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2008-07-26 St. Patrick's Hall, Lordship Co. Louth

reviewed by Beate

It’s fair to say that the concert last Saturday was really special to me – I think it was the closest concert I ever attended around the time of my birthday! So I was really looking forward to it, and I was in really good spirits on the way up to Co. Louth!

St. Patrick’s Hall is a fairly new building and is (from what I could gather) doubling as a community and a sports center. The venue was fairly big with rows and rows of chairs – it must have taken the organisers quite a long time to set this up! and it was decorated very lovely with flowers.

There was a string quartet playing in the entrance lobby, and a raffle sale was going on, and it was all very lively. Also, the venue filled pretty quickly and there weren’t many free seats left once the concert started!

The concert started with "I’ll tell me Ma" and people were clapping along enthusiastically. Lordship isn’t too far from the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, so the words preceding the next song – Matthew’s introduction to "Song for Ireland" – somehow seemed to be even more poignant than in other venues. "Finnegan’s Wake" followed suit, then "An poc are buile" (with a little Irish banter between the tenors before the song), and "The holy city". Donna joined them for "Nella Fantasia", before doing her solo, "O mio babbino caro". The tenors then joined her back on stage for "Libbiamo", with all the usual teasing and acting going on!

Next was what James called the Irish premier of a few songs from their new album, with Daryl playing the guitar: "Four Strong Winds", Eric Clapton’s "Lay down Sally", and Stephen Foster’s "Hard Times". I’ve never heard the latter one in a fast version before – I think by nature it’s a slow and plaintive song, but the tempo is something different indeed. Very enjoyable!

The first half of the concert then finished with "Remember me".

After the interval, the second half started off with "Bring him home", followed by "A love so beautiful" and two more songs from the new album list, Bob Dylan’s "You ain’t going nowhere" and another lovely song titled "Marie". Donna then joined the tenors for the "Ave Maria", before doing another solo, "Summertime".

The tenors came back with "The mad lady and me" (thanks for the dedication guys – loved it!), "Caledonia", and "Whiskey in the jar". For the next song, they actually let the audience decide what we wanted to hear, and in a choice between "Danny Boy" and "Shenandoah", the latter one won hands down. In fact, the applause for "Shenandoah" was almost double as loud! And to make it extra special, the tenors put the mikes down and did an acoustic version....

After that, it was "Time to say goodbye", much too soon as usual, and as the applause wouldn’t end, they did "Nessun Dorma" (including the singing lesson) as an encore.

The meet and greet afterwards took place in the upstairs bar, a little unusual, but it was great to see that most people made their way upstairs and that a line was forming on the bar door to get CDs and DVDs signed.

All in all, a lovely night and the trip was well worth it!