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2008-01/02 Eindhoven, Hoogeveen, Den Helder, Zaandam

reviewed by Anja

Eindhoven was the first concert for me after Amsterdam last August - so quite a while since I last saw the guys and I was looking forward to the concert a lot.

After a light dinner we headed off to the concert venue to pick up our tickets. We were lucky to be seated in row 9 which was one of the first ones ascending so the stage view was simply great.

The guys opend with "I'll tell my ma" and the audience was clapping along from the very first moment. This one is really good to open a show as up-tempo numbers are always good to "get" the crowed.

It was the very first time I heard the CT version of "Song for Ireland" and I first wasn't sure about this. I have heard this song so many times from so many different artists that I wasn't sure if I really wanted to hear a CT version of this.... not that I don't like the song I just love to hear them singing songs I didn't know before.... but I must admit after those four concerts I really like their version :-) It has beautiful harmonies and that is what makes the Celtic Tenors so very special.

"Finnegan's Wake" was new to me as well - of course, as they just started to include this to their repertoire.... I am not such a fan of those "drinking songs" - but hey, this one is a lot better than Wild Rover *lol*. I wish you guys would try to do "The night that Paddy Murphy died" by Canadian group Great Big Sea... that's a drinking song as well and would cover the "Celtic" aspect in a nice way... okay... enough of my little hints and wishes :-)

"You raise me up" was beautiful as always and many people told me how much they love the Celtic Tenors version because of the harmonies and the beauty of their voices and I can only agree. I guess it's one of the songs it's hard to get tired of....

"An Cailin Rua" has to go onto the next recording. It is such a beautiful little tune and again the harmonies are stunning. I just love this song and especially the guitars :-) So please... next hint... DO record this tune!

"Pie Jesu"... OMG what can I say... this is one of the most stunning songs I have heard, the high note Donna starts with is amazing and it's full of what I like best... harmonies sung by beautiful voices. I always find it amazing how you can sound out the different tenor voices when you close your eyes and how they combine the sound itensity with harmonies and anthem. Again... all I can say is please record this!!!

"Libiamo" has opera character - not only that is is an operatic Aria out of "La Traviata" but Donna is also playing around and fooling with the guys - well done! Please keep this in the show, from the reactions of the people around us everyone enjoyed this little operatic touch!

Donna's first solo piece "O Mio Babbino Caro" is a quality of its own. I was stunned when I heard this two years ago from that young lady who was 18 that time. Now her voice has grown even more mature and beautiful if that is possible. She is such a stunning young soprano - both in looks and vocally! I can only recommend to get her album, it has many beautiful tunes including my favourite operatic aria....

No words needed for "Still by your side" as it has always been one of my favourite tunes on We are not Islands/Remember Me. Again this is a piece that many people are looking for when they first saw the guys in concert. Not only that it touches the people from the singing but also from the lyrics.

One of my non-favs was next "The Irish Rover". I know there have to be up-tempo numbers and I know nearly everyone loves these songs but it's just not my style of songs... Nothing to complain about voice quality of course, just a very personal feeling of like and dislike.

I was so happy to hear "In the gloaming" was back on the song list. I remember the guys doing this at their first German tour and I love, love, love the harmonies and the a capella singing! Pure voices is all I need to be happy! Well done and hope to hear more of this in the future.

Okay... the last song in the first half was "Remember Me"... no more words about this one as it's the one song I could easily do without... again, very personal feeling here. The quality of the singing is out of request but I am just tired of this song.

The guys opened with "The Holy City" in Eindhoven, Hoogeveen and Den Helder. I think it's a brilliant song for the Celtics and I really missed it in Zaandam when it disappeared from the song list :-( Really wouldn't mind to have this back...

One of my all-time-favourites was back - "So Strong". I think this is by far the best up-tempo number for the guys, it's easy for the audience to clap along and now with James' Kenya project gets a new meaning. It's such a nice version the guys do with only piano and guitar and Robbie did a fantastic job here! One of the highlights for me.

"Ten Thousand Tears" with Donna is simply stunning and world class. Another one that could have 45 verses and I still would not be bored!

Next song was "Ave Maria" from Caccini which is featured on Donna's album in a solo version. The four of them sung the most beautiful version of this, again a masterpiece of harmonies and vocals. I wonder how this would sound in a church....

Donna's second solo, "Katie", is another Jimmy McCarthy song. I really adore his songs and I think they are not only wonderful for the guys but also for Donna. Lady you are a lot better than Mary Black with that one! And she will never have such high class backing singers :-)

"The Mad Lady and Me" which is another Jimmy McCarthy song, was dedicated to me and Beate in Eindhoven and the guys mentioned the Web Award telling people they would still have 24 hours to vote - how cute was that. Thank you guys, not only for mentioning this on stage but also for another highlight of that evening! The song is wonderful and I can't wait to hear more Jimmy McCarthy tunes sung by my favourite (Celtic) Tenors! Hope the Cappucino radio show is available online soon so I can listen to this again.

