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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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VegasDavid
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2019, 04:56:33 PM »

I saw Celtic Woman perform at Red Rocks on 2019-05-26.  For some reason I never got around to writing a report, but it's time to change that.

Travel

Flying from Las Vegas to Denver is very easy.  I upgraded myself to first class (or whatever United Airlines calls it) and enjoyed constant drinks and snacks for the 80-minute flight.  That was fun!  Then I took a train from the airport to downtown Denver without much trouble.

Fan meeting at Outback Steakhouse

I enjoyed meeting meeting other fans at Outback Steakhouse on the day of the concert and hearing about their experiences.  Many of them were at the filming of the Believe DVD.

Entering Red Rocks and finding the meet and greet

A lot of us were confused about how to get into the Red Rocks venue and where to go for our PBS Meet and Greet, and ended up taking useless (though beautiful) bus rides up and down a mountain.  Here is some stuff I wish I had known, and might need to know next year:

First, get a good map of the park.  It's very strange that redrocksonline.com only has an awful map.  You need to get the good map from denvergov.org instead.  (I'm keeping a copy of it on my computer next to all my Denver pictures in case it gets taken down.)

Next, if you have a Meet and Greet ticket from CPT12 (PBS), you will get a letter from CPT12 telling you to go to the Box Office (marked on the map) on the day of the event in order to pick up your meetup badges (stickers that you attach to yourself).  When you pick up the badges, you will receive a second letter saying where you need to go.  If you get to the Box Office at a reasonable time to pick up your passes, you might find that it is raining, the parking lot is small, there are no bathrooms, and you have to wait for hours before PBS actually shows up with the passes.  Be prepared for all of these headaches, even though this is supposed to be a VIP-type experience that you paid good money for, many months in advance!

Then you have to park.  We found spaces in the Lower South Lot 1, which seems like a fine choice because it's close to where the tour buses were parked.

If you purchased a ticket from Mike Brown, you need to enter the venue with him.  (He can't send you your own ticket, due to how the ticket app works.)  The place where he wanted to meet this year was the northeast corner of the Upper South Lot, marked on your map (39.663500, -105.205083).  Once the group is together, you'll walk up the ramp (the dotted red line) and stand in line in order to get into the venue.  The security and ticketing checkpoint is at the top of that ramp.

The letter you pick up at the box office is supposed to tell you where to go for the meet and greet, but it was confusing.  It said "Please assemble @ or near the merchandise table in the foyer @ 6:50pm", but there is no location in Red Rocks called the foyer.  There is only one merchandise table, and it was located at 39.664667, -105.205056.  You can't miss it if you enter the venue from the Upper South Lot.  Once you get there, you can take a sigh of relief because you made it!

My first meet and greet

All my worries melted away when I got to meet the fabulous, incredibly nice members of Celtic Woman.  This was my first official Celtic Woman meet and greet and it was my first time meeting Éabha!  Éabha complimented my hair and Mairead agreed with her!  It was the last show of their tour so I wished them all a happy time back in Ireland with their families, and I gave them a box of blueberry muffin Larabars (one of my favorite flavors).

Then we took a photo!  There was not enough lighting from the front so everyone has giant shadows under their eyes, but I posted it on Instragram anyway:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx9AE94Hu5c/

The concert

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx9Ci3xHPHI/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx9DkTMHlHl/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx9EkExHaYS/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx9E0fPnReM/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx9FS8PH5uc/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx9Fp9nnH8b/

Stage door experience

We waited around with a bunch of fans near the trading post (39.664335, -105.202844), hoping to say hi to the ladies or band members.

A security guard came and asked us to leave, but Tommy Buckley showed up just in time got him to chill for a little bit, so that Tommy could take this picture of us in formation with our signs saying "CELTIC WOMAN THANK YOU ❤":

https://www.davidegrayson.com/keep/20190526_200000_group_fixed.jpg

Also, I gave Tommy my green cup with a tea candle in it (which we used during The Parting Glass) as a souvenir.  Hopefully he threw that away!

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VegasDavid
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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2019, 10:17:12 AM »

After Red Rocks, I felt like I wasn't done seeing Ancient Land.  So I went to Germany in October and saw it two more times!  The first show was in Essen on 2019-10-21.

Travel

Las Vegas has an awesome airport!  I got a direct flight from Las Vegas to Düsseldorf on Eurowings (EW 1173, departing LAS at 18:35 on 2019-10-18, arriving DUS at 14:45 on 2019-10-19, 9-hour time difference).

Before I even got on the airplane, I felt like my trip had begun because all the conversations I overheard at the gate were in German.  I chatted with two German girls who were going home from a Vegas vacation.  I know some German, and talking to them was the first time I had actually tested my conversational skills in it in a very long time, so that was special for me.  It went pretty well!

