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VegasDavid
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« on: May 06, 2019, 11:55:33 PM »

I saw my first Ancient Land tour show on Saturday, May 4th at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, California.  It is part of the Long Beach Convention Center, a complex of large buildings that were hosting many other events that weekend (like a SCUBA conference, basketball game, and women's health expo).

Almost everything about this two-night vacation was better than I expected!  On Friday night, I found out that the neighborhood across the street from the theater is a trendy, walkable area called the "Promenade" with live music venues and great restaurants.  The sunny, breezy, 68°F weather was perfect for the 6-mile walk I took on the beach on Saturday.  The Queen Mary is a pretty impressive ship from the 1930s that I got to see on Sunday.  Flying to Long Beach from Las Vegas (via LAX) was cheap and simple thanks to Alaska Airlines.  The Ancient Land show itself also exceeded my expectations...

A surprise in the set list

Early in the second act, Megan sang Faith's Song!  She introduced it by saying something like "This song is from our latest album, and it is the first time I have sung it on this tour".  From everyone else's reports, I was expecting her solo in the second act to instead be Shenandoah.  This was great news for me because Faith's Song is my favorite song on this tour, and I was also favor Fields of Gold over Shenandoah.  (From the commemorative Ancient Land program, it seems like Megan likes Shenandoah a lot though, because that is the only Celtic Woman song she mentions on her page.)

Other than Megan's surprise solo change, I think they did all the same songs that Tom reported in his set list.  I did not keep careful track of the order of the songs until after I heard Faith's Song.  It seems like they reordered many of the songs in the second act but the first act was probably the same as before.  Here is what I heard:

Act 1:
Ancient Land
Homeland
Moorlough Shore
Newgrange
Follow Me
(more songs, including Fields of Gold...)

Act 2:
(more songs...)
Faith's song
Siul a ruin
Ae fond kiss
Garden of Eden
Over the rainbow
Tip tap toe
Tara's tunes
Bean Phadin
Going Home
Kesh Inn
The Parting Glass

Meeting the dancers/singers:

Before the show, I met all of the dancers as they were handing out Ancient Land souvenir programs.  It was my first time meeting each of them.

First, I met Colm Farrell and bought a program from him.  He asked if we had met and I said no but I was in Wexford and saw him perform there.  He asked if this was my first show in the tour.  We got a picture together.

I met Carl Maguire, and complimented him on dancing with Susan in Homecoming, and made some small talk.  We got a picture together and he specifically asked me to tag him on Instagram so I did.

I also met James Greenan for the first time.  I asked how he is enjoying Long Beach.  He was a very friendly guy who asked me a lot of stuff: where I was from, how long I am staying in Long Beach, what I do, and if I have seen the show a bunch of times.

Meeting other fans

I got to meet Rachel, a super fan in California who has been following the group much longer than I.  We were both sitting in the second row and she overheard that I was at Wexford, mentioned Tom's name, and then I realized I had heard of her a few minutes earlier.

Between Rachel and me were two elderly ladies who had an interesting story.  It turns out they inherited the tickets from one of their friends who had an unfortunate, untimely death.  They found the tickets on the keyboard of his computer.  I only place something on a computer keyboard when I want to guarantee that someone else will see it.  I wonder if this man's dying wish was for his friends to find his Ancient Land tickets.  He used to take one of the ladies to Celtic Woman shows in the past, so he probably would have wanted her to find them.

After the show, Rachel invited me to join her at the stage door, where I also met Kenny and Craig.

Stage door

We were basically standing on the balcony to the west of the theater lobby.  The stage door was below us to the south, connected to a curved, raised, sloping driveway.  The balcony and the raised driveway each had walls to prevent people from falling to the ground that was maybe 15 feet below, so it was a pretty formidable barrier.  However, we could still see everyone departing from the door very clearly and exchange brief words with them as they walked down the curved, sloping driveway around us to reach the three buses.

When we saw Megan, I said "We are so happy you sang Faith's song, it's the best!".  She looked at me with recognition and said "I knew you would like Faith's Song because I saw your tweets."  So I joked, "Oh, thanks for changing it up for me!"

Máiréad was right in front of Megan and she didn't stop, so there was no time to say anything to her.

I didn't say anything to Éabha; I think I just let the other fans compliment her instead.

I said generic nice things to a few other performers, like Kieran Leonard, John Hunt, and Tommy Buckley.  I always made sure to say their names.

The last people we saw were Tara and Louisa Parsons.  Tara was so sweet; she asked if there was a way to get to our balcony, and then walked back through the stage door, through the door to the lobby, and through the balcony door to join us.  Louisa and I chatted briefly while Tara was talking to the other fans.  Then Tara turned to me and said "Hi, David".  I shook her hand and expressed surprise that she knew who I was already, because we had never met before.  She said something like "We remember you from Wexford and social media." but with a few more words.   I complimented her performance of Tara's Tunes.  She asked about my next Ancient Land show.  I should have gotten a picture with her, but didn't because I'm awkward like that.

