play violin very well and they are also really good tap dancers. They dance with a lot of intensity and pace, kind of like something you'd see in Lord of the Dance. That must be very hard on the knees. I was super-impressed!

My favourite Fitzgeralds moment was their performance of "Danny Boy." I did like the first half a bit more than the second, but that violin harmony in the first half was as beautiful as one would hear from Celtic Woman singers. It was REALLY pretty!

It was a long time before Chloë first came out on stage, but that was consistent with last year's show in Toronto.

Chloë wore a brilliant white (angelic) dress in the first act and a predominantly black dress with a touch of white sparkles at the top. Both dresses were quite stunning.

Chloë performed in 6 songs:

Fairytale of New York (duet)
Feels Like Home
Isle of Hope
Ireland I'm Coming Home
Grace
My Church (duet)

A song called "Gathering" was on the set list. I'm not sure if that was supposed to be "The Gathering," but if it was, they didn't perform it.

As always, Chloë sounded amazing and performed with a lot of heart. She also waved to me a few times and even blew me a few kisses, including a big one at the end of Isle of Hope.

Near the end of the show, during Irish Rover, I saw Chloë emerge from the curtain to stage left to record part of the song. You could actually see me in one of her Instagram stories, albeit very briefly and from a distance.




Meet and Greet

Now for the part of the story everyone has been waiting for (or at least everyone that saw my teaser photos late last night after I got home).

The Meet and Greet was on the ground level in the hallway at the end of the arena (behind the seats furthest from the stage). We waited around for a while so we could be near the back of the line and not be rushed by someone waiting behind us. While we were waiting, I saw two of the Fitzgeralds walk by. I told them they were amazing. They thanked me for the compliment, but were in a hurry, so didn't stop to chat with me.

I think most people must have left because there seemed like less than even a hundred people in line to meet Nathan and Chloë. Based on the way we were lined up, Nathan was first and Chloë was second, just like in Toronto. Also, just like in Toronto, most of the crowd was there to see Nathan and most seemed to not even know who Chloë was. She seemed like she was getting bored all by herself over there. She saw me and smiled and waved at me while I was waiting to take prideslaw's picture with Nathan. I felt like she wanted me to come over and keep her company. She seemed a little dejected when I didn't. I wanted to, but I had a plan this time, one I had been working on off and on since I got my ticket in May or June, before the show was even announced and I wanted people to clear out so she could hear what I had to say.

I met Nathan first. Thanked him for coming back to Canada and told him his show was really fun. I gave him a hearty handhake and a gift bag, had him sign the cover of the DVD I had purchased at the merch table earlier, and got a few photos. Then it was Chloë time!

There was nobody left in line, so Nathan left the area. A few of the crew apparently stuck around for the show that was about to happen. Fortunately, with most of the people already cleared out of the hallway, it was actually possible to talk to her.

I had met Chloë four times previously. Each experience had been a really positive one. But while I had told her bits and pieces of things I wanted to say, there were things in my heart I had really wanted to tell her but could never say them in earlier Meet and Greets. This time, I worked really hard on exactly what I wanted to say and how and I practiced a lot. It definitely paid off.

I rarely post details of what I tell the girls in cards, letters, or Meet and Greets because I feel like those are private moments between them and I. In this case though, I think you need to read what I told her to understand what happened next.

I started by telling her how great it was to see her again. She asked me how I was and I told her I was great, because I had just seen my favourite singer in the world perform live and that only a few months ago, I had see Celtic Woman perform at a castle in Ireland ... twice! We chatted really briefly about that, but I wanted to keep the conversation focused on her this time. I had some more about various locations Ireland she inspired met to go to in the letter ;)

My voice was shaking the whole time because I was fighting back the emotion.

What I said went a little something like this:



Chloë, I've been meaning to tell you something since the first time I met you. Maybe you've heard this all before, but I'm going to "Say It Anyway" (quoting one of the songs from her EP).

Your EP "The Thing About You" is soooo good! It's really fun to listen to and I love it very much. You are an amazing, singer, songwriter, and person. There's nobody else like you.

I honestly believe that hearing your voice for the first time is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I can hardly believe that it's been only two and a half years since I first met you, because if feels like your music has been such a huge part of my life for so long.

That first time I met you, I was soooo nervous. There I was, standing in line, about to meet my favourite singer in the world, not knowing what to say to her that could ever thank her enough for all her lovely music. Even though her music meant the world to me, I didn't even know if she knew who I was.

I was so surprised when you recognized me! You made me feel very special and appreciated and you do that for me all the time. I'm so grateful to you for that. That first time I met you and every time since, has been a dream come true. Someone once said that you should never meet your heroes. But that person never met someone as wonderful as you.




This was a very rare Meet and Greet, perhaps the only one, where I actually said almost everything I had planned to say and close to the way I wanted to express it. The delivery wasn't perfect or as smooth as it could have been, but I think it worked out even better the way it did.

Right from the start, Chloë was feeling every word I said. She was overwhelmed a few times and was fighting back tears almost the entire time. She was genuinely appreciative of everything I said about her and her EP and she was crying when I told her the story about waiting in line to meet her for the first time.

There were a few times I had to collect my thoughts and she thought I was done. But I had done enough Meet and Greets at that point to have the confidence to tell her I had more I wanted to tell her.