Eurowings is an airline where the flight crew wears these really cool blue and pink retro outfits, including a hat.  Before we took off, they asked all of us to sit down so that they could count the number of empty seats in the plane... which didn't inspire a lot of confidence!  All the announcements were done in German and then English, but it was pretty hard to hear them over the roaring engines of the plane.

The flight was 11 hours and went a quarter of the way around the world.  What a miracle!  It was dark when we flew over Greenland, but I got to see a bit of Scotland in the morning.

I used bahn.de and the DB Navigator app to purchase a train ticket from Düsseldorf airport to the Essen main train station.  My hotel was just north of the station, and the concert venue (Lichtburg Essen) was just a two blocks north of that.

Before the concert

I was eating lunch outside a restaurant called Frittenwerk on the main street of Essen around 2:40pm, when I saw Tommy, Darragh, and Kieran walk by!  I greeted them by name and said I was looking forward to the show.  They did stop to talk to me instead of just walking on so that was nice.  I wish I had something more interesting to say or ask.  I didn't have much to say and I didn't want to delay them too much during their brief chance to explore Essen so I basically ended the conversation after a matter of seconds.

I chose that time and place to eat because I figured that Celtic Woman members would be done with their sound check around 2pm and then explore the city.  I figured that when they left the venue and got onto Kettwiger Str., it would be immediately obvious to them that they should walk north.  Also, Essen seems to have a lot of fry-based restaurants and I wanted to try the nicest one!

The main street of Essen (Kettwiger Str.) is actually a pedestrian-only zone, which makes it a charming and friendly place to hang out.  And one of the main cross-streets (Limbecker Str.) was pedestrian-only as well.

Tara and I both took pictures of the same violin/cello duo that was performing outside of the Essener Dom on that Monday afternoon.

I met Carl in the lobby of the Lichtburg while he was selling souvenir programs and had a great conversation!  I said I have been excited for this for a long time and bought the tickets 4 days after meeting him in Long Beach.  He said he was liking Europe, and I asked him about Paris and he said it was great and he can't wait to go back.  He asked how long I would be here, so I said I was going to Mannheim to see them again tomorrow.  I said I got a direct flight here from Las Vegas and he seemed enthusiastic to learn I lived there, and remembered being there 2 years ago.

The European Ancient Land Souvenir Program

The program that I bought from Carl in Essen is pretty similar to the one I got during the U.S. Ancient Land tour, but I'll point out the differences.

The colors throughout the U.S. one have a red twinge to them, which they fixed for the European program.

The credits page changed, of course.  They removed James Greenan.  A lot of the credits for things like audio, lighting, bussing, and tour promotion changed.  Next to the McCallum Bagpipes logo, they added the Sky Arts logo.

The concert

I had a second-row seat on the left side for this show.  The Lichtburg Essen is a movie theater, so the first few rows are actually further from the stage than you might think; they had room to add about two more rows in front of us if they had wanted.  Also, the seats in our row were designed for sitting back, so if you rested your head on the seat back, you'd be looking up into the void about 10 feet above the Celtic Woman performers.  I sat up most of the time.

Here is the set list as I heard it:

Ancient Land
Homeland
Moorlough Shore
Follow Me
Newgrange
Sive
Fields of Gold
Amazing Grace
Enchanted Way
Ballroom of Romance

Long Journey Home
Orinoco Flow
Faith's Song
Siúil A Rúin
Ae Fond Kiss
Garden of Eden
Over the Rainbow
Enchanted Way
Tara's Tunes
Bean Phadin
Love and Honor
Kesh Inn
Parting Glass

So, compared to Minneapolis, they moved Love and Honor from the first act to the second.  Mairéad sang Ae Fond Kiss instead of County Down.  They definitely removed Mná na hÉireann, but they played it on the sound system right after the concert.  It seems like they removed Going Home too, but I'm less confident in that.  Maybe Europe likes shorter shows, or people seeing shows at 8pm like them to be a bit shorter.

The lighting in the Lightburg Essen was interesting, but perhaps distracting.  They had several spotlights stationed on the floor, and those tended to turn on at the very end of a song and shine up towards the wall of the balcony.  During Fields of Gold, 8 gold lights from the ceiling slowly converged on Megan over a few seconds, which was a cool effect. 

For Newgrange, they played that buzzing sound that you guys don't like, but Mairéad's voice was as powerful as ever!  I noticed that Mairéad stretched out the first syllables of "Ancient" and "no one" in that song, which I really liked!  They used one of the floor spotlights, aimed downwards, to illustrate Mairéad's point when she talked about the beam of light shining across the floor.

(These floor spotlights were probably unique to the Lichtburg Essen because they did not have them the next day in Mannheim.)

