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2007-02-11 Spindale

reviewed by Ennica

 

I saw the Celtic Tenors and Deirdre on Sunday afternoon in Spindale, NC. My day started at 9:30 a.m. when I picked up my friend Dale in Maryville, TN. The house where he was staying was on a rural highway almost to the North Carolina state line. After consulting a map, we made a joint decision to just stay on that road instead of going back to the Interstate. We thought we had plenty of time since the show didn't start until 3:00 p.m. You can already see where this is going, can't you?

We stayed on the back roads of Tennessee and North Carolina. These back roads were two-lane mountain roads that twisted and curved and forced drivers to stay between 20 and 30 miles per hour. You can't get very far going just 20 miles per hour. On the bright side, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. We passed a natural waterfall by the roadside that was partially frozen due to the extreme cold and snow that East TN and NC have had recently. When we got to the top of the mountain, the lake up there still had ice on the surface. Then we had to get down the other side of the mountain going just 20 miles per hour.

I watched the clock anxiously as minutes ticked away with every steep curve and sheer drop-off. At 1:00 p.m., my friend Laura Jane, who had driven in from Greenville, NC, called my cell phone. Unfortunately, we lost cell phone coverage as I was talking to her. We were still on the back roads on the side of a mountain, trying frantically to get to an Interstate. The minutes ticked away relentlessly. At 2:30 p.m., we could see the signs for Interstate 26, but the clock continued to mock us. We finally had cell phone service again, and I called Laura Jane to tell her we were running late. She was at the theater.

I was so happy to be on the Interstate, and I drove as fast as I could to the exit. Unfortunately, this was merely another state highway, and I realized it would be another 21 miles before we got to Spindale. It was 3:00 p.m. at this point. I'm not proud of it, but I started swearing profusely. (James told me later that I shouldn't swear.) Poor Dale didn't talk much. He just made sure I knew which exit to take. (He had the map.) I was so mad at myself for having a dumb blond moment when we decided to take the back roads instead of the Interstate. (I'm a natural blond, so it's a valid observation. I'm just being honest.)

It was 3:20 p.m. when we arrived at the theater. When I picked up our tickets, the lady told us that she let Laura Jane go in already. I was so glad to hear that she wasn't missing the show because of me. We walked into the auditorium while the boys were singing "Caledonia." Laura Jane was waiting for us, and we sat at the rear of the theater until Intermission. During the first half, we heard them sing "Remember Me" and "You Raise Me Up." Deirdre sang with them on "Nella Fantasia" and an operatic number that I'd not heard before. Of course, she and Matthew sang "The Prayer." She wore a white dress that I'd not seen before. It was nice and flowy. That's the best I can do with a description, as I wasn't close enough to see it in detail. I don't remember much of the first half of the show, but the boys finished it with "Danny Boy," and they got a standing ovation.

During Intermission, we moved down to our front row seats. Yes, we had front row seats, and I was late, so we missed seeing half the show from the front row. After a few minutes of hearing them sing, I started to relax and release some of the anger, but I was still tense. The tension was gone by the end of the second half. We heard "Paddy McGinty's Goat," of course. Laura Jane and Dale thoroughly enjoyed that one. Who doesn't? The entire audience was laughing themselves silly over the "leading lady" debate. During "Whiskey in the Jar," Matthew made eye contact with me and smiled to let me know he recognized me. James and Daryl hadn't seen me, yet. We heard "Star of the County Down" and "Shenandoah."

When they sang "Nessun Dorma," they wanted some audience participation, as they so often do. They wanted the audience to vocalize the "aaah aaah aaah's." Of course, we had to practice. The lady behind me didn't end her vocalization at the same time the rest of the audience did. James looked in my direction and made eye contact with me. I saw him tell Matthew and Daryl that it was me who kept singing. It wasn't me that time, James! Matthew just nodded, as he had seen me earlier, and Daryl looked at me and smiled. That was a great moment for me, I must say. Well, we did it again, and I was watching James when Matthew gave the signal to stop, so I did keep vocalizing. It was me the second time. James smiled at me and gave me a thumbs-up, and I got a bad case of the giggles. My tension was officially gone.

Deirdre came out and sang with them on "Still By Your Side." She also sang a new song I'd not heard called "Song of Ireland." It was beautiful, and she sang it like she was genuinely pining for home. Her dress even matched the song. It was a gorgeous turquoise dress with a string of beads at her waist.

The boys sang "All Out of Love," which is one of my favorite songs on their newest album. They got a standing ovation as they left the stage. They came back and Daryl was asking, "One more?" The audience settled down. James introduced "Time to Say Goodbye" by saying it was time to say goodbye. The audience let out a collective groan, and James said, "No, it's the name of the song." The way he said it earned a few chuckles. Deirdre joined them for the song wearing everyone's favorite dress. You know the one. When they finished, the audience gave them another standing ovation.

I must say, David wasn't as vocal as he was the last time I saw them. I didn't hear any quips out of him. I missed those little pearls that spice up the show. It was a benefit for a hospital, so that may have had something to do with it. I don't know.

The Meet & Greet line was long, and I was so glad that people were buying Celtic Tenors CDs and Deirdre's CD. Dale, Laura Jane, and I waited patiently in line to see the boys and Deirdre. James was first at the table, and he stood up and kissed me on the cheek. Daryl and Matthew followed suit. They're all such sweet men. James offered to sign my program, and I declined. I told him, quite honestly, that I would much rather have a hug than an autograph any day. Although, I think I will take a photo (the one we took in Crossville) to Cincinnati and have them sign that. It's much more personal than a program, even though the program for the Spindale show was so pretty and in color! I'm definitely saving that one.

I was talking to Deirdre after the crowd thinned out, and I told her about our trip that morning. I was talking about being mad and swearing. She asked me why I was mad about that, when there were so many other things to be concerned about. Deirdre said she and the boys had gotten up at 6:00 a.m. that morning and driven 4.5 hours to put on the show at 3:00 p.m. in Spindale. She put things in perspective, and I felt very selfish and foolish at that point. I apologized for complaining about it, and Deirdre promptly said something that made me laugh. I tried to shut up about it after that, with limited success. LOL!!

Dale is a fan from the Celtic Woman side of the "family." He was particularly interested to meet Deirdre, but he said he thoroughly enjoyed the Celtic Tenors, too. Laura Jane doesn't listen to Irish music, but her grandparents were born in Ireland, so she was willing to see the concert and visit with me for a little while. Afterward, she thanked me for introducing her to the Tenors and Deirdre. She said she felt special getting to meet them since she was with me. I told her they were like that with everyone. They just happened to have met me before. I just got an e-mail from Laura Jane saying again how much she loved the show.

I wasn't able to spend much time with James or Daryl this time, but I was able to spend a little time one-on-one with Matthew. He's so charming. I'll have to make it a point to get some time with Daryl at the next show. I spent time with James in Crossville, so I'm not neglecting him. Maybe one of these days, I'll actually be able to spend a little time with all of them at a single M & G. It's so hard, though. I start talking to one of them, and the next thing I know ten minutes have passed. They're all so down-to-earth and easygoing.

I want to point out that by the time I got hugs from Deirdre and all the boys, David included, I was quite content with the day. It may have started off on the wrong foot, but it turned out to be a GREAT day after all!

I hope you've enjoyed this very long review. A lot happened to me Sunday. By the way, the return trip only took 2.5 hours. Why? The Interstate goes under the mountain instead of over it. It made a huge difference. I'll shut up now.;-)