She was so patient with me and when she saw I was struggling emotionally to pour my heart out in front of her, she took my hands, kept holding them, and re-assured me that I could do it.

There were still staff and crew in the hallway watching all this, but I didn't care. I didn't even notice them until it was over. In that moment, there was only Chloë and I and the world and all its troubles seemed far away.

She thanked me for being so supportive of her and told me how much all those lovely things I said meant to her as an artist and as a person.

I then showed her a poster from the first show where I met her and asked her to sign it.

The story behind that poster / photo is I had originally made a deal with the venue administrator at that first show that I would write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper (which I did) about the show and the venue in exchange for a poster from the show. It's been a few years now and I never did get that poster in spite of following up on it a few times. So I ended up making one from bits and pieces online, made a few modifications, and and re-sized it to 8x10 to make it fit in with my other signed photos. I've been waiting since the first time I met her to sign something like that and she finally did. Now I can frame that and the ticket she signed at my very first Meet and Greet ever and they can finally be together.

We hugged each other several times and they were the best hugs ever, because we both really meant it.

I presented her with the gift bag I got her. One of the items inside was a letter explaining the gifts I got her, including a gift I got her in Ireland at a moment when I though of her. I think she's really going to like that one when she reads it. [ EDIT: She did ;) ]

Last came the photos. We did our regular set of poses and then Chloë pointed my face towards the camera and kissed me on the cheek!!!!

That ... was ... AWESOME!!!!

She did leave some lipstick on there. I was tempted to "never wash it again." But I decided going into work the next day like that might not be appropriate, so I begrudgingly washed it off when I got home (after admiring it for a while).

We gave each other a few more big hugs, wished each other a Merry Christmas, and then it was time to say goodbye ... at least until we meet again next year.

I was smiling almost the entire 1.5 to 2 hours it took to get home. I put on my Celtic Woman Christmas Compilation mix CD, but it was really hard to concentrate on it because I was still so overwhelmed with excitement. I was so proud of myself for finally saying what I wanted to and not giving up when I got stuck. That kiss she gave me was really, REALLY special. But the thing that touched my heart the most was how Chloë was so moved by the things I said to her and how, like she always is, was there for me to give me courage and confidence when I needed it most.

Thank you Chloë Agnew for your patience, your strength, your beautiful voice and the best Meet and Greet of my life. <3

5
Ancient Land / Celtic Woman in Classical Crossover Magazine (Fall 2018)
« on: December 03, 2018, 05:34:02 PM »
Celtic Woman had an article in the Fall 2018 edition of Classical Crossover Magazine.

It does contain potential spoilers for the Best of Christmas tour, so beware!

http://www.classicalcrossovermagazine.us/fall2018issue/

The article was really well done overall.

There were a few inaccuracies that serious Celtic Woman fans might notice (ie. the year Celtic Woman started). But other than that this was a great article! It was definitely not a "cookie cutter Q+A interview."

6
Ancient Land / Red Rocks
« on: December 03, 2018, 05:18:56 PM »
Two exciting pieces of news over the weekend.

1. Celtic Woman is going to Red Rocks on the Ancient Land tour! The show hasn't been officially announced, but the show is going to be May 26, 2018.

2. A bunch of us from the forum are going to see them there! Confirmed Meet and Greet tickets!!!

Hopefully the weather holds up, because if so, this is going to be the BEST ... BIRTHDAY ... EVER!!!!!!


7
Órlagh Fallon / Orla: Celtic Christmas with the Upper Canada Chorus (2018)
« on: December 02, 2018, 01:10:13 PM »
Celtic Christmas with the Upper Canada Chorus featuring Orla Fallon


Last night (December 1st), I finally got to see Orla Fallon live and to meet her!

She performed in Toronto at the George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, Toronto, Canada.



Set List:

Christmas Pipes
Walking in the Air
Deck the Halls (sing-along)
Pat a Pan
Bells of Christmas (Orla)
Away In A Manger (Orla)
How Great Thou Art (Orla)
Carrickfergus (Orla)
Do You Heart What I Hear (Orla)
Mo Ghile Mear (Orla) (sing-along)

Intermission

Evergreen
Edelweiss (sing-along)
Orinoco Flow
Green Grow the Rushes (Orla) (sing-along)
I'll Tell Me Ma (Orla)
In the Bleak Midwinter (Orla)
Glow
All Is Well (Orla)
Silent Night (Orla) (sing-along)
The Parting Glass (Orla)
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Orla) (sing-along)



The Stage

The show wasn't in a particularly large auditorium. It has just over 1000 seats, but it felt smaller, like the intimate sized venues in which Chloë normally performs.

The stage was appropriately decorated for Christmas (certainly more so than the Best of Christmas show in Buffalo). The front of the stage was lined with candles (artificial, of course). There were several bare trees on the stage that were decorated with Christmas lights. There were also Christmas lights draped along the balcony behind the stage.

To my left facing the stage (aka "stage right") was a piano, a double-bass, a percussion set, and probably a few more instruments I couldn't see from my vantage point. On the other side of the stage, there was a section for string and wind instruments, perhaps 6-10 pieces.

In the center of the stage was a rostrum for the conductor. There were several rows at the back of the stage for the choir. There was also a few rows in the balcony above the back of the stage for additional choir members.