Mairéad introduced "Ae Fond Kiss" by saying it was the most romantic song she knew of.  The next day in Mannehim, Germany she added another adjective, and said it was the most romantic yet tragic song or something like that.

In Faith's Song, Megan said "you cut AND I'm bleeding", and that's how she said it in Mannheim too.  It's supposed to be "you cut BUT I'm bleeding".  These little things make me think they aren't lip-syncing, but it's hard to be confident because they could be lip-syncing to a one-take recording with some mistakes in it.

Stage door

This was my best stage door experience yet!

The Celtic Woman tour buses and equipment truck were parked on the street to the south of the venue.  The weather was great and we were standing under a nice streetlight that gave diffuse, white light.

Besides me, there were only four other fans there:

  • Stefan Claus (http://konzert-und-festival-nerd.de/ , https://www.instagram.com/konzertundfestivalnerd/) was standing around with a suitcase of camera equipment and an official Celtic Woman photo pass which gave him some kind of privilege for taking photos.  You've probably seen a bunch of his photos from Essen on Instragram, because the ladies reposted several of them.
  • Alf.  I'm not sure if he is also a professional photographer, but he was at Johnstown Castle and took lots of great pictures.  He later shared some with me via email.
  • A friendly couple from Cologne: maria.hu2019 and jockel.v.
I enjoyed meeting these folks and talking to them as we waited, mostly in German.  They were all from Germany.  One of the guys has black Celtic Woman tattoos all over his lower leg but I forget which!

The band members and dancers came out relatively quickly and I exchanged a few words with them as they passed.  It took the ladies longer than usual to emerge, maybe 30 or 40 minutes.  During that time, we saw one of the tour buses and the equipment truck move.

Eventually, Éabha, Tara, Mairéad, and Megan came out all at once in warm-looking bathrobes!  They hung out with us for at least 5 minutes, and since there were only 5 of us fans there, there was lots of time for chatting.

Megan initiated a conversation with me by asking how I was, and I also asked her how she likes Paris.  She's pretty friendly!

Mairéad remembered my name is David and I got to tell her how I loved her slowing down  those syllables in Newgrange.  Mairéad asked if Johnstown castle was the last time I saw them, so I told her that actually the last time was Red Rocks and I also mentioned Long Beach and Minneapolis.  Even if she does not recall every time we met, I am still very flattered that she remembers my name and remembered something about me, and that she was willing to take a little risk by saying those things even when they might be wrong.

I asked Mairéad if she went shopping in Essen because there are lots of malls, and she said yes but didn't say anything more specific.  At that moment I thought I sensed some kind of glow in her eyes, like she was overflowing with happy emotions, and was very grateful to be in that place at that moment.

At some point, I helped take a picture of the couple from Cologne with all four ladies, but I didn't get any pictures for myself.

There was a moment when Éabha and Tara were free and Tara smiled at me, so I took a few steps over to where they were.  They knew I flew a long way to get there, and Tara made it very clear that she appreciated that.  I told them I got a direct flight so it wasn't so bad.  Tara asked if I would be at more shows and I told her I would!
« Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 10:19:37 AM by VegasDavid » Logged
Maloney
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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2019, 12:42:29 PM »

enjoyed reading your reviews    such a great time !
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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2019, 08:09:31 PM »

Great new write-ups David! Glad you had such a amazing time in Germany and got such great stage door meetings!

If they did remove Going Home, that happened after Gregg and I saw the shows in Amsterdam and Antwerp, because it was in both of those. Love and Honour remained in the first act for both. We saw Faith's Song and Ae Fond Kiss, and Mna Na hEireann had unfortunately been removed from the setlist.

You mention that you're not sure if they're lip-syncing - they're not! They're singing completely live!  During Faith's Song in Antwerp, Megan stopped singing to cough and then resumed. There was nothing playing behind her but the band, and during a point in the song where she would have been singing. And during our Christmas show last year, Mairead started singing Ave Maria but then stopped because she had the wrong mic, causing her to hear what was happening backstage rather than the music. Again, when she stopped singing, nothing was playing behind her but the orchestra. Those are the biggest things in shows I've been to. Some less noticeable things are how they'll sometimes change a word during the song from one night to the next and how Mairead used to change the style in which she would sing Ave Maria from one night to the next. Noticeable to me when I'm seeing multiple shows on a tour! These things give me stories to share when people say they aren't sure if it's live or not.
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2019, 09:02:41 AM »

Great new write-ups David! Glad you had such a amazing time in Germany and got such great stage door meetings!

If they did remove Going Home, that happened after Gregg and I saw the shows in Amsterdam and Antwerp, because it was in both of those. Love and Honour remained in the first act for both. We saw Faith's Song and Ae Fond Kiss, and Mna Na hEireann had unfortunately been removed from the setlist.

