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2005-03-07 Ballyroan Library

reviewed by Beate

 

This concert was different from the events I have seen before. First, this was a library with the bookshelfs just pushed to the sides to make room for all the chairs, so there was no stage and it was a really cosy family atmosphere. Second, with the room being relatively small, the tenors did not use any technical support and sang without microphones, just accompanied by David.

The County Librarian and the Mayor spoke for a few minutes, and also introduced the lads, before they "took stage" for a very memorable hour of singing. Clad in black, but not formally in suits, just in black trousers and different black shirts, started off with "Granada", followed by "Caledonia" and even at that early stage it was clear that the crowd was more than perceptive. There were few empty seats and more than once I heard people behind or beside me sing along. And there was lengthy applause after every song!

After that, I have to admit, I cannot remember the order of songs, but I hope I can at least list them all: there was "The Star of the County Down", "Ag criost an siol" together with "Fionnghuala", "Mystic Lipstick", that piece I can never remember the name of (Mamma mia?), "Cielo e Mar", "Whiskey in the Jar", "Here There and Everywhere" which I had never heard from the lads before, and Danny Boy a capella.

One special highlight, as always, was "O sole mio" and it was so nice to hear two little girls who were sitting at the left side of the stage laugh out loud repeatedly. Well actually, you could hear them giggling all the time. They loved it. And so did the rest of the audience, judging from the faces and the applause afterwards!

James, Matthew and Niall were in very good form and seemed to have a lot of fun themselves, talking to each other or sometimes laughing even in the middle of a song, as I said, it was all very informal but still it was beautiful singing.

The concert ended with "Remember me", and a standing ovation. Which lead to the question, which encore did we want, "Nessun Dorma" or "Phil the Fluter"? Most people opted for both, which we got, somehow, by "Phil the Fluter" dressed up in the Nessun Dorma coat.


But with that, the evening was not finished. As the posters said, it was an evening of singing and conversation, so the lads got some chairs, sat down on the stage, and encouraged the people to ask questions. It was amazing. It ranged from the question how they met over how they arrange such a hectic and busy schedule with family life to how they train their voices and every question was answered very detailed and very patiently. It was half an hour full of laughter. David was also addressed, he was asked how he had met the guys and became their musical director.


Matthew ended the Q&A by asking the guys if they now wanted to do "the real thing", and judging from Niall's and James's looks I am not sure that it had been on the agenda, but nevertheless, as a final encore so-to-speak, they then sang one more song and did the real "Nessun Dorma"!

 

Afterwards, there was an impromptu photo session (I think for the local paper), as well as a little meet and greet plus autograph signing. Which reminds me, I trust there will be some kind of report either in the paper or on the Library's homepage soon, maybe accompanied by some of the pics.

 

All in all, a memorable day for me, a memorable evening to crown it, and I am glad I was there!