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2009 Very long review of 3 concerts, sit down and relax

by Linda and Gary

After 2045 miles, 11 days and 3 fantastic concerts we are home. The trip had its ups and downs but we will concentrate on the ups—The Celtic Tenors!
Our friends Chuck and Judy were gracious hosts and excited in anticipation of their first Celtic Tenor concert. On Saturday evening we arrived at the beautiful Meyerson Symphony Center in the impressive city of Dallas, Texas. It opened in September 1989 at a cost of well over 10 million dollars. It boasts 4 balconies and seats 2062. If you go online you can view pictures and read things like "Quite simply, the Meyerson is one of the greatest concert halls in the world. Not only is it visually spectacular, but the hall is as close to acoustical perfection as any experienced." Behind the stage is a full size set of pipes for the pipe organ. Also, there is another balcony for patron viewing. Our indoor photos did not turn out well so I encourage you to go online if you're interested in seeing the facility.

Dallas, TX Saturday evening

On Saturday night we guessed the attendance to be at 90%. The conductor came on stage and introduced the evening's program. The first half would be the Dallas Symphony Orchestra playing 4 Mendelssohn pieces celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth. He commented that if you were not Irish now you would be by the time the second half was over and they had heard The Celtic Tenors. The Mendelssohn pieces were "War March of the Priest" from Athalia; Noturno and Wedding March from A Midnight Summer's Dream, Op.21 and finally Alegro Molto and Vivace from Concerto for violin and Orchestra in E Minor, Op.64 with a extremely talented violin soloist Gary Levinson. I had a hard time seeing his fingers as they few over the strings.

At the break the chairs were rearranged, a piano for Colm was moved in to the front of the stage and a harp was placed in the back row. The conductor and Colm came out to applause, they bowed and the orchestra started to play. The Celtic Tenors came out singing "Spanish Lady". They then introduced themselves and Colm with their traditional openings. There was a cute variation, Daryl said that all his exes lived in Texas which got a lot of laughter and applause. I believe James said not to believe him that all his exes were all over the world at which Daryl's reaction was precious. (The tilt of the head, the raised shoulders and the sheepish grin as if to say, okay, I mislead a bit!) For anyone who might not understand this remark, there is a popular song by county star George Strait by the title "All My Exes Live In Texas"

Daryl then introduced the famous Josh Groban song "You Raise me Up" to which there were audible sighs.

Matthew introduced "Fionnghuala" explaining how it was mouth music to help keep cadence when working at repetitive labor. He asked the audience to sing along if they knew it. After the first chorus he asked "have you got it?" Of course the audience laughed and they continued the song in its entirety.

Unfortunately we were so immersed in the performances that we didn't take very good notes. We can give you the play list and a few comments. The concerts were full circles. The Celtic Tenors sang masterfully which flowed into the audience creating emotions invoked by the words, tunes, rhythms and harmonies which eventually bounced back to the four performers who were exhilarated by the audience reaction. The connection was phenomenal, the better the audience reaction, the better the performance became. The Celtic Tenor's personalities permeate the music and their banter allowing for the most enjoyable time. Although we fan Club members take this for granted it allows us to be more proud of "our boys" as we hear the sighs, hand clapping, toe tapping and exuberate comments from first time concertgoers.

Now for those of you who haven't experienced the symphony accompaniment, you're in for a real treat. You can only partially feel the warmth that envelops you from the CD. The CD gives your sense pleasure but the live performance allows your soul contentment. But of course, all of the Tenors live performances are titillating!

I digress—the next songs were " I'll Tell Me Ma"; "Finnegan's Wake"; "The Town I Loved So Well" and " Nella Fantasia". The conductor put down his baton and Daryl picked up his guitar. The new album was introduced with "Hard Times".

With a change of pace Daryl introduce " Granada" written by Agustin Lara a Mexican composer who never stepped foot in Spain.

The next two songs "Anthem" and "A Love So Beautiful" (at which Gary always melts into a puddle of warmth) received appropriate applause.

The conductor's baton was laid to rest again with Daryl's guitar accompaniment to "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere". Matthew always keeps a nice pace with his egg shaker.

An explanation of a yearning for home and the theft from the Scots preceded the lovely "Caledonia"

The peppy "Whiskey In A Jar" was followed by the a cappella "Danny Boy". Our Friend Chuck mastered the 4/2 clapping and declared these two songs his favorites.

