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2005-10-22 Wilmington, Thalian Hall

reviewed by Linda and Gary

 

Saturday, October 22nd, we were finally in Wilmington, North Carolina's Thalian Hall, the second oldest continuous running theater in the United States. The beautiful 147 years old structure held double balconies. Joyce Covington was already in the entrance foyer set up for CD sales when we arrived. It was fun finally meeting this lovely lady. The three of us had a very nice chat. As we waited in the foyer we could over hear the queries of the crowd. Everyone was wondering what would be heard. Gary would just look at them and say, " Just wait, you are going to be blown away". At the 4:00 concert we were 4 rows back, center stage. At the 8:00 performance, we were 7 rows back on the right aisle. Both were good seats, but being center stage is always preferred.

 

The lads came out in their all black outfits and immediately started singing The Star of the County Down. Caledonia was then introduced. After explaining how the next song was recorded with the very hairy Dubliners, the lads had to instruct the afternoon crowd on the proper clapping procedures for The Wild Rover. The evening audience must have been more familiar with Irish songs, as less instruction was needed. Next came Fionnghuala. Now the goose bumps appeared for You Raise Me Up, which I enjoyed just as much if not more than the recording. The familiar expressiveness of Spanish Lady/Marie's Wedding was next. The lads started singing Nella Fantasia and this tiny, cute, dark haired, 18 year old with an outstanding voice joined them and invoked another set of goose bumps. James introduced Donna Malone and she sang a Puccini song. As Donna left the stage the boys came back in with Mama Mia. Matthew sang the Brian Kennedy part in Non siamo isole/We are not Islands and did a fantastic job. What a great song! To liven things up Dublina was next. Once again clapping instructions with much teasing was required during Dicey Reilly and audience singing participation could be heard during Molly Malone. Another set of goose bumps appeared with Remember Me/Recuerdame. I'll never tire of this song! This was the end of the first set and the crowd was buzzing with pleasure.

 

The second set brought the lads out in long black velvet jackets and different colored vests over their white shirts. Niall was in a pale gold, James in a silver gray and Matthew in a patterned black on black. Granada was the opening song. The usual banter and much loved laughter of O Solo Mio was next. The Beatles song of Here There and Everywhere followed. I'm so glad we got to here it live since it is not on the North American album release. Donna was introduced again and the boys backed her up on Katy. She sang a solo which unfortunately I didn't catch the title of-My? Love. She left the stage and the usual antics were displayed for Whiskey in a Jar. Next came a dedication to 3 couples in the crowd- friends of James' New York stylist, James college singing mate and her husband, and Gary and me. James explained that his college friend married an American and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He had sung at their wedding. James said that we had driven 14 hours to attend this concert, Matthew gave a short geography lesson and stated that we lived a couple of hours south of Chicago and Niall just quipped that we were slow drivers. Everyone got a chuckle out of that! We now heard our dedicated song of Bheir Mi O. The audience then went into a stunned silenced for the a cappella rendition of Danny Boy and then it was a Time to Say Goodbye accompanied by the beautiful voiced Donna (another set of good bumps). The audience was up on their feet and heartily clapping before Gary and I had a chance to rise out of our chairs. For an encore, and introduced as a quiet Irish song, the bouncy Phil the Fluter's Ball was followed by All Out of Love. James had introduced the Air Supply song as the only song left that they knew. Matthew did a great job of singing the Air Supply part from the recording. There was another standing ovation as the Tenors left the stage to go to the "meet and greet". I believe Joyce and a Thalian Hall volunteer were kept very busy at this point and there was a long line of new fans with album covers to be autographed.

 

Between the two performances, we were invited to a wine and buffet supper by Steven Barefoot, the Director of Programming for the Thalian Hall. It was a supper for Patrons and a kick off for the new season. We were very honored to be guests.

 

It is now 6 days after our wonderful concert experience. I hope we haven't forgotten anything and that you enjoy this review.