I got tickets the moment I was alerted to her show by Bands In Town, but they must have had a pre-sale or something, because our seats were in row G. We still had a pretty good view of the stage and Orla, but she did confirm after the show that she couldn't see any of us that far back from the stage.



The Concert

Orla performed with the Upper Canada Chorus, a choir of mostly children and young adults. It actually reminded me a lot of the Lisa Kelly Voice Academy and brought back some good memories of Lisa's "Voice of Ireland" show in Peachtree City last year.

The Choir entered the stage in a simple but creative criss-cross, with alternating rows entering from opposite wings of the stage. There were multiple rows of choir members both on the main stage level and in the balcony along the back of the stage.

A large portion of the crowd were family members of choir members, who waved excitedly and called out to their kids before the show started.

The young ladies in the front row of the choir, some of the oldest and likely the longest-tenured members, had some very pretty black dresses on. I don't think I've seen a choir dressed up that well before, not even on a Celtic Woman DVD. The contingent in the balcony I suppose were the newer members and had on t-shirts instead.

The show opened with the choir, band, and orchestra. It was great to hear Christmas Pipes live. I think they should have put a microphone somewhere near the choir to amplify the sound a bit. With them being at the back of the stage, they got drowned out a bit at times by the band and orchestra at the front. It's definitely a song that benefits from power. Still, the choir sounded great for this song and for the whole show.

The conductor explained before the next song that Walking in the Air was about a snowflake. You'd think I would have known that already, but it's been a long time since I saw the movie (maybe 25 years) and I honestly never thought about it before. I actually used to dislike that song until I heard Chloë sing it.

The audience got to sing along with Deck the Halls! The men and women in the audience sang alternating lines. The lyrics were printed in the program for the show. As luck would have it though, I had recently practiced some of the lyrics. The crowd participation was quite good and we did a great job of singing along.

Orla finally entered the stage from my left (stage right) for Bells of Christmas! She wore a black dress with some white patterns on it. It was really exciting to finally see Orla! She sounded as great live as I could have imagined and she doesn't look like she's aged a day since she was in Celtic Woman.

After Away In A Manger, Orla mentioned something that she had been told when she was very young: A great performance isn't so much about hitting all the right notes; it's about singing with your heart and soul and connecting with the audience. Orla did all of those things very well.

Orla didn't have her harp with her. But during a few of the songs, like Carrickfergus, Orla was moving her fingers through the air as though she was.

I actually had to mop up my face a bit during Carrickfergus. It was so special to finally hear Orla perform such a beautiful song (which she sang on A New Journey) live. But it quickly got even more amazing, when the audience got to sing along to Mo Ghile Mear! You'd think I'd know the lyrics to this song by now, but I've honestly never looked them up. I just knew the approximate sounds from having listened to Celtic Woman, but I never learned the actual words. The lyrics were printed in the program so I got around to learning them! We practiced a few times, with the choir director coaching us. I was a bit worried that singing in Irish would intimidate the audience, but it surprisingly didn't. The audience eagerly and pretty impressively learned the lyrics after only a few tries. I got to sing one of my all-time favorite Celtic Woman songs with Orla Fallon! That was incredibly cool!

During Mo Ghile Mear, let me just say that was quite obvious how talented a violinist Mairead Nesbitt is to have been able to play that. I hate the phrase "it just wasn't the same" quite vehemently. But in this case, perhaps it would have been appropriate. Not even some of the best violinists in the world can play like Mairead or Tara can.

The second act opened with the choir singing Evergreen. I'm not sure I've heard that song before.

I guess the audience participation was so good in the first act that the choir director decided to do an impromptu audience sing-along of Edelweiss. That didn't go quite as well. The lyrics for that song were not in the program and we didn't get to practice before the song. Most audience didn't know the lyrics, at least not well enough to sing them confidently. The choir director called out the start of each line to us in advance, but that was a bit distracting and it didn't really help people who didn't know the rest of the line anyways.

The choir swayed their arms back and forth for Orinoco Flow. The audience really liked that one and it got one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night.

Then came another special moment: an audience sing-along of Green Grow the Rushes! The choir director asked the audience if there were any Celtic Woman fans in attendance. Before I could think about it, I started excitedly waving my arm in the air like a child. LOL! The choir director mentioned that Celtic Woman fans were very loyal and passionate. Yes. Yes, we are. <3

Orla came out on stage near the end of the song to sing along with us. As I was singing along, to Green Grow the Rushes, I imagined I was at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, singing along with Lisa and Chloë during the Believe DVD recording. I regretted missing out on that special experience but getting to sing this with Orla finally took away some of that long-held regret.

For Act 2, Orla was wearing a dress with a black top and a blue and black bottom. The top of the dress had an eccentric flourish of material. I'm not sure of the correct name for it, but it was like large, stylized pedals of a flower coming out of her dress.

We got to clap along to Orla singing Tell Me Ma, a fun song which she performed with The Dubliners on her My Land DVD. It was another experience during this show that made me feel I had gone back in time to participate in a DVD recording I missed out on. It was really special!

Orla singing In the Bleak Midwinter live was very pretty.

Glow was a song performed just with the choir, band, and orchestra. It had an ethereal flavor to it. They turned the lights down for this song. The choir was holding artificial candles in their hands and at the end of the song, they were supposed to reveal them all. It was really pretty when they did, although a few of the kids didn't quite keep their lit candle tips covered for the whole song, thereby letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.

