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2004-09-18 Altamont, Irish Fest

reviewed by Betty

 

Where do I begin to describe the wonderful concert yesterday I will run out of adjectives very quickly. It was magnificent, beautiful,inspiring, moving,breathtaking, etc!!!!I can't find more appropriate words. You folks going to the Chicago will have a blast.I envy you because you will also get a complete concert. The lads were limited to 1 hour at the festival, but it is an hour I will never forget. They were accompanied by David Munroe, their musical director, who played a keyboard, but it sounded like a full orchestra at times.

 

I went with my daughter, Wendy, and she was very impresssed. She was surprised to learn that they were very down-to-earth, regular guys with no swelled heads like some rock stars.

 

It took us five hours to get there, mostly because of the weather. It was raining heavily and very foggy. The lads joked that they brought Ireland's weather with them, but actually it was the remnants of Hurricane Ivan which had moved up the East coast after causing many deaths and billions of dollars of damage in the Carribean, Florida, and other Southern states. We also misunderstood the directions and got on the wrong road. Next time I'll bring a map. The rain had stopped by the time we got there, but it was very muddy.

 

The concert was in a tent with no reserved seats. I was in the fourth row, in the middle, on the aisle. The audience grew to standing room only by the end of the concert with their wonderful voices carrying out over the fairgrounds and attracting many people. The lads were casually dressed in jeans and jackets because of the weather and mud, but they looked very handsome and dapper. Ladies, please note James' new svelt, trim figure. He looks great!

 

The concert opened with "Spanish Lady" which set the mood for everyone. This was followed by "Wild Rover" with the audience clapping and singing along on the chorus. Next came "Calendonia" with each of them doing a verse as a solo. Absolutely beautiful! Then they sang "Star of County Down" (more audience participation) and Fionnghuala (a capella).

 

Deirdre then sang 2 songs with the lads doing backup on one of them. She has a beautiful voice and very powerful.

 

Then came a rousing rendition of "Whiskey in the Jar" followed by "Danny Boy" sung a capella. The sun came out during this one, and Niall commented on it. Very moving and wonderful!

 

Then came my favorites, "Fields of Athenry" and "Remember Me". Absolutely beautiful!!!! Better than the CD version!

 

They picked up the tempo after that with "Phil the Fluter's Ball", but changed the ending to the music of the end of "Nessum Dorma" which brought the audience to their feet for a well-deserved standing ovation. Magnificent!!!

 

The last song of the set was "Time to Say Goodbye" which nobody wanted them to say. They got another standing ovation with long, loud applause. They were very willing to do an encore, "Ireland's Call" which everyone sang along on. This ended the concert, and I wanted it to go on much more. Everyone else there wanted more as well. Later I asked James if "Time to Say Goodbye" would be on their next CD. He says no, but I think it should.

 

After the concert they signed autographs and posed for pictures. I got hugs and kisses from all three!!! I have an autographed picture of all of them. (BTW, they need to smile more in their pictures. They look too serious.) I felt like a teenager who had met their favorite movie or music star. Someone was asked to take a picture of the 5 of us, and he asked us to move closer. I had James on one side and Niall on the other with their arms around me. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!!!!

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, James, Niall, and Matthew for a concert I will never forget! You made my day, my week, and my year! Come back next year, but come to Boston so I won't have such a long ride. There are many Irish people in Boston. You could do another PBS special.

 

I asked about their next CD. According to James it is coming out in February, but according to David Munroe it is coming out in March. I can't wait.

 

For those going to the coming concerts, enjoy yourselves. I guarantee you will have a wonderful time and will never forget them. I am looking forward to reading your reviews.

 

Well, I will sign off now as this e-mail is getting long. I would have sent it yesterday, but it was late when we got home.