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2006-09-10 Dublin, Gaiety Theatre

reviewed by Rianne

 

The concert was way, way beyond brilliant. Songs included "Caledonia", "Remember Me", "Angel of Mercy", "Ten Thousand Tears" (with Donna), "Nessun Dorma", the duet (which in this case was sung by all three) from "The Pearl Fishers", "Paddy McGinty's goat" (hilarious) and "Shenondoah". It wasn't Deirdre's first concert back with the tenors and I am delighted to have her back. I finally, finally got to see/hear one of my WANI favorites live: "Still By Your Side". Other than that, Deirdre sang "She Moved Through the Fair" and "The Prayer" with Matthew, which never fails to amaze me. And it meant that we got a fabulous rendition of "Tonight" from West Side Story, with both Deirdre and Donna!!

 

What made this concert so much fun, other than the host of never-before-heard songs, was the banter on stage between the guys. Daryl told of his stay with Matthew the night before, and ending up having to sing in church the next day and having to catch a bull ("which was five times bigger than any of us") on the farm with Matthew and his father. There was a bit of a tiff over who was the "leading lady" now when Daryl sang a woman's lyrics during "Paddy McGinty's Goat", and James wanted it pointed out that he was a much better "lady" (i.e. our own beloved Widda Gafferty). Matthew played peace maker, and all was well again. And oh yes, James does a perfect imitation of the goat!! :-))

Now for the show banter. Those who were there, feel free to correct me if I get something wrong:

A few songs into the show it was time for James's solo. When Matthew and Daryl kept hovering to the side of the stage a little too long, they were sent to the wings with a brisk: "Yes, leave!!" After that, James proceeded to tell the audience of an article he had read in the paper a few weeks ago, about a lady who hosts an online dating service (www.iloveyou.ie), but had gotten so busy helping other people find their soulmates that she had sort of forgotten about finding her own. So our lovely James had written to her, offering to "prove to her that men can be impulsive, rather than repulsive". He then asked if this lady, Paula, was in the audience, and there was no answer, causing our poor James to whimper "Oh no.....". Then Paula appeared from the wings, receiving a warm welcome from our James. He then proceeded to serenade her with a operatic love song, the title of which I don't remember, dancing with her and putting her on his knee(!). Matthew and Daryl where watching, wide eyed and open-mouthed, from the wings and the audience laughed its head off. By the end of the song, Matthew rushed on stage to - much to James's "dismay"- present Paula with a red rose.

Now as I've mentioned before, the "lady verse" in "Paddy McGinty's Goat" caused a bit of an uproar. Daryl was doing the "lady verse" (no. 6), doing a wonderful imitation of a "ladies voice" (and dance) when James cut in, commenting that doing "lady verses" was his job. "I've been an excellent leading lady for years!!" Matthew tried to hush up the argument, but now Daryl was angry at James for ruining his verse and started complaining to David, while James was sulking and grumbling to the side of the stage. Matthew valiantly proceeded with the song, making a still sulking James sing the "hip hooray" bit in verse seven of the song, while Daryl was still complaining to David, pointing to James and blaming him for ruining his verse. Matthew told them to not fight in front of everyone and make peace, which resulted in a very reluctant half- handshake, and the song went on. At the end of the next verse, James suddenly let out such a sharp, convincing "Mähhhhh" hat Matthew pretty much collapsed into giggles (the audience, at this point, was already helpless with laughter) and was unable to continue singing for at least a few minutes, no matter how hard he tried. Don't ask me how they got through the final verse of the song, but they did, and it was closed with another "Mähhhhh".

Then of course, there was Daryl's tale of his stay with Matthew the night before (which involved a bull that needed to be taken out of the pen with the heffers - four guys chasing a bull around the pen "that was five times bigger than any of us" - and having to sing a solo in church that morning), which I mentioned before, and a few examples of the trouble James and Matthew (and Sean) had getting used to Daryl's Northern Ireland accent. What else? Daryl dedicated "You Raise Me Up" to his parents for supporting him in his pursuit of a football (soccer) career in the worst of the Troubles and "forgot" Deirdre's name when he called the two ladies on stage for "Tonight", James had a little "interview" with Deirdre between "Still By Your Side" and Deirdre's solo "She Moved Through the Fair" and made her tell the audience why, on the album, the latter song is sung a-capella....(I won't tell). Matthew played the tin whistle - VERY WELL - during "The Irish Rover" - no, not "The Wild Rover" - and James did yet another animal impression during this song.... Yes, it was a great night!