Orla came back on stage, but I guess someone forgot to turn the lights back on, because Orla and the rest of the people on stage performed All Is Well and Silent Night pretty much in darkness (but for the Christmas lights), without any spotlights. All Is Well was another very pretty song and having the swaying, artificial candles still illuminated for it was a really nice touch.

The Parting Glass was one of the two songs during the night that made me tear up. It's still my favourite song. <3 I wasn't quite as spectacular as the finales from Believe and Emerald, obviously. But it was still very emotional and effective, with a steady build in tempo and energy throughout the song.

I knew there was one more song left, but I gave Orla a standing ovation anyways. So did the rest of the crowd. I wouldn't call it "thunderous, rapturous applause" by any means (we didn't have Caoimhe, pronounced "Keeva," cameras, or a castle to motivate us, I guess. But it was a respectable send-off and I'm sure she appreciated it.

The show wrapped up up with a sing along of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and then an instrumental rendition of Mo Ghile Mear as the audience playout!



Meet and Greet

There were allegedly only a few posters available for Orla to sign after the show, so I ended up rushing out to get one while the playout was still going on. I was therefore only the second person in line to meet her! The shortage of posters was greatly exaggerated though.

We had been told earlier in the show that Orla would only sign items purchase at the merch table, so the 8x10 photo I made for her to sign turned out to be unnecessary. The poster was really large (18x12 inches), but had pretty much the same picture (her Celtic Christmas DVD cover) that I was going to get her to sign anyways, albeit the poster had significantly less color definition than the DVD cover photo did. I would have preferred a much smaller poster, honestly. After getting my Best of Christmas poster framed and possibly a poster from a certain venue in Colorado in May, I think that will take up the last of my wall space and I'll have to start rotating signed pictures on and off the walls going forward. Either that or risk a cluttered look that would take away from the photos.

At the merch table, pretty much all of her CDs and DVDs were available. I of course already have all of her work. I felt kind of bad about not getting at least one of them as a gift, but the reality is that most of the people I would give such a gift to wouldn't watch / listen to it without me anyways, so it wouldn't do them much good.

We waited for a few minutes, but then Orla finally came out to meet us! She was wearing her Act 2 dress. The person ahead of me picked up a poster and 5 of her CDs, all of which she signed. So I had to wait a while. Then at last I got to meet Orla!!!!

One of the first things she asked me was whether I was the one that sent her the email. Uhhh, didn't know anything about that, so I said I Tweeted her I was coming. She said she didn't really use Twitter. Great waited like 12 years to meet Orla and her first impression was one confusion. LOL!!!

There was a long line behind me and based on how long it took to get the first person's stuff signed, I decided to only tell her the first part of what I was planning to say (so I didn't hold up the whole line for a few minutes). I told her it was nice to finally meet her and that she had one of the most beautiful and soothing I had ever heard. She seemed genuinely touched. I took that opportunity to give her my bag with my secret gift inside it, as well as a Canada postcard and a letter, which in my opinion, was one of the best I've written for one of the girls. I also told her I was really grateful I had a chance to sing along to so many of my favourite songs. I got to hug her. She signed my poster and got a photo with her. Orla was very sweet, although she did seem like she was in a bit of a rush at times.

After the line ended, I stuck around with some of the Celtic Woman Elders to chat with Orla a bit more. I did get to say a few more disjointed things to her. She was definitely distracted by the Elders though (or I suppose I was distracting her from the Elders). So I ended up saying a little less than half of what I wanted to and my delivery was a bit lacking. Anyways, I think she'll enjoy the gift and the card and hopefully the postcard plants the seed for her to come back next year. One day, maybe I'll be an Elder too. ;)

I do wish I had more attention during the Meet and Greet, but she didn't even know who I was before last night and I understand that she was eager to catch up with the Elders.



The Journey

Earlier in the week, I had been worried about the driving conditions to see Celtic Woman: The Best of Christmas in Buffalo. The drive both too and from Orla's show was MUCH worse.

There wasn't any snow, but in both directions, it was a drive at night with fog and pretty heavy rain. There was almost no visibility of the lane markings and passing through construction zones, there were marks on the road from where concrete barriers had previously been placed that were far more reflective than the actual lane markings were, resulting in dangerous levels of confusion.

There was a lot of "white knuckle" driving involved. I had planned to play some Celtic Woman music both on the way there and the way back, but I ended up having to drive in total silence because I needed full concentration to avoid drifting out of my lane and watch out for other drivers that lost track of where they were on the road.

The drive into Buffalo had been surprisingly smooth, with very few traffic issues. The drive into Toronto was far from the most congested I've seen, but it still took far longer than anticipated. Traffic was moving steadily for most of the way there, but at less than 50% of normal highway speeds. I had to bail on the main highway into Toronto because in spite of having what should have been over an hour and a half of buffer time, about half way there, I decided there was a legitimate risk of being late for the show if I stayed on the main road. So I took the obscenely expensive express toll road around a section of the main highway. That's where things got even more interesting...

