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May 2020
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2005-09-16./17 Haarlem

reviewed by Rianne


September 16th, 2005. After what seemed ages (we ordered the tickets back in April) Belinda and I were finally, finally, finally on our way to the first of "our" two Celtic Tenors concerts in Haarlem. We had agreed to meet the others (Anja, Beate, Alexandra, Cassie and Moni) in front of the Philharmonie at 21:30. The concert was scheduled for 22:30, so we would have an hour to get acquainted. I obviously already knew Anja and had frequently "spoken" (i.e. mailed) to some of the others, but I had yet to meet them face to face. Belinda had never met any of them, so needless to say we were pretty excited about the evening ahead.

After parking the car in a street that was supposed to be close to the Philharmonie, it took us a while to figure out which direction to walk in (damn those street maps!!), but after asking a passer-by we soon found ourselves standing right in front of the venue and looking directly at Anja!! After greeting her, we were introduced to Beate, Alexandra, Cassie and Moni. Anja had a copy of the new album for each of us, which Beate brought from Dublin for the fan club (THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH TO BOTH OF THEM), and Belinda and I handed out the tickets (we had ordered and saved them for the rest of the group). Inside, we spent the time talking to Frans (who manned the table with the merchandise, which also included the new album) and Peter Boone. Margaret joined us soon after, and before we knew it, it was 22:25 and we headed to the entrance of the hall our guys would be performing in. Unfortunately, the concert of Dervish, which was at that moment taking place in the bigger of the two halls, ran late, and so did the sound check for the CT's, so we had to wait outside the hall. The door was guarded by two of the Philharmonie's employees, and as much as we pleaded with them, promised we wouldn't bother anyone, told them how incredibly important we were and even offered to bribe them (for the record: we were kidding there!!!), we weren't permitted into the hall until about 22:50!! Oh well, we had at least enjoyed ourselves trying to come up with ways to put an end to the Dervish concert....but some of the suggestions shouldn't be repeated.... ;-)


We quickly found our places (second row!!) and it was only minutes before David Munro and Martin Quinn walked on stage, quickly followed by the three gentlemen we had come for. Looking very sharp, all dressed in black, James, Matthew and Niall started off with "The Star of the County Down". Too busy enjoying the concert and taking pictures, I forgot to keep track of the rest of the songs, but one thing was for sure: this was definitely worth the wait, even if it was an extended one.:-) The guys were in top form, chatted with the public, flirted with "great land ladies" during "The Wild Rover" and offered the price of a CD single to the person who could guess David Munro's age. Of course, our beloved Widda Gafferty and Little Crooked Paddy were present as well. Afterwards, we went to meet the guys in the foyer. Belinda and I had come bearing gifts for James, Niall, Matthew and Deirdre. The guys all got plush slippers shaped like wooden shoes and an extra gift each. James was given tulip bulbs for purple tulips (for his garden and for giving me the nickname of Tulip Celt) and a Lilliput (i.e. teeny tiny) dictionary English-Dutch (to practice his Dutch), Niall got a booklet about Van Gogh (which he once told me is one of his favourite painters) and Matthew a special guide book to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (which is his favourite book). They especially loved the "clog slippers" and even said that they might wear on stage them the following night....:-)) Unfortunately, Deirdre wasn't there, so we asked the guys to pass her gifts - a light blue flowery necklace and a box of bonbons - on to her. After chatting to the guys for well over an hour we had to leave (the staff at the Philharmonie was getting a little tired....) and obviously promised to return the next night.


The next night, we had agreed to meet early for dinner and to the delight of all of us girls we were joined by the lovely Mr. John Harding. We went to an Italian restaurant across from the hotel the fans from afar were staying in. A few of the staff members of the Philharmonie were quite amused (or was it petrified?) to see us again.... That night, Mary Black was performing in the other auditorium, and even if the previous evening's situation repeated itself and we had to wait outside the hall again (though not quite as long) Miss Black's concert had a few advantages: 1) Alexandra and Cassie went to see it, and they really enjoyed it.
2) Because Mary Black is quite well-known and popular in the Netherlands, a lot more people had come to see her than there had been to see Dervish. A lot of them had gone for the 2-in-1 special ticket the Philharmonie offered and thus came to the Celtic Tenors concert as well. In addition to that, more people had showed up especially for our guys and others who had come for Mary Black alone found their way into the Celtic Tenors concert as well. So long story short: the guys had a much bigger audience this evening. Mr. Harding had come up with a gag to make the tenors laugh (which worked), but I will leave it up to him to tell that story. This time, I did keep a list of the songs, which was slightly different from the one on the first night:


1) The Star of the County Down
3) The Wild Rover (with, this time, a mean land lady in the audience according to James anyway)
4) You Raise Me Up
Spanish Lady/Mary's Wedding (during which Matthew flirted with Cassie and Niall practically sat on the lap of an unsuspecting lady in the audience)
6) Nella Fantasia
7) Quiet Land Of Erin (by Deirdre)
8) Once In A Very Blue Moon (by Deirdre, especially for John!!)
9) Non Siamo Isole
10) Phil The Fluter's Ball
11) Here, There And Everywhere
12) Angel Of Mercy
13) Whisky In The Jar
14) Oh Danny Boy
15) Remember Me/Recuérdame
16) Time To Say Goodbye (though not quite, because)
as an encore:
17) All Out Of Love


Afterwards, the guys as always came to meet the audience in the foyer. The first thing James did was apologise for the fact that they had forgotten to wear the slippers. Of course, they were immediately forgiven. This time, Deirdre did join us. As Belinda said, it was lovely to finally meet her as well (I had somehow managed to miss her after the concert in Leiden last year), because she is indeed SO sweet (and very pleased with her gifts)!! Belinda and I had our picture taken with Matthew, James and Niall (thanks to those who took them for us) and of course got a few things signed (in Belinda's case: the CD for her mother, and for me it was a scan of the portrait of them that I drew earlier this year).

All in all, it was an extremely, extremely fabulous weekend. I already knew Anja and Belinda are good company, but I also loved meeting Beate, Alexandra, Cassie, Moni and most of all John. It was great to finally be able to put faces to all the messages on the forum and the e-mails I had received from all of these great people. It was like we had all known each other for years and we had SO much fun. Belinda and I are planning to go to the Amstelveen concert in December, I'll be taking my mum and grandparents to the one in Spijkenisse and I will also be present at the concert in Breda. December is going to be a busy month....


Whew, this was my longest post EVER. I hope you enjoyed it, though....