This experience sends a signal to me that Tara genuinely likes talking to fans, while maybe the others just do it to be polite.  Everyone but Tara just kept walking when they saw us.  This was my first stage door and I'll be refining my impressions of them over time.


Other special moments

Éabha, gave a special introduction for Garden of Eden: she said she went to Long Beach the summer after college to do writing work.

After The Kesh Inn, the whole theater gave a standing ovation so long and so loud that Mairéad had to wipe away a tear.

I took a picture of the venue before the concert at sunset.  I also took a picture of the stage.  These pictures weren't that interesting by themselves, but I'm glad I took them so I could post each of them to Instagram and tell a special story alongside them.
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Tracie
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2019, 08:04:02 AM »

Great write-up David! I'm intrigued to find out if Megan continues to perform Faith's Song on the remainder of the tour. Not too long until you, me and Gregg find out at the Minneapolis show! That's such a neat story of the people sitting next to you who found the tickets in their friend's house after he passed. I'm glad you did get to go out to the stage door after the show. It's so cool that Tara and Megan both knew who you were, having never met you. These ladies blow me away like that, I absolutely love the way they connect to their fans. And Tara back-tracking to find a way to your balcony is so sweet. Gregg and I have had great experiences with each of the ladies at various stage doors, but of the five ladies we have met (the current four plus Susan) we have definitely spent  the most time talking with Tara. She's such a sweetheart and will just hang around and shoot the breeze with people. Love her!

Can't wait to see you in a week and a half for Minneapolis!
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chandlermattson
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2019, 07:21:00 PM »

Ooo, Faith's Song is my favorite Megan solo, so I'm glad they decided to include it in the show. ;D
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Kevin R.I.
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2019, 03:30:23 PM »

The one thing that AMAZES me about these reviews is how you guys can remember so many details.......I can`t remember what I did 5 minutes ago.  :D
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chandlermattson
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2019, 05:25:03 PM »

The one thing that AMAZES me about these reviews is how you guys can remember so many details.......I can`t remember what I did 5 minutes ago.  :D
:D :D :D
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 05:43:10 AM »

The one thing that AMAZES me about these reviews is how you guys can remember so many details.......I can`t remember what I did 5 minutes ago.  :D

Nor can I. But Celtic Woman has my full attention and everything they do is memorable.
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VegasDavid
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2019, 01:44:21 AM »

I saw my second Ancient Land tour show on Saturday, May 18th at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Yes, this report is about a month late!)

Travel

This trip had the same basic shape as my Long Beach trip: fly out after work on Friday, see the show Saturday night, fly back on Sunday, and spend every other moment exploring the city.

Thanks to Las Vegas's awesome airport, I was able to take a non-stop flight and arrive at Minneapolis around 11pm.  From there, there is a train system that cost be a mere $2 and took my almost straight to my hotel (Radisson Blu) in downtown Minneapolis.

Before the show

Minneapolis actually has three pretty nice Irish Pubs.  On Friday night around midnight, I went to O'Donovans and had their excellent corned beef sandwich with fries.  I'd like to go back there and try some other food next time.

I also wandered around that night and realized that downtown Minneapolis is a total party.  Lots of people were standing in long lines to get into bars and clubs.  There were a lot of people leaving First Avenue after a live music show there.  (Personally, don't understand why O'Donovans wasn't a little more crowded that night; they had tons of free tables and good food.)

The next morning, as I was leaving my hotel, I decided to go back up to my room for some reason, and I ran into none other than Celtic Woman drummer Kieran Leonard at the elevator!  I said something like "Hi!  You must be Kieran Leonard!" as we were waiting for the elevator, and I shook his hand and introduced myself.  We rode the elevator up together, and I helped him out by using my room key to unlock the key pad.  He kind of recognized me because we had some small interactions via Instagram stories, but it was great to meet him in person.  I think he asked if I was looking forward to the show and I said yes.  His floor came before mine and I let him get off without attempting to follow him and get a picture or anything.  He had a suitcase with him and was probably heading to his room to take a quick nap before sound check.

That morning, I checked out the Minneapolis farmer's market, which is big and impressive, and also walked to the Mississippi River, which is relatively small at that point.

I met Tracie and Gregg for an awesome lunch at Red Rabbit and we explored the city a little bit before the show.

Right before the show

The highlight of my immediately-pre-show experience was talking to James Greenan a little more and getting a nice-looking picture with him in front of the stage.

I also got meet fellow Celtic Woman fan Sarah for the first time.

The show

Tracie, Gregg, and I all had seats together on the left side of the front row!  Also, the stage was very small, so we were sitting just a matter of feet away from the performers.  To give you an idea of how small the stage was and how close we were to them, the outer white circle of the Ancient Land stage design coincided exactly with the front edge of the stage.