The traffic, as it usually is, was significantly better on the toll road. However, at some point on the toll road, I heard a series of three evenly-spaced loud pops/bangs just to my left, accompanied by three bright flashes. That happened in the space of about a second and it was literally within a foot or two of my car. It happened as a car was passing me in the left lane. My first instinct was I was getting shot at. However, I suspect those were actually low-yield explosives going off, most likely firecrackers, possibly cherry bombs. Thankfully, it didn't appear to damage the tires. There was a car to my right, so if I had panicked enough to swerve, I'd probably be dead now.

That's actually the second time this year that's happened to me on that road. Last time though was during the day and good visibility. I did swerve then. However, the fact that it had happened before probably kept me alive this time.

I ended up getting off the toll road to take a city road and avoid the last stretch of the main highway, which was really backed up. I parked in the first lot I could find near the venue. By that point, I had gotten turned around enough I tried to use the GPS to find the venue. Right on cue, my phone's GPS refused to cooperate. I asked someone on the sidewalk where the venue was, but the person didn't know. So, I jogged around rather frantically for a good 5-10 minutes (not an easy proposition on bad knees and atrocious cardio). I made it less than 20 minutes before the start of the show and probably scared the heck out of prideslaw, because I had his ticket to the show.

The drive back was mercifully less eventful, although visibility was absolutely terrible and temperature was right around freezing, creating the potential for black ice. That was a pretty terrifying driving experience in both directions.



Overall

Orla's show was really fun! Her live voice sounded pretty much as lovely as it does on her albums. Getting to sing along to some of my favourite songs was unexpected and very special! The choir did a great job and the instrumental arrangements were as fantastic as always with her work. The drive there and back was really bad. Considering I survived it, Orla was worth it, but I feel kind of lucky to still be here.

The show had a lot of Nostalgia and that made it even more special.

I meant what I said to her: that she has one of the most beautiful and soothing voices in the world. I'm so glad that I finally got to experience her live.

Many of her songs have touched my heart over the years, but to close this write-up, I wanted to share with you a paraphrasing of one of my favorites, which describes what Orla and indeed all of Celtic Woman, past and present, have meant in my life:

You'll never be the sun
Turning in the sky
And you won't be the moon above me
On a moonlit night
And you won't be the stars in heaven
Although they burn so bright
But even when the dark clouds gather
You will be my light.


8
Home For Christmas / Home for Christmas Tour Set List (2016)
« on: December 01, 2018, 01:33:24 PM »
Set List from the 2016 Home for Christmas Tour:

The set list if from the tour show in Saginaw back in 2016. Some other shows on the tour may have had slightly different songs and/or song order.

1. Murphy's Mistletoe Overture   (orchestra)
2. It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas   (all)
3. Deck the Halls   (all)
4. The Christmas Song   (Susan)
5. Silent Night   (Eabha)
6. We Three Kings   (Mairead and Anto)
7. Across the World   (Tara)
8. O Holy Night   (all singers)
9. Once In Royal David's City   (all)
10. Danny Boy   (all)
11. Mo Ghile Mear   (All)

Intermission (No Costume Change)

1. Carol of the Bells   (All, Tara opens)
2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town   (all)
3. What  Child Is This   (tune of Greensleeves) (Tara)
4. My Heart Will Go on   (All)
5. Ave Maria   (Mairead Carlin)
6. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas   (All)
7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear   (All)
8. White Christmas   (All)
9. Let it Snow   (All)
10. You Raise Me Up   (All)
11. Joy to the World   (All)
12. Auld Land Syne   (All + Anto)


Notes:
- In the official tour program, the order of O Holy Night and Across the World was reversed
- The order of My Heart Will Go On and Ave Maria was also reversed in the Saginaw show compared to the program
- Across the World: the crowd sadly wasn't really involved in this one. I was one of the only ones clapping that I could hear.
- We Three Kings: Mairead was ridiculously awesome in this song! I wish I took a video.
- My Heart Will Go On: the story that they told before the song, led by Mairead Carlin, was really emotionally powerful
- Mo Ghile Mear: the VoA version. It was soooo good!
- Greensleeves: WOW!!!!

9
Chloe Agnew / Chloë's Christmas (2018)
« on: November 29, 2018, 06:37:39 PM »
Chloë's doing an online StageIt show: Chloë's Christmas!

Saturday, December 08

6:00 PM EST  (3:00 PM PST)

https://www.stageit.com/chlo_agnew/chlo_s_christmas/66348

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The Journey

The weather reports the night before the show were not looking good at all. The weather to the north and west of Buffalo didn't look great, but the weather to the south and east looked terrible. The girls were travelling in from the east in their from their first show in New Jersey and there were times when it looked so bad I was worried the show might get cancelled.

For the most part, my drive over to Buffalo was great! Much less traffic than I was expecting. I actually had to take an unnecessary pit stop because I was going to get to arrive in Buffalo far earlier than planned. It was probably the smoothest drive I've had to Buffalo. The weather was a bit sour for the 30 minutes or so closest to Buffalo, both there and back. But there wasn't more than a dusting of snow and we were expecting much worse.

Even the border crossings in both directions were unusually quick and painless.

prideslaw and I met up for a quick bite to eat at the Allen Street Poutine Company before the Meet and Greet. It was adequate for its purpose: reasonably priced and sufficiently tasty sustenance.