Les Miserables is for sure one of the most beautiful musicals and "Bring him home" is one of the highlights. The version the guys sing is - again - full of harmonies and one of my favourites.

The "Goat section" is reduced to "An poc ar buile" only now. I love a capella and I love Gaelic so hey, how could I not love this one!

When I read the NCH reviews last December I was sad to see my all time favourite "Caledonia" had gone. Dougie Mac Lean is a brilliant songwriter and he has many more wonderful tunes but Caledonia has a special meaning for me. Whenever I hear this song I see pictures of Scotland - Loch Lomond, the Isle of Skye, Glen Nevis, Loch Ness... and memories come back.... so I was so very happy to see the return of my favourite song. Thank you guys, whatever made you change your minds, I am happy to have this back....

"Whiskey in the Jar" is non of my favourite tunes but I guess it has to be in the show - this is the one tune everyone around the world does know and everyone - okay, sort of everyone - knows how to clap along. And so did the audiences every night and the guys had much applause!

Coming to the end of the show it was "All out of love" that stunned the people in each single show. The crowed in Eindhoven went completely mad and stood on their feet to the end of the song and the guys had a huge, well deserved rousing applause. I can only imagine how difficult and draining this must be for the guys - all the high notes - but it always leaves me speechless. I only wish we would have a recording of this without Air Supply....

Finally it was "Time to Say Goodbye" - with backing tracks in Eindhoven but only accompanied by piano and guitar the following nights. Colm seemed to have worked on this and boy, this is so much better. Again Miss Malone did a terrific job. I really can't mention often enough how beautiful her voice is! Another highlight of Time to say goodbye is the perfect high end note Daryl sings - and Daryl, my dear, it sounded like you even hit the "E" in Zaandam! I really prefer having your high notes in "suitable" music. I loved the Soprano B flat in Paddy Mc Ginty but I fear not many people realised the quality of that as it was a funny song.

Encores were "Nessun Dorma" (and the Eindhoven choir leading the Dutch competition until the day we left, not sure if they are still in the lead??) and Danny Boy in Eindhoven. It was Shenandoah in Hoogeveen and Den Helder if I remember right and only Nessun Dorma in Zaandam.

We went on to Hoogeveen the next day. We had been to that venue the year before and knew where to stay and - even more important - where the theater was. Nothing outstanding happening that day apart from the fact that we got the news of winning the award ;-) shortly after 7 when voting ended Beate called a German friend to find out if we won and as she said we were over the moon to hear we really did win. Okay, thanks to you all who kept voting and voting and voting there was a good winning margin but still... I can tell you we were dead nervous! Again the guys were nice enough to mention this on stage (dedicating An poc ar buile to us). Again, thank you guys for your kindness.

Beate and I had the most funny moment when we went to McDonalds after the Hoogeveen show - the restaurant was closed but the drive-in was still open. So we walked into the drive-in trying if we would be lucky placing an order. The lady took our order and said "Now please drive... excuse me... walk... to the first window to pay!".... that really was hilarious....

On to Den Helder the next day but first it was down to Zaandam as we had decided to stay there for two nights. Driving down along the Ijsselmeer was horried - the side winds were mad and we were happy to got to Zaandam in one piece. My tiny little car is not very heavy so we were shaken every time a lorry passed on the opposite lane...

It only took us an hour to go up to Den Helder and unfortunately it was still windy and a rainy so we could not walk along the seaside. We went to town instead having a lovely lunch and headed off to the theater. Lovely crowed that night with friendly people and the most adoring dog (Scottish Border Collie). We met a couple who were particulary interested in James' folder as they had been living in Kenya for some years. I hope they did talk to you after the show, James! It's great to have the Kenya folder at the merch table and Matt and Daryl and James do a good job drawing the attention to the wonderful work James does. Many people were interested in Cheryl's Childeren and asked for the web address.... you might hear of some of the people, James.... I hope you will get a nice amount of donations during the tour.

We went for a short shopping / sightseeing trip to Amsterdam the next day as it's only 10 minutes by train and we had the whole day until the evening concert. Like James I love Amsterdam. It is for sure the European city I could live in and the one I will return to on a regular base.

But now to the extras from the Zaandam concert and the glowing sticks.... I had seen some of these glowing sticks which you bend and shake to make them glow in a shop in Germany. We had used those during the very first German tour in 2002 and I thought they might be nice for Matt's birthday. So the five of us (Rianne, Gabi, Klaus, Beate and myself) each took two of the sticks to wave during All out of Love.... and yes Gabi I am still laughing when I remember how you got your stick to glow... The guys seemed to like that as well and now one package of sticks is owned by a tenor....

I can only second what James said - the venues in the Netherlands are wonderful and clean, friendly people and I, too enjoy the tours of the Netherlands and will continue to attend... but... hmmm... any Germany concert at the horizon????!!!!!
I think that is all I can remember right now...

Will add everything that comes to my mind but hope you will enjoy this personal review...