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2005/2006 Killarney, Cork, Athlone and Derry

reviewed by Beate

 

Household chores, shopping and some badly needed catching-up on sleep done, now here's the promised report on the remaining concerts...

 

Killarney - oh well. We had a lovely drive down there and reached the Gleneagles Hotel in a good time, but there was a long line at reception for check-in and when we had finally got our room key, we found out someone else was already living there. So the whole reception game had to start anew... We later learnt (and we thought it was very funny) that the other people living in the room were members of the band playing in the ballroom of the hotel that night, the competition, so-to-speak. Anyway, about 20 minutes later we were finally sorted and could start getting ready for the concert! Rianne and John have already described the details of the concert and also posted the playlist, so there is little I could add to that. My personal favourites of the night were the new song they had added ("Sit down you're rocking the boat"), and "Caruso". I also have to say that Donna's voice simply took my breath away every time she appeared on stage and especially her duet with James, "All I ask of you", is outstanding. It's hard to believe she is really only 18!

 

On to Cork... and despite the rain that John has already mentioned, we took the scenic route and went by the Ladies' View, Moll's Gap, Kenmare, and Bantry. It took us quite a long time to get to Cork, but we would still have been relatively early had we been able to find the hotel. I should have known that the first description I got sounded suspiciously like an Irish description ("simply go up the hill on the opposite side of the river"), but once in a while I simply forget about that. It turned out to be quite an adventure as obviously even cab drivers were sending us into the wrong directions (hey, but we now know where the post distribution center for Ireland/South is and we have also seen the Heineken building from every possible perspective). Also worth mentioning, when we asked for the way more than half of the people wanted us to "go down and take a left turn at the river" which is strictly forbidden. All this in the middle of the preparation for the night's big fireworks for which the quays would be closed off - needless to say I was not only getting nervous, but bordering on hysterical when we finally found a kind soul (two, actually) who showed us to the hotel by driving in front of us all the way up there!

 

We decided to go down to the Opera House by cab then, as due to the close-offs traffic was a nightmare and I had had my fair share of driving in Cork already in the afternoon. It was still pouring rain and I could not believe it, there was hardly any staff at the Opera House that night. They later told us it was almost impossible to find people willing to work on New Year's, so that resulted in only one guy controlling the tickets (1000 people!) while the queue outside in the rain got longer and longer. Understandably, the people were then not really pleased to find out there was no cloakroom open in the Opera House so they couldn't even get rid of their wet coats!

 

Again, John and Rianne have done a great job of describing the Cork concert, and there is little I can add to that simply because there was so much to do and so much going on around this concert that I did not really see much of it. There was not one free seat in the house, it was packed to the brim, and we actually had to stand leaning on the back doors during the parts of the concerts we did actually see. The atmosphere in the opera house was stunning and the tenors were in very good form, joking and making fun all night. It had been decided Anja and myself should bring champagne glasses onto the stage at midnight, so we did not see more than two or three songs of the second half before we had to make our way backstage. There, we waited for midnight to come, and there was a little TV monitor for us to watch "Danny Boy", "Remember me", and "All out of love". And honestly, for the first time since I was allowed to stay up and managed to stay awake (I must have been five or six) I actually missed midnight. I heard the countdown on stage and saw Pzazz and Donna goint out past us, but everything happened so fast that before we knew, we had the tray with the glasses in our hands and the tour manager sent us out.

 

We made our way towards the front of the stage, standing on the left of all the singers on stage, and the view from there was just stunning. No, I am for once not talking about the people on stage, but about the audience. 1000 people on their feet, arms crossed in front of them and hand in hand with their seat neighbours singing "Auld Lang Syne", wow, I wish I had had a camera with me to capture and to share that! Stunning isn't even close, it was a brilliant and very touching and moving sight. And then Niall had the champagne ready, and the glasses were filled, and it was "Happy New Year" all around. It'll be a New Year's Eve to remember for a long long time!

 

A quiet first of January on the south coast, then we were off to Athlone. The Dean Crowe Theatre has about 1/5th of the capacity of the Cork Opera House, so there were only about 160 to 180 people. Still, it was a good audience and a good concert. For those interested, here's the tracklist:

 

Star of the County Down
Wild
Rover
Here There and Everywhere
Nella Fantasia (with Donna)
O Mio Babbino Caro (Donna)
Libiamo (with Donna)
Non Siamo Isole
You raise me up
Phil
the Fluter

Sit down (you're rocking the boat)
Bring him home
Katie
(Donna)
All I ask of you (Donna and James)
The Contender
Will ye go Lassie go
Whiskey in the Jar
Danny Boy (short version)
Remember me
Time to say goodbye (with Donna)

All out of love (encore)

 

The tenors kind of surprised us with singing "Bring him home" instead of the expected "Angel of Mercy". I had not heard them do that one before. It's a perfectly fitting song for the them, very slow and somehow reflective, and I think someone mentioned it being from a musical?

 

We spent the next day in Sligo, as mentioned, before we were off to Derry on January 4. The concert was in the Millenium Forum, a beautiful new theatre. It still had decorations from a Christmas play (or something similar) on stage, so that the tenors were actually doing their concert in a fairy castle frame, which looked just perfect and was definitely very nice. Also, the auditorium is very nice and reminded me a little of the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, though it is more modern architecture.

 

James, Matthew and Niall were in absolutely fantastic spirit, and it was a great concert. The tracklist of the first half was identical with Athlone, so I will not repeat it all here. The second half was also identical with two exceptions: "All I ask of you" and "The Contender" were out, and "Fields of Athenry" was in. I like the song a lot, but the logic kind of escaped me – I quote - "everyone else is doing "The Town I loved so well" in Derry, this is why we do "The Fields of Athenry". It's probably last concert of the tour reasoning, still, it really made me laugh!

 

Encores, again, were "Ireland's Call" and "All out of love", and after the concert the tenors were greeted by a long long long signing line through which they had to work their way.

 

The memories of the tour are still lingering (and they will be for a long time, I suppose) and we had an absolutely fabulous time.