It was only a few minutes away from Kleinhans Music Hall, but it was actually a bit tricky to get into the parking lot. It was dark and snowy at that point, shortly after 5:00 PM and the entrance I was expecting to use was actually blocked off. There was a poorly marked side road an odd angle that I ended up driving down to get to the other parking lot entrance.



Meet and Greet

The Meet and Greet was on the lower level of the venue. They actually had a table set up with free snacks and drinks. They had round tables set up and around the room and a backdrop set up for photographs. They also had free posters of the Best of Christmas show for the girls to sign!

The Meet and Greet time was 5:45 PM, with the show starting at 7:00 PM. That's an unusually long amount of time for a Meet and Greet to be held before the show. I was really excited by the prospect pre-show Meet and Greet to not be rushed to the point of absurdity.

All that for only $50!

Unfortunately, the girls were running really behind schedule. I think the Meet and Greet organizer mentioned the girls didn't finish rehearsal until almost 6:00 PM and still had to change into their dresses and get their hair and makeup done.

A lot of people were late arriving to the Meet and Greet. They were still trickling in well after 6:00 PM.

We were getting increasingly anxious as the time went by. Eventually, the M+G organizer came around to collect all the posters and said there wouldn't be time for them to sign them during the Meet and Greet, so they would have the girls sign them in time for the end of intermission. Sett told the M+G organizer at one point that we had to wrap the M+G up within 15 minutes once the girls were ready.

I think the actual Meet and Greet finally started well after 6:30 PM. We clapped as the girls came in to the room looking stunning in their dresses. Sett basically told us that they were behind schedule so just get in line and get your picture and keep it moving. It felt like the most rushed M+G I've ever experienced. prideslaw and I went last. We weren't quite standing at the proper spot in line, so Sett almost took the girls away before we even got to meet them!

I had planned things to say to the girls) about 30 seconds a piece, as well as something I really wanted to tell them at the end of the Meet and Greet. But I was so stressed out at that point that I just ran up to Eabha and hugged her without saying anything. I smiled at Mairead and hugged her without saying anything significant. Megan told me it was so nice to finally meet me! Well, that was my opening line for her, so I just told her she was amazing and I hugged her. Last was Tara. I normally forget what I'm going to say to her anyways. So I just smiled at her, said something like "hi Tara" and then gave her my traditional CWazyTom bonus hug.

One of the girls got makeup on my dress shirt. I really didn't mind. I'm never washing that again :D.

I got a quick photo with the girls. Then I handed them their gift bags, which included Christmas cards with personal messages for each of the girls, as well as some tasty chocolates. Since we were in a rush, I actually just handed them all to Tara and jokingly said they were all for her. The girls laughed.

The Meet and Greet wrapped up about 10 minutes before show time at 7:00 PM. At the Meet and Greet on the Homecoming tour, they didn't even start the M+G until about 10 minutes before the start time of the show.

So in hindsight, I probably could have just told the girls all the things I wanted to say and should have said something more than I did. I did after all spend a significant amount of time and effort on short notice preparing exactly what I wanted to tell them. Sett was just really stressing me out with all the talk of being behind schedule and having to wrap it up and I was honestly a bit flustered at that point over the whole situation.

As I write this, I have 3 Meet and Greets purchased for the Ancient Land tour. Considering how rushed this was, it doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence that I'll be able to tell them anything next year. But at least I have multiple chances to do so and letters, stage-and-greets, and social media as a fallbacks.

Megan told me after the Meet and Greet on social media that it was her very first Meet and Greet with Celtic Woman. So I was at her first two shows with Celtic Woman, her first Meet and Greet, and her second tour show. I'm so glad I was there for her at the start of her journey with this group I love so much.



Dresses

The girls wore a single set of dresses for both acts. I think they were the same dresses as the Home for Christmas tour back in 2016. If they weren't all the same, most were very similar. Two years ago, I missed out on a Meet and Greet with the girls in those dresses. It took two years, but I finally got my M+G and photo. Redemption!



Merch Table

Before the show, I paid a visit to the merch table, which was AMAZING! They had Best of Christmas tour t-shirts, Celtic Woman Christmas sweaters, mugs, shot glasses, Celtic Woman Christmas ornaments, Celtic Woman Christmas stockings, magnets, Best of Christmas CDs, Ancient Land CDs, and programs. Wow!!! Probably more that I can't recall. I ended up getting a stocking, an ornament, a T-shirt, and a program.

While I was still at the merch table, there was someone beside me that was checking out the CDs, including the Ancient Land CD. The person turned it over a few times looking at it. The merch vendor said it was their new CD that they released a few months ago. The person put the CD down. I then said I had all of their CDs (literally) and this was my favourite. That CD then got purchased! You're welcome, Celtic Woman. You're welcome too, stranger: enjoy the best CD ever!

At last, it was show time!



Stage

The stage was on the left side of the stage as seen from the audience. Caitriona and Darragh were to the right side. A full orchestra was behind them. There was some tinsel across the front of the stage, but that was all for Christmas decorations ... well, aside from the snow coming down outside.



The Harmony

The girls didn't waste any time using the harmony and it was probably the best harmony I've heard at any live show. Celtic Woman harmony is always fantastic, but it seemed extra-spectacular during this show. It was crystal clear and incredibly satisfying.



