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2008-02-12 Cuijk

reviewed by Veronika

It was lovely, what else does anyone expect from me? The moment I sit down in my chair before a CT concert and look at the (empty) stage I always feel GRAND!, because I know that the next two hours will bring all the best of emotions, joy and happiness that music can bring. And it is served with all the warmhearting charmes and charisma, the little jokes and the teasing we all love so well, all the serious and the funny irish stories, but never too serious and never coarse, all the eye-twinkling good humour and all the good familiar smiles.This is, roughly said, the spititual parcel I took home again yesterday from Cuijk, but let me unwrap it and show you some of the jewels I found inside:

Many new faces and loads of new songs! A rendezvous of 'First Times' in a familiar situation: My first time for winning tickets and being on a guest - list, exciting enough, and Matt, the tour manager and Mr. Nelson himself taking care of us at the box-office! Matt is a very imposing and monumental man. He was so helpful. I would not like to have him against me, no wonder the lads say nothing but flattering things about him in their thank-you in the show! You should see his hands! Sheltering Shoulders should be his name if he was an Indian Chief, but back to the dutch tour......

The lights turned on when we met James before the show, it is always enlightening to see James , but to see him unexpectedly was a real great pleasure after one whole year, and my heart did a big jump!

They started the show with 'I tell me Ma' which I had heard last year for the first time, so it was rather 'fresh' for me. It is a good starter music to take you right into the middle of the feast, and as the words are not so important I had a chance to cast an eye on the new musicians, Colm and Robbie, who were First Fimes for me as well.For all I know they did not have a long time to practise and rehearse all the music, so it was all the more stunning how they harmonised with the boys. I had so far never seen the CT without David Munroe, and Colm does so well, extremely concentrated and so agreeable. He chatted with me after the concert and I found that he is not only a good musician but also a really friendly young man, working on his talents, so excited still to work with the Celtic Tenors, yes, I have become a big fan of Colm, and I hope the tentacles of Heather's summeries will let him know. It is always fascinating for me to see young people developping and making something of their lives, and this is what goes for Donna as well! Hearing and watching her was also a first time for me, and I was very much taken in by her beautiful voice, her stage presence at this young age, and her natural way of acting in and after the show. I also had the chance to chat a little with her and have my Donna CD signed, which is OOOOOO so lovely, and I adore especially her versions of Song for Ireland, The Connemarra Cradle song, and Laudate Dominum! So beautiful! And another tentacle could whisper this to Donna, I do not know if she has a homepage or a guestbook where I could leave a message for her.

Song for Ireland was the second song. I had heard it only once back in 2003 in The Gaiety sung by Deirdre.It is soo beautiful, and exactly the sort of song that makes me melt away, yet yesterday I was not able to enjoy it really, because these nasty little raspy, scratchy warriors attacked my throat and all through the song I was in panic and trying to swallow, not cough, breathe gently, not disturb until the sweat was running down my face!!! I was almost in tears! But after that it all went better, maybe it was just the price I had to pay? I fought down the little beasts and could really enjoy the rest of the songs before the Interval, which were

Finnegan's Wake - You raise me up- An Cailin Rua- The Holy City- Ave Maria-O mIo Bambino Caro-Libiamo-In the Gloaming(a capella) and Remember Me.I enjoyed all these songs so much, no matter how often I had heard them. But with only one concert a year you are starving, aren't you? The Holy City was I think my favourite in the first half, and I absolutely love the perfect Os and As that Matthew's lips are shaping in HOsiannah!!!!! I am sure ST. Peter up in heaven has a cloud reserved for Matthew to sing these Hosiannahs for eternity -hopefully starting many many many years from now!!!!! We still need him for the next 80 years or so.

By the way I was wondering if - when the lads are telling how they represent the north and south, the protestant and catholic parts of Ireland- are their black and silver ties indicating who is catholic and who is protestant:-)))?

Rianne had kindly reserved a copy of Donna's album which I collected during the interval, and after a refreshing copje coffie the second half started! I went to sit further back next to my hubby, the audience was only very small, about 230 or so, and the air was much better in row 15 or so......and it was indeed lovely to see the whole picture of the lads from another point of view and alas, I finally saw the beautiful shining tenor shoes!!!!!

After 'So strong', a rather rock version, I enjoyed 'Bring him home', (one of my favourites now!), and then 'Ten Thousand Tears 'was announced and, oh, oh, oh, it was dedicated to Helmut and myself which of course brought me into tears yet not ten thousand. It was so beautiful to hear it live, and the Butterfly part must be so difficult to sing!! 'Katie' and 'Summertime' by Donna, then 'The Mad Lady and me' were to follow, all new songs for me, so I was listening very concentratedly, 'An Porc Ar Buile' for relaxing, and so funny in all the facal expressions and gestures, very welcome! ' Caledonia' of course alone is worth the coming and a treat over and over again, and it was me who clapped hands as it was announced.'Whiskey in The Jar', 'All out of Love'(where flowers were handed out to some lucky ladies) and then sad enough and much too soon, 'Time to say good-bye'.

The encores 'Nessun Dorma' went well with the rather small choir and a man from the audience asked where the 'lady' was, and Daryl answered that in the opera at this stage the lady was usually dead. James said he 'd love to talk to everyone after the show, for half an hour, Matthew cut down his granted time to 10 minutes, and Daryl said he'd appreciate no chatting, no eye-contact, just kissing! He said this in dutch, but the kissing part was in a very funny accent, and sounded like the german 'kuscheln' which means 'cuddling' and a bit like the french 'coucher' and well, I leave this up to your imagination now.....

Danny Boy , a capella and without microphone was the last part, and, for Helmut, the most beautiful!! It was most beautiful for me as well, but all the other songs were most beautiful, too. I can never decide which is a favourite, they all are, because my concert vists are so rare!!

After the show I chatted with Donna and Colm, just a few words with Robbie, who's guitar play was very good, and his was special to watch with all the funny faces he was making, I chatted for quite a while with Matthew and James, and James asked me twice, if I really enjoyed the show! I did, James, I did, and if you know me a little by now, you know I am very quiet after a show and have to let it all 'go down inside'. I always feel with speaking too soon the magic goes away too soon ..... Anyway the concert was magic, so sad, Andrea could not come, and I hope you are better now, Andrea. The rest of my flu 'flew' away, and this morning I found myself with lots of energy again. Just had to clean a couple of windows before writing this report, and only John might understand......it is the Eunice in me, what can I do?

Last but not least it was lovely to chat with Rianne at the bar before the show, and you are doing such a great job at the merchandise every night, all in your free time!

I wish James, Matthew and Daryl, Donna, Colm and Robbie and the Big Chief Matt all good luck and success for the remaining dutch shows, and safe travels and all the very best for the US tour. Thanks for the priviledge of being on a guest list, thanks for dedicating Ten Thousand Tears to us, and maybe in the next quiz I win a phone call again and one of you guys sings just one verse of 'Song for Ireland' over the air, then my world would be perfect again until the next concert, wistfully anticipated by

your very big old fan
Veronika