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2004-01-13 Celtic Tenors turn on the style in Sligo Park

from the SligoWeekender

 

Complacency is not a word you will find in the Celtic Tenor's dictionary.

 

As is human nature, you categorise. You place them into a box and no sooner is your back turned than they've shredded the box and disappeared.

I have been in the unique position of watching the Celtic Tenors perform on many occasions over the last three years, so you think I'd have learned my lesson.

In some ways I did. When they returned to Sligo on January 3 to play the Sligo Park Hotel it had an air of familiarity. After all, this was the same venue where they and special guest Deirdre Gilsenan had played seven months previously.

A week is a long time in showbiz and seven months is an age, so what I thought I was going to see, I didn't. What I thought I was going to hear, I didn't. I was never as glad to be wrong.

 

From the opening classical numbers it became very clear that the raised hairs on my arms were never going to settle until James, Matthew, Niall and Deirdre had stopped singing.

 

There really is something special about hearing a properly trained voice in all its glory. James had told us before the concert that his own voice was suffering the effects of a cold, but even under the scrutiny of my trained ear I could not detect a note out of place.

 

The concert started in full-on classical style with a version of Nessun Dorma, before being broken up by a small foray into traditional Irish songs.

 

Their transitions from classical to Irish to pop to musicals meant the concert never settled back on its laurels, there was always another song to sing or another genre to cross.

 

And it was not just the musical styles which entertained. The Celtic Tenors are a genuinely funny trio when they want to be and their humour came to the fore in numbers like Phil The Fluter's Ball and Fionnghuala.

 

The finest funniest moment however, was preceded by James' introduction, describing the meaning of O Sole Mio as Oh, My Solo.

 

And so he proceeded with his solo, much to the chagrin of Niall and Matthew. It is in these moments of mirth that perhaps the true genius of the Celtic Tenors is captured.

 

They are superb professional singers, that is without doubt, but they are as far removed from the stuffy and staid image of most tenors as it is possible to get.

 

Of course, their welcoming nature both during and after the concert helps matters too.

 

No sooner had the trio finished their second encore (we were not going to let them away with just one) than they were sitting at a table at the back of the ballroom, signing autographs and shaking hands.

 

For the Tenors this has always been a crucial part of their performance.

They have earned honest admiration from their fans by making themselves as accessible as possible.... other bands take note.

 

Nobody knows, including the group themselves, when the Celtic Tenors will return to Sligo, but in my opinion they can't come back quick enough.