Selected Track Notes

There are certain popular Christmas songs that people want to hear and only so many that Celtic Woman might have the rights to sing. As a result, the number of viable Christmas songs to choose from is limited and there was a fair amount of overlap with the 2016 Home for Christmas tour.

There were varying degrees of differences in a few of the Christmas songs (beyond the fact that Anto wasn't there and Megan is a member of Celtic Woman now).

Some of the arrangements seemed quite similar to 2016, but I didn't mind at all because:
- I haven't heard some of those arrangements in 2 years
- The Home for Christmas tour was one of the best shows I've ever seen!

So glad to hear many of those wonderful songs again.

Murphy's Mistletoe:
- This was a Christmas medley by the orchestra and it was a rousing start to the show

Once In Royal David's City:
- Similar to the Voices of Angels / 2016 Home for Christmas tour arrangement, which is a good thing, because the harmony is soooo good!

Ave Maria:
- Mairead got a pretty strong ovation for this one, probably the biggest reaction of all the solo songs of the night

Across the World:
- This is so much fun to listen to! I have another note on this song in the "Crowd" section.

O Holy Night:
- Another arrangement with exceptional harmony!
- Megan's voice is beautiful and powerful at practically any register and she was really impressive in this song, especially when singing in tandem with Mairead's spectacular high notes.

Amazing Grace:
- Tara played the opening of the song on the violin, probably because Anto is with Sue and their newborn child.
- As I mentioned in the write-up on Ancient Land, this song as come a long way since the arrangement was unveiled on Voies of Angels. It was really well done.

Deck the Halls:
- Tara's intro before this song was hilarious!
- Paraphrasing: "Ok, we'd like you to sing the next one. Now the words to the chorus are a bit tricky, but we'll teach you how to sing it and then will give it a try. It goes: fa la la la la ... la la ... la la."
- She paused dramatically and smiled adorably between some of the words to make it even more funny. She even tilted her head and looked upwards as though she was trying really hard to remember the lyrics. LOL!
- She really got to show her personality on stage in this one. It's one of my all-time favourite Tara moments!
- This had rousing orchestra arrangement and it was really fun to sing along!
- The crowd participation in this one was pretty good.

Wexford Carol:
- The harmony at the end was phenomenal!

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear:
- This was Susan's big solo Christmas song while she was with Celtic Woman.
- Both Megan and Susan did an outstanding job performing this. Her voice, when fully unleashed is awesome!

Greensleeves:
- WOW! Tara played this really beautifully.
- She really poured her heart into it and I could feel that she played.

Over the Rainbow:
- Just like in Ancient Land, this was a really powerful performance by Megan and Mairead
- That ending is incredible!

We Three Kings:
- At the Home for Christmas show in 2016, Anto played the bagpipes with her while she sang this
- This time, Darragh Murphy played the Uillean pipes with her
- Both times, Mairead was spectacular!

Joy to the World:
- I didn't look at the set list at all before the show, so they actually fooled me with this one.
- The ending was so awesome with the orchestra I thought it was the finally and stood up at the end.
- Oops...

We Wish You a Merry Christmas:
- This was REALLY well arranged
- It started with Tara and an engaging drum beat
- The ending was really powerful
- The crowd definitely thought this was the end
- This got a standing ovation and a MASSIVE and sustained applause. I think that was the best applause I've experienced at any Celtic Woman show.
- AWESOME moment!
- It was sustained for a good 30 seconds or so and the girls had to actually start their closing remarks before the finale to get us to calm down

Auld Lang Syne:
- A powerful orchestra backed version with great harmony and strong vocals
- Megan and Mairead were once again really impressive in this one
- I was dry eyed for most of the night (one of those nights I guess were I couldn't properly show the girls what I was feeling inside). But knowing this was the last song (for real, this time), I got a bit emotional.
- The girls got another standing ovation

Then, Mairead thanked us for coming and wished us a safe journey home.




Orchestra

Celtic Woman sounds amazing even with only a band. With a full orchestra behind them, they sounded even more impressive!

I thought the orchestra arrangements were very well done. The sound quality in the venue was excellent too. The orchestra backing for the big numbers was really spectacular. It reminded me a lot of the the thunderous backing in my favourite Christmas DVD: Home for Christmas.

I was actually even more impressed with this orchestra than I was for Chloë's show in March, and that's saying a lot!




Crowd

In spite of the foul weather to the south and the east of Buffalo that evening, the auditorium was almost full. The turnout for both Celtic Woman Christmas shows I've been to was significantly better than for the normal US tour shows I've been to. There are fewer Christmas shows so I suppose they draw people from a wider area and I suppose Christmas shows have even wider appeal than an Irish crossover show.

The crowd was good for the most part. It wasn't nearly as energetic an audience as one would experience at a Nathan Carter show. They gave the girls warm and enthusiastic applause at the end of songs. I appreciated that and I'm sure the girls did too.

The audience was surprisingly un-involved for Across the World though. There were maybe three or four of us clapping in the front row and just a feeble smattering of claps aside from that. Tara kept looking at us and she was clearly appreciative that we didn't give up on encouraging her.

Even for Eabha and Tara's Ard Uí Chuain / Sive, the clapping was mostly confined to a few people in the front row, with a small amount of participation from other pockets in the audience.

