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2005-07 Daytona Beach and Port Orange

reviewed by Joyce

 

In the interest of full disclosure, this review is best read (as it is being written) with wine in hand. Other potables would do well, especially if above 20 proof.

 

Secondly, I must tell you all how intimidating it is to write a review for Celtic Tenors fans who are as articulate, enthusiastic and cognoscent of detail as you all seem to be. The sum total of my waxing eloquence includes, "they were amazing," "they really knocked it out of the park that time," and the ubiquitous but always appropriate "wow!" I come from a history of mostly rock and roll where the best thing said is not much more than "cool," unless paid professional reviewers are at the helm and I'd usually rather listen to the album than read theircolumns about the album.

 

That said, the three concerts I attended at Daytona Beach were...get ready for it...amazing. The first two were outdoor affairs called "informances" which roughly translated means informational, informal, and free. Yes friends, I got to hear our guys twice for free as did hundreds of new converts who came buy the grandstands to see what was going on and ended up buying CDs and having their pictures taken with the cutest guys in jeans and t-shirts they'd ever seen. (The third concert was at the Peabody Amphitheater with the Canadian group Leahy). Our guys did the first 45 minutes and were incredible with a mixture of Irish and opera. They wore black suits and open white shirts and looked completely fabulous. Unfortunately I got no pictures of this as I was practically wrestled to the ground by an usher who told me I'd have to leave if tried to take pictures. (Of course I did try, but with the dark hall and her eagle eye upon me, nothing I took turned out. Oh well, you know what the guys look like in black suits and white shirts.) Now back to the outdoor concerts.

 

No one was really ready for the incredible heat and humidity of an apparently typical Daytona Beach evening in July. Everything wilts...crisp white cotton shirts, perky hair styles, make up especially around the eyes -- you name it -- it has the shelf life of a popsicle in the oven. Even the flyers we were handing out were limp and lifeless. Everything except the Celtic Tenors. They attacked the stage as if it were a swimming pool of cool water and with sun beating down and enthusiastic fans coming up to them in the middle of songs (!) they continued to ...here we go again... knock it out of the park.

 

The first concert at the Daytona Beach Band Shell set the tone. David gave me his set list which I'll repeat here for all who want to know – Star of the County Down, Caledonia, Wild Rover, Nella Fantasia, You Raise Me Up, O Sole Mio, A Love So Beautiful, Spanish Lady, Danny Boy, Remember Me, Time to Say Goodbye. On subsequent nights some of the songs changed a bit to include So Strong, Anthem, and Fionnghuala, which got huge cheers at the Peabody Auditorium concert.

 

Every song met with tons of applause as the crowd got bigger and bigger. They started out with around 300 people who came prepared with lawn chairs and bottled water in hand, and by the end of the evening there were between 1,000 and 1,500 people all cheering. They came from surrounding restaurants and shops, and one woman called a friend on her cell phone and told him to "get here right now or you'll be sorry for the rest of your life." (That's a direct quote, which I happened to overhear quite deliberately.)

Between songs, the guys bantered with the audience who bantered back and when James sang the verse in Wild Rover about not having money to pay the tab, a lady took a dollar out of her purse and gave it to him. Niall asked the audience how many there were Irish and after lots of hands rose enthusiastically, he said that this next song was Italian with such a twinkle in his voice that the whole audience chuckled and applauded. And in the middle of one song (sorry, I can't remember which one), Matthew looked up into the sky and saw three huge birds too aloft for me to distinguish variety soaring majestically and effortlessly on waves of air they knew had been created just for them.

The second informance was held in Port Orange at an outdoor venue more formal than the band shell with tiered seating and absolutely no shade what so ever. But there was a persistent and very warm breeze blowing which made it impossible for David Munro to keep the sheet music on the stand. So yours truly was asked to sit on stage next to David and remove the music "from behind a glass frame" which was improvised at the last minute to keep sheets from blowing everywhere. Well, this was really an amazing moment. Me on stage sitting behind three of the cutest bums anywhere, watching how the audiences were loving our guys, and oh yeah, working to keep up with David's flying digits as they effortlessly hit the all right notes with impeccable timing, and trying not to completely dissolve in laughter at his comments all the while. And at the end of that concert we all joined hands and took a bow.


All in all Daytona Beach was amazing!