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June 2019
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2003-04-10 Tallaght

reviewed by Brid


Just back from the airport after seeing Cassie off on her flight to Germany. I thought I'd pop in here and share a few words. It's about time I wrote a review of one these wonderful Celtic Tenors concerts I'm so privileged to see. Cassie has done such a great job of the Wexford weekend that I can't top that. Instead, I'd like to share my experiences of the Tallaght concert on 10th April 2003.


That concert got off to a really great start - I was late!!!! There was a big social thing on at work that I wanted to attend and being a mere mortal, I couldn't be in two places at once. I arrived half-way through the opening number and got inside the door just as James was singing his part of Mull of Kintyre. I hope I didn't disturb him. Being late, I had to settle for a seat in the darkness at the back for the whole of the first half. Actually, there was something lovely about sitting there in the semi-darkness, on my own, listening to those wonderful voices singing those great songs.


Next up was the Spannish Lady / Marie's Wedding combo - a nice one to get the toes tapping and the audience involved. That was followed by a lively rendition of the Irish Rover - "I've been a wild rover for many a year and I spent all my money on whiskey and beer"!!! An interesting lifestyle to be sure!! James slowed things down for us with a beautiful Green Fields of France - a poignant song at the best of times but particularly so given current events in Iraq and elsewhere. A theme picked up elsewhere in the show with the touching and beautifully sung Derry Air. Being in a fortunate position to meet people from all over the world in my job, I've heard many different perspectives on this war but I still can't help thinking that there must have been a better way.


Now, at the risk of making myself unpopular, I must reveal a little secret. When I first heard Fionnghuala I really wasn't too keen. No, no, please read on. The newer softer version that the guys do is charming. It really is lovely and still retains the mouthmusic concept.


Darling Cassie just melted away when Matthew dedicated the Contender to her. Was it my imagination of were Niall and James stifling yawns (or were they giggling?) when Matthew was doing his intro. Tsk tsk tsk - poor guys don't like the limelight being taken from them, lol!!! Niall was joined by the gorgeous, funny and charming Deirdre G for The last rose of summer. Being stuck at the back meant that I missed all the great facial expressions for La Danza (mamma mia, mamma mia) - but there will always be a next time!


Now for some sincere praise indeed, the 3 tenors (Domingo, Pavi etc) have bought Nessun Dorma to a whole new audience and almost made it their signature tune but I really prefer our guys version. I really like how their very different voices gel and contribute to the overall effect. 'A love so beautiful' is arguably my favourite track on the So Strong CD (though, to be fair, aren't they are all favourites). Sitting in the shadows at the back has its advantages and that's all I'm saying on that!!!


Part two began with the Guys and Dolls number 'Sit down, you're rocking the boat', a nice-fun number kicked into gear so well by Niall. Then Deirdre and Matthew 'Dreamed a little dream'. This isn't on the albums so for anyone who hasn't heard it, phone up DHL (the courier company) when they're really busy and have them put you on hold for ages. The original version of this duet comes on, and then imagine the wonderful voices of Matthew and Deirdre singing it, ambling around the stage, arm-in-arm, whistling bits and pieces - charming, charming, charming. Deirdre gave us the Bernstein / Sondheim West Side Story 'Somewhere' - another favourite song of mine. Were the audience spoilt for beautiful music or what???


As regards the music listings from my trip to Cologne last November, the one that really stuck out was Niall's Moulin Rouge. From being blown away and almost jumping right out of my seat at the first bars by Niall's tremendous voice right through to the rousing finale - this was hairs lifting on the back of the neck stuff. 'My gift is my song, and this one's for you' - thank you Niall for giving us this gift of your voice.


Caledonia reminded us of the lovely Anja. We thought on her sitting here before the fire, the empty room, the forest choir. being drawn to her beloved Scotland. The harmonies on Danny Boy are breath-taking. This is arguably the most well-known of all Irish songs and every school-kid is compelled to learn it. As such there is a sense of associated 'over-play' but when the Celtic Tenors sing it ... The Phil Coulter number Remember Me evokes similar feelings, and shows off the fine vocal talents of Niall / Matthew and James.


The show was wrapped up with Irelands call (a rugby theme, now I wonder what other rugby themes the guys could come up with for new CD!!!???). The Galway Bay parody was the very final item. The audience loved the ideas in this, and I loved watching the audience loving it. I think Maeve has posted a version of the words of this in the club so for anyone who has joined since, hopefully it can be retrieved from the archives.


Final words must be reserved for Phil The Fluther's Ball - what a truly great show-piece. This is a number written donkey's years back (i.e. a long time ago!!!) by the mega-talented Percy French and has delighted audiences for generations. It just never ages. No matter how many times you hear it, being performed well it's a joy to behold. Niall, Matthew and James were well up to the task. There was much interaction with the audience and many a member felt they were indeed the 'pride of Pethravore' on being flashed a wink and a grin from Niall. Now, as to James' Widow McCafferty ... oh dear, oh dear oh dear, I just don't have the words. The facial expressions and stage movements were wonderful and the finale - the expression 'sometimes any words will fit any tune' come to mind.


There you go, folks - a lovely night with Cassie and Sandra watching the one and only Celtic Tenors having a ball. They are not just singers, they are performers!!! The guys enjoy themselves, and ah heck, I'll say it, all three of them are easy on the eye as well;) it's such a pleasure to just sit there and be entertained. Hip hip horray for the Celtic Tenors.


Love from the Emerald Isle