But for a few rare instances, I found myself as pretty much the only person in the audience giving standing ovations for pretty impressive performances. I can't remember all the songs I stood for, but some of them were Tara's Tunes, Deck the Halls, Midnight Clear, We Three Kings, Over the Rainbow, and all the songs at the end, starting with Joy to the World.

I suppose I looked stupid at times to other people in the audience and maybe even annoying. I don't care. The girls deserved the standing ovations I gave them. I get that the standard is to reserve standing ovations for only the most spectacular aspects of a performance or the finale. But what can I say? I loved every song and the girls truly impressed me with their heart and their talent.

All the girls appreciated my support, but especially Megan, who looked at me and mouthed "thank you" several times during the show.

It was a decent buzz in the crowed overall, but the crowd really delivered for We Wish You a Merry Christmas. That ovation was super-spectacular!!!




Post-Show:

We hung around for a few minutes after the show and as the stage was being cleaned up, I asked for copies of the set lists. We already had the set lists in our official programs, but we decided to collect the copies that were on stage too.

Before the show, we did spot the tour busses right next to the venue. But given the deteriorating weather conditions outside and the "Long Journey Home" after the show, we opted not to attempt a bus and greet afterwards. Besides, the girls were better off getting out of town as quick as possible before the weather got worse.

I left this show with a LOT more stuff than planned:
- Best of Christmas poster signed by all 4 girls.
- Special Meet and Greet badge with the Best of Christmas promo picture and the girls on it.
- Best of Christmas program
- Regular ticket and Meet and greet ticket
- Celtic Woman Christmas ornament
- Celtic Woman Best of Christmas T-Shirt
- Celtic Woman Christmas stocking
- Set list from the stage
- A little bit of Celtic Woman makeup on my shirt. Lol.
- Hugs from all the girls at the Meet and Greet.

I got a lot of awesome things at this show, but the hugs were definitely the best, aside of course from all the wonderful music.

A few of the girls messaged me the next day to let me know how much they appreciated my cards and tasty chocolates. That was very sweet and thoughtful of them. There's something I had meant to tell Mairead at the Meet and Greet had there been time:

"Sometimes, the littlest things can make the biggest difference in our lives, especially when those little things come from people we admire so much. It's not just the lovely music that makes Celtic Woman so special, it's the wonderful people like you."

Thank you for reading! I wish everyone a happy holiday season and all the best at Christmas.



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--- SIGNIFICANT SPOILERS ABOVE ---

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Set List for the Best of Christmas Tour

Note: This was from the show in Buffalo on November 27th, 2018. It's possible the set list could differ slightly from show to show.


Act 1:

1. Murphy's Mistletoe (Orchestra Only)
2. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (all): short intro / no orchestra
3. Ding Dong Merrily On High (all)

Talk (Mairead and Tara): welcome to the show and intro Royal David's City.

4. Once in Royal David's City (all)

Talk (Eabha): intro's Silent Night

5. Oíche Chiúin (Silent Night) (Eabha)
6. The Christmas Song (Megan, no orchestra)
7. Ave Maria (Mairead Carlin)
8. Across the World (Tara)
9. O Holy Night (all)

Talk (Mairead): introduces Danny Boy

10. Danny Boy (all)
11. Amazing Grace (all)

Talk (Megan and Tara): introduced Deck the Halls.

12. Deck the Halls (all)


Act 2:

1. Carol of the Bells (all)
2. The Wexford Carol (all)

Talk (Eabha): introduces Megan

3. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (Megan)

Talk (Megan): introduces White Christmas

4. White Christmas (Eabha): no orchestra
5. Greensleves (Tara)
6. We Three Kings (Mairead)

Talk (Eabha): talked about growing up speaking in Irish and singing in the traditional Sean-nós

7. Ard Uí Chuain / Sive (Eabha and Tara, with Catriona and guitar. No orchestra)
8. Over the Rainbow: Mairead & Megan

Talk (Mairead): introduces the next song

9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (all)
10. Joy To the World (all)
11. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (all)
12. Auld Lang Syne (all)

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12
Megan Ruby Walsh / Megan's Charity
« on: November 28, 2018, 07:12:07 PM »
Megan let me know that she supports any cancer research charity. That's especially meaningful to her because both her dad and her sister have been affected by cancer in the past.

Even though she's only been in Celtic Woman for a few months now, she's already touched my heart. I hope that others are inspired by her kindness and generosity as I have been.

Every little bit helps.

Do you have any favorite cancer research charities the are important to you?

13
The Best of Christmas tour 2018 / Mairead's Best of Christmas Tour Bunk
« on: November 26, 2018, 07:43:21 PM »
Mairead posted a little video of her Best of Christmas tour bunk in her Instagram story.

It feels really special that she appreciated one of my gifts from the Homecoming tour enough to bring it back on tour with her again.

The littlest things she does make such a world of difference in people's lives. She has made such a huge difference in mine. <3

14
Chloe Photos & Graphics / All You Need
« on: November 26, 2018, 07:37:21 PM »
Chloë posted this in her Instagram story today.

I'd trade two of those things just to hear her sing ... and I'd be feeling the third thing when I do. <3

#TheEssentialChloë #AllYouNeed #Chlovërs


15
Chloe Agnew / Chloë Scare Cam
« on: November 26, 2018, 07:18:53 PM »
A little late for Halloween this year, but this is a short but funny clip...

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