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2003 Bantry Mussle Fair

reviewed by Robin

 

Hi to all! We had a beautiful warm fall day today in Illinois. The trees are starting to turn colours and my dad and I took a long walk in my favorite park. It was great to spend time with him just enjoying the day and each others company. I was so thankful that I was able to walk without any assistance for 20 minutes before my leg gave out! So I am in the mood to count my blessings and I thought I would write about the second Celtic Tenors concert we saw in May of this year.


My friend Pat and I decided to treat ourselves by changing our plane tickets back a couple of days just so we could see the Tenors again. We were going to see them at the Bantry Mussels fair and had driven for a couple of hours through the winding Irish roads only to get a flat(or do I mean shredded?)tire a mere 15 miles from Bantry. I was so tempted to tell Pat "well, good luck I'm walking the rest of the way to the Fair" but I didnt. A character flaw of mine Im sure but those of you who have seen the Tenors in action will sympathise with me. It was a struggle. As if to reward us we saw the most beautiful double rainbow of the whole trip' We even saw where the rainboe ended. No pot of gold but a serene green little valley filled with little lambies!

 

On the day of the St. Colmcille's concert we got there very early, so early we went to mass there that morning. I was so excited to see them in a church! Two of my most favorite things-my Tenors and my faith-just dont ask which one comes first!(kidding... sort of). Once again we were front row center. A few minutes before the concert was to start I noticed a stage hand seating this nice lady off to the side and gesturing towards her veiw of the stage. I couldnt help noticing that she was so far off to one side she couldnt see anything so I asked her if she wanted to sit with us up front. She was David's mom and I was glad she moved to the front because she would only have been able to see the back of his head from where she was before.

 

She was such a kind gentle person, really very sweet, and she said how her son had flown over to Scotland on his time off so he could fly with her to see this concert in Ireland and then he was going to fly back with her to Scotland before resuming the tour! How nice is that?! By now Im thinking "what is it with these guys? are European men nicer or more conciderate than their American counterparts? perhaps I should consider a change of location(lol)! But it was very cute. Once a mom, always a mom. She was saying when she saw David earlier that day she said "Oh David! youre not going to wear THAT sweater are you?" Now how many of us can hear our own moms voices echoing that?

 

She gave me an even deeper appreciation of how hard everyone works, how much personal time they sacrifice for their art. I was quietly touchedand deeply thankfulto these amazing men.

 

In front of the altar was the stage for this concert and on the stairs leading down to the congregation there were tiny tea light candles lit. The atmosphere was incredable in the church. Hushed and reverant yes but somehow to me more alive almost breathing. As the daylight faded outside the inside lighting became more dramatic and luminous. If you get the chance you should see Pats pictures he posted here. They are wonderful. They came on stage and James and Matthew recognized us and smiled hi. They sang "I'll walk with God" and the most beautiful version of "Ave Maria" with Dierdre I have ever heard in my life. Oh how I wish they would record that one. I even now months later have goosebumps just thinking of it. The last song they sang before their break was the most soul stirring showcase of their talent yet! I asked a stage hand what the name of it was and he said "Oh, I'll get you their play list that they sing off of from on stage." and get this people, he did! He even tracked me down in the confusion after the concert was over to give me the second half of the concerts playlist! Do even the people who work with the Tenors have to pass a exceptional manners class? seriously! I was not born in a barn, I am a nice person, my mom raised me well but I have never seen so many people who give so much of themselves to strangers. Maybe the advertisements about Ireland they show on t.v. are true. There are no strangers in Ireland, only friends you have not yet met! The song I loved so much was "Nessuu Dorma" and I was told that the Celtic Tenors would probably not record it because it was so popularly recorded in other areas but it is the worlds loss. Our Celtic Tenors can create such magic with "Fields of Athenry" and now that the cd is released we all know they can. And even give such a beautiful new life to "Danny Boy" as anyone who bought their "Celebrate" video can attest too. I thought singing the second verse in German was a brilliant combination on a-dare I say-slightly over sung song. So I vote let the Tenors record "Nessuu". and while I am putting together my personal wish list I will add "Amazing Grace" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" ok now I'll get off my soapbox! James dedicated "Nella" to us(thank you James). Each guy took a turn singing a duet with Dierdre. Niall sang "I could have danced all night". James sung a personal favorite "All I ask of You" from Phantom, and kissed her hand so courtly and Matthew and Dierdre did a adorable flirty "Dream a Little Dream" with whistling and hand holding at the end.

 

I was amazed as always by the sheer power and energy they pour into their art on stage. I hope I dont offend anyone but they reminded me of the time I went to see thourghobred horse racing. I love horses but it was the first time I saw them right up close as they were racing. We walked up to the final curve right before the home stretch. We waited for the horses to come and we could feel the ground shake before we saw or heard them. We heard the pounding hooves as they came and then with a burst of power they were there in front of us. It was incredable to see the effort and strain of these animals but you could see something else there too. For the first time I understood what it meant when they said a horse had "heart". A something unmeasurable but what sets them apart and makes them give all theyve got. Its not as simple as saying they are winners, no. The Tenors have "heart". The speed of "Fionn." and the songs they sing in other languages that evoke such images and emotions when you dont even know what the words mean...wow! I love "Anthem". "So Strong" fits them so well and lately especialy seeing it sung live and knowing a bit more about the history of Ireland and her people. and "The Town I Loved So Well"

 

It was a wonderful concert to see because both Matthew and Dierdre had lots of friends and family there. I believe one or both of them might have attended school there but I didnt quite hear for sure. I know they both dedicated a lot of songs to music teachers and friends. We stayed about 45 minutes after talking to various people. Niall walked up to us and said "Sorry I missed you at Killarney" What a memory he has! James asked about us missing Bantry with concern and said he had sent us a quick email. Matthew gave me a big hug then two or three more(but who's counting? wink wink) and said "You are so cuddly". He pulled both James and Niall away from other people just so we could get a picture with all three Celtic Tenors together.

 

After we got our picture taken I went back in the pews a few rows back. Pat was finalizing the digital camera and I was just basking in the glow. All of a sudden there was Matthew sitting down next to me. We had a nice chat then he calls over to his grandfather saying "I have someone I want you to meet" I start to move away until I realize he wants to introduce his grandpa to me! He told his grandpa I had m.s. just like his relative and said his grandpa was a "Matthew John" just like he was. I was very suprised because my first sons name is Matthew John Pall! After a few more minutes he was called away and then James was sitting on my other side! We were talking about our love of thunderstorms and air turbulence and such. I was so comfortable talking with them just like old friends. Yet a part of me was thinking wow! I am Cinderella at the ball! I was star sruck and wished so much my daughter and my mom who first introduced me to their music was there. Then Niall walked over and sat on the back of the pew in front of us and was asking about Chicago and the mueseums...and then he asked about my mom and how she was doing. I had told him earlier that she was ill and also had m.s. and that Niall was her favorite with his "sparkly" eyes and fun filled presence on the "celebrate" video. He was so caring and sincere about her I was touched. I kept thinking that even after the "visit with the fans" time should have been over for these guys they yet again kept giving to us. They are truely unique as performers, artists and people.

 

I am Roman Catholic and to me, my personal opinion only, seeing them in a church with the True Presence of the Lord who had given them such incredable talent will always be a highlight of my life. They have taken the God given talent and dedicated themselves with heart to perfecting their gifts. I admire them very much. May God Bless them always I pray and I hope that each man will be sucsessful yes, but also know peace and joy that comes from the love of family and friends. I hope they will recieve even a fraction back of how much they have given to their fans all over the world. Then indeed they will be truly rich!