The amazingly close seat allowed me to get some very nice photos of all four ladies with my Google Pixel 2 phone.  I posted those three photos on Instagram on Saturday night, and they were shared by @celticwomanofficial on their Instagram story on Sunday morning, which made me very happy!  I also posted those pictures as storied, and Tara reshared the one with her on her own story!

During Enchanted Way, I made a note that Colm did some kind of amusing flexing with his arms, directed at Tara.

During Ballroom of Romance, Mairéad took Colm's hat and then threw it back at him.  This was the first time I had noticed them doing that, but they did it again at Red Rocks the next weekend.

Before Siúil A Rún, Éabha said something personal about how she remembered in grade school the teacher told everyone they had to pick a friend and perform this song, and here she was all grown up and she still gets to perform it with one of her best friends (Tara).

Before County Down, Mairéad mentioned how Tommy Sands had written it during the troubles in Ireland, and it was about a mother urging her son to come back to Ireland.  This was the first time I had heard her sing this song on tour, because she sang Ae Fond Kiss in Long Beach.  I agree with Tracie: hearing that little bit about where the song came from made me appreciate it a lot more!

I wasn't feeling excited enough to give standing ovations for every song, but I did stand for the songs that moved me, like Megan's Faith's Song.  Tracie and Gregg, who had seats next to me, stood for almost every song, and it was awesome to see them get a high five from James Greenan at the end of Tip Tap Toe.

I can confirm what Tracie said: following the Kesh Inn there was thunderous, enduring applause from the audience, and Mairéad told us we were the best audience of the tour so far! 

Set list

Ancient Land
Homeland
Moorlough Shore
Follow Me
Newgrange
Sive
Fields of Gold
Love and Honor
Amazing grace
Enchanted Way
Danny Boy
Ballroom of Romance

Long Journey Home
Mná na hÉireann
Orinoco Flow
Faith's Song
Siúil A Rún
County Down
Garden of Eden
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Tip Tap Toe
Tara's Tunes
Bean Pháidín
Going Home
Kesh Inn
Parting Glass

Stage door

The first stage door was on the north side of the theater and was kind of crowded: the street was under construction and there were about 10 of us fans hanging out in a small space.

We did meet Kieran when he came out of that door, and he seemed to recognize me from earlier.

I also got to meet Megan for the first time, and got a photo with her!  Thanks to Gregg for helping set that up and taking the photo!  (Although I exchanged words with Megan across a large barrier in Long Beach, I consider Minneapolis to be the first time I actually met her.)  I probably shook her hand.  I do remember that I asked her if we could get a photo together and she said something like "of course!".

A few minutes later we walked around the corner to the east side of the theater where the Celtic Woman tour busses actually were.  That area was a much nicer place to wait: there was lots of room for us there, and decent lighting.

I didn't even see Tara, but apparently she was there.

I said "Hi Éabha" as she walked past, but she was just going back into the building trying to find her friend.  Éabha talked to a young man in the lobby of the building for a long time and didn't really have time for us.  (My time to meet Éabha for the first time would just have to wait until next weekend at the official meet and greet.)

Like Tracie said, Mairéad did spend time hanging out with us at the busses.  I took pictures of Sarah with Mairéad and then I took some pictures of the Tracie and Gregg with Mairéad, and one of those became Tracie's profile picture on Facebook!  I should have asked to get a picture of myself with her, but I was just too shy this time.

After taking those pictures, I got to actually meet Mairéad for the first time.  I'm forgetting how my conversation with her went exactly, but it was similar to meeting Tara for the first time at Long Beach.  I think I said Newgrange was awesome and said we haven't met. Then she basically said she remembered me from Ireland and Instagram.  Then I said she has an amazing voice so I travel far to hear her.  (I don't think either of us said my name.)

I was too star-struck at the time to notice it, but Gregg pointed out to me later that there was this cool moment where we were just all standing around in a circle chatting with Mairéad.  I do remember being surprised when Sarah randomly put her arm on my shoulder for a moment; but she probably just wanted to be part of that circle.

Kieran's Irish Pub

After the stage door, seven of us fans dined at the nearby Kieran's Irish Pub.  An all-male Irish band called the The Sweet Colleens were playing there, which is why we wanted to go there and had reserved a table.  I had never heard of this band before, but I really enjoyed their music that night and it was lucky for me that they happened to be playing when I was in town.

I was the only one in our group who was from out of town; everyone else was a nearby Minnesota resident.  They all went home at reasonable hours, while I stayed late to listen to all three sets by the band.


Conclusion

This was a great little trip.  It far exceeded my expectations, and I didn't have to miss any days of work for it!
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Tracie
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2019, 09:54:18 PM »

Those funny little moments during The Enchanted Way and Ballroom of Romance were great! We had such a fun time hanging out with you!
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