James introduced their last "official' song for the evening "Remember Me" with their traditional heartfelt dedication to those serving away from home.

Of course, the standing ovation produced the finger-raising question, one more? After abundant applause and cheers the question, do you want to sing along? A loud yes from the audience and the announcement, okay we're going to sing opera. I think the Tenors love doing "Nessun Dorma" as much as the audience enjoys it. One poor soul always over shoots the "ahhing" just a wee bit allowing the Tenors the fun lines of admonishment and comedic routine. Another round of explosive applause and a second encore was given. "A Time To Say Goodbye" complete with roses was performed.

It was now time for the meet and greet in the foyer. There was a young family who were completely enamored with the four performers. I didn't catch the two young girls names but I did hear James say how lovely their names were. The young boy's name was Amadeus and James commented that he had never met a person with that name.

I believe all the Remember Me CD's sold out this evening.

Chuck, Judy and Gary and I had not planned on attending the Sunday afternoon performance. Our friends enjoyed them so much and we had a chance to get tickets so we jumped on it. There were tickets still available, I'm sure because it was a holiday weekend and people were away.

Dallas, TX Sunday Afternoon

Sunday's performance varied a little. There was no one in the balcony behind the stage and I believe very few people in the fourth balcony. The crowd was older and we feared might be somewhat subdued. The lady next to Gary was a little stiff but on the whole the audience was very receptive. The first eleven songs were the same with the omission of "Finnegan's Wake". In place of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" we heard "Holy City" which was very appreciated by the audience. Next was "Caledonia" and then "Finnegan's Wake". I'm sure they did that just to keep me on my toes. "Whiskey In A Jar" and Danny Boy" were not performed much to Chuck's chagrin. He was so pleased with himself that he had perfected the clapping sequence. The a cappella song performed was "Shenandoah". The last "official" song of the afternoon was "Remember Me". Once again we had the double encore and we tried for a third but failed. An "impromptu" rendition of "Danny Boy" was announced for the foyer. What a sneaky way to get people to stay. And it worked, about 60 people hung around just for the song. The Tenors had redeemed themselves in Chuck's eyes. Of course there were others to CD signing.

I do have to tell you about "Nessun Dorma" on Sunday afternoon. We all expect someone to slip and sing past the cutoff. Well, to the Tenor's surprise the soprano who sang past the cutoff kept going and finished the sequence---not only once but twice. They were astounded. After the second soprano attempt James just said, "do whatever".

Salina, KS Tuesday Evening

>From the modern Dallas we arrived at the majestic Stiefel Theatre. We almost kept our attendance a surprise until curtain time, As the Tenors were having dinner a print ad was shown to them. Tthe ad says "We are traveling 10 hours to come see the Celtic Tenors. Gary Peterson". Well, so much for the surprise. At least I know that our co-conspirator didn't leak a word. James shame on you for saying your MD is a liar. How can you lie if you're not asked the correct question? Colm did let them listen to the radio spot after the show.

Being the testimonials for The Celtic Tenors is great fun but I felt that we upstaged them a bit. When Jane Gates came on stage to thank the sponsors (the theater is not for profit and relies solely on donations and sponsorships) we were introduced as the couple who came from Illinois and were asked to stand. Talk about a surprise!

The Tenors had the Salina crowd in the palms of their hands the whole evening. Gary being the only male in the first row got a kick out of watching the ladies reactions. Sharon a lovely blind lady who sat next to Gary asked him to nudge her when it was time to stand. She didn't want to stand at the wrong time. Susie a lady to my left was kind and gave us her copy of the print ad. I can only assume she brought it to be autographed and gave it up to the crazy people who travel so far. The Salina, Kansas people were so friendly and made us feel very welcomed.

Now pay attention, as the Stiefel concert was completely different from the Dallas concerts, definitely more intimate.

The opening number was Colm playing his solo of "Remember Me". I so want to have a mirror behind him in order to watch his fingers caress the keys. He then went into "Spanish Lady " and the lads came in . They introduced themselves and there was no teasing about Matthew's parents writing and coloring in the Book of Kells. When Daryl introduced himself he mentioned that he had forgot his red shoes, which went right over everyone's heads. When he said "Toto are we in Kansas?" everyone laughed then knowing that he