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2005-10-06 Killinkere Leisure Center

reviewed by Beate

 

Another amazing night! However to be honest, I was a little sceptical when, after a two-hour drive out of a very busy Dublin yesterday afternoon, I arrived at the Killinkere Leisure Center. Normally a sports and leisure place, the big hall had been converted into a concert venue, with a makeshift stage on one side which did not really leave much room for the performers in its front area, as the whole back part was taken up by several steps for the Bailieborough School Choir, which was also to perform that night. David's piano stood on a stage extension to the left, and the seemingly endless rows of chairs started right in front of the stage.

As it turned out, there was no reason for scepticism. From 7.30 onwards, you could see car after car pulling into the drive, people came in in groups, and soon there was chatting and bantering going on all along. As this was an evening organised by the Bailieborough Community School Parents Association, the whole parish seemed to be there and everyone knew each other, so it was a very relaxed and cheerful atmosphere. Also, the organising committee had done a great job, and there was no ticket table at the entrance  they had completely sold out in the past weeks and even put a warning on the internet page to discourage further people from coming without a ticket!

 

When the concert started at 8.30 pm, there was no free seat left in the hall, and there was an audience of around 700 people. After a few opening remarks by representatives of the parish, and the school, Prima Diva took the stage for the first half of the evening. Those ladies are really great and as I had expected after having seen them in the National Concert Hall, it was an extraordinary performance. They are Debra Stuart, Gina Hanley and Yvonne Barclay, all former opera singers. What maybe not everybody knows, David Munro is Prima Diva's musical director too, and he accompanied them at the piano. For those interested, their tracklist was at follows:

 

Star of the County Down (funny enough, where had I seen this as opening number before?)
A song from "Carmen"
The Water is Wide
The Flower Duet/Lakme (better known these days as "the commercial of a well-known airline")
A Spanish song, the name of which has escaped me
An Irish Medley
Danny Boy
I just can't help loving this man
Amazing Grace (whoa!)
Medley from West Side Story

 

Afterwards it was time for the break, the parent community held a raffle, and Prima Diva were doing a CD signing at the merchandise table. The bar was open in an adjacent part of the building, so there was pretty much going on all at the same time!

 

After the break, the Bailieborough Community School Choir took the stage. 75 pupils dressed in their green and black school uniforms under the direction of their music teacher, standing on the steps of that stage, made a very impressing picture. And after some initial difficulties with some of the mikes, it was a good performance too!

 

It was already after 10pm when the Celtic Tenors, introduced as Ireland's most successful crossover act, took the stage. They opened with Granada, and as had also been the case for both Prima Diva and the School Choir, the audience was very receptive and enthusiastic. The tenors then introduced themselves (although the presenter of the evening had already done it in detail before) and it was (again) Matthew who had the home field advantage, which Kells (again) just down the road. Matthew then spoke a few words about the next song, "Wild Rover" saying that he had performed that in a show for the first time when he was only 12 years old. And of course, there was the usual flirting between stage and the ladies in the first rows during that one.

 

The next song, "You raise me up", was dedicated to Matthew's grandparents, who were also in the audience an announcement which was met by a very warm and very loud applause. As was the song, of course. "Fionnghuala" followed, and then "Non Siamo Isole", with Matthew sitting on the choir steps. Again, I had a seat which did actually allow me to watch the audience on the left side of the stage from a very good angle, and I was delighted so see some of them open-mouthed an completely stunned. The song was met by a tremendous response from the audience well-deserved, of course.

 

"Here, there and everywhere" was followed by "Angel of Mercy", and "Danny Boy". This song had its second appearance this night, yet both versions were completely different. For Prima Diva, David had announced it as a song with a great significance for the Irish, and while he grew up in Scotland smiling about "that Irish tune", ever since he has lived in this country has the meaning of that song really sunk in with him. He did tell the story of even the noisiest pub and the worst argument there going completely quiet once someone starts to sing Danny Boy, and he also stressed that it emphasises, once more, the fantastic sense of family that does exist in this country. Prima Diva's version of course was very different from the one James, Matthew and Niall delivered, but both received the response they deserved.

 

It was Matthew's turn again to introduce "Remember me" he talked about that song being a landmark for the tenors, and that it is one of those inspirational songs which hold a meaning for everyone, though each listener would probably make something different out of it. He also said they had done the song at a concert in Memphis about a week ago and that they had received a huge response from their audience there (it was the conference of concert bookers). As I have often seen (heard) before, last night's audience reaction to "Remember me" was a second or two of absolutely stunned silence, before the first people broke into applause.

 

The announcement that it was "Time to say goodbye" was met with lots of sad "ohs" and "ahs", and people started clapping even before the song was over. Yet this was not the end of the night  not before "Phil the Fluter" anyway, which went down to be the usual treat and made everybody laugh.

 

The stage was then taken by the school's principal for a thank you speech, and then Prima Diva (in those stunning red dresses from the NCH) and the Celtic Tenors came back onto the stage, they also invited the Choir back too, and launched into the grand finale, "Brindisi". And as the applause would not end, there was one final encore  "All out of love", with the Choir singing along  carefully first, then very enthusiastic, and the song was met by a roaring standing ovation.

 

Yet again, the lines at the meet and greet were very very long and although it was by then almost midnight, the lads had time for everybody, and fulfilled every request for an autograph, a picture, or a chat.

 

And also, yet again, a very late return to Dublin for me, and a little bit of a funny cross-country drive as the main road back to Dublin was closed due to roadworks, so I had to follow a criss-cross detour. However, we all know how a Celtic Tenor voice can be inspirational and keep you awake, so I made it home in a very good mood and I definitely had another great evening thanks to the lads!