You mention that you're not sure if they're lip-syncing - they're not! They're singing completely live!  During Faith's Song in Antwerp, Megan stopped singing to cough and then resumed. There was nothing playing behind her but the band, and during a point in the song where she would have been singing. And during our Christmas show last year, Mairead started singing Ave Maria but then stopped because she had the wrong mic, causing her to hear what was happening backstage rather than the music. Again, when she stopped singing, nothing was playing behind her but the orchestra. Those are the biggest things in shows I've been to. Some less noticeable things are how they'll sometimes change a word during the song from one night to the next and how Mairead used to change the style in which she would sing Ave Maria from one night to the next. Noticeable to me when I'm seeing multiple shows on a tour! These things give me stories to share when people say they aren't sure if it's live or not.
I think the only song in which they MIGHT lip sync would be Ballroom Of Romance. During that video of Megan, Eabha, and Tara performing it without Mairead, Megan's voice sounds a bit out-of-breath (most likely due to the dancing) when she sings Mairead's parts but fine on her own parts. Of course, it could also have been because she was singing her own parts and Mairead's and dancing and so it might have simply been a bit overwhelming for her. Either way, I don't care cuz it's a great song!
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2019, 02:24:51 PM »

My second Ancient Land show in Germany was in Mannheim on 2019-10-22.

Before the concert

After checking into my hotel in Essen, I arrived in Mannheim around 2pm and spent the  afternoon walking around it.  I checked out the Celtic Woman venue, which was the Rosengarten Mozaartzaal (i.e. the Mozaartzaal concert hall inside the Mannheimer Rosengarten complex).

Right across the street from the venue is an old tower called the Mannheim Wasserturm, which was built in the 1800s.  This tower kind of reminded me of Johnstown Castle, the location of my first Ancient Land show, so it was pretty meaningful to me that it would be the location of my last Ancient Land show.  I walked up onto a platform that surrounds the tower and got some nice views.  There were some young guys up there smooking hookah, and some young girls taking portrait photos.

Did you know: The inner city of Mannheim uses a really weird, antiquated addressing system where they do not name the streets, but they name blocks instead.  The block names are things like E5 and F1.

The concert and stage door

The concert itself was pretty much the same as what I saw in Essen the previous night.  (It was the last concert before Mairéad got sick.)

There was a special-needs kid in a wheelchair at the end of the row.  He seemed to really enjoy the show and liked waving to the ladies on the stage.  I bet he would have done some standing ovations with me if he were physically capable of it!

I had a fourth-row seat on the right side for this show.  That section was flat and had removable chairs, so the people in front of me were at the same level as me.  Despite that, I actually had a really good view because the person in front of me was a tiny girl.  She was there with both parents.  She was six years old, had blonde hair, and would sometimes stare back at me during the applause.

During a long standing ovation, I noticed some of the ladies waving at the little girl as she sat on her dad's shoulders.  I decided it would be really fun if the ladies could meet her at the stage door.  Therefore, after the show, using my sluggish German, I managed to ask the father if she enjoyed the concert, and he said yes, so I told him all about the tour buses and stage door, and suggested that I bring them there.  After some hesitation because of the late hour, the family agreed because the girl wanted to try it!

While we were waiting, I made trouble by showing the little girl my ticket with the images of the ladies, and asking which one is her Lieblingsdame (favorite lady). She pointed to one eventually after her mother helped explain it to her!

After a pretty short time, the ladies came out and spent time with the fans, meeting people and signing things.  I was distracted so I did not really see how this went for the little girl, but I did see her pose for a picture with Mairéad, Megan, Tara, and Éabha:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B38IQzjH2eu/

I'm glad I helped make some magic happen for this little girl and her family by just passing on a little bit of info, and I think the Celtic Woman members enjoyed meeting such a cute little fan.

There were maybe 10 or 12 fans there and I had just talked to all of the ladies the previous night so I did not talk to them much in Mannheim.  However, I did get a picture with Tara.  (The dad of the little girl was asking how he could thank me, so I enlisted his help for a moment to take the picture.)

Tara made it very clear, for the second night in a row, that she appreciated how far I had flown to see them.  She is so nice!

Megan once again asked me how I was doing.  I said I was doing great and enjoyed the show, and had a good view.  I told Megan I liked her YouTube videos and confirmed she was Mary in Jesus Christ Superstar (when she was 16, she said).  I told her about how meaningful it was to see this Ancient Land show across the street from the old Wasserturm tower.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 02:30:45 PM by VegasDavid » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2019, 03:51:37 PM »

I love your story about helping the little girl to meet them! That is so sweet and I'm sure you made her night even more amazing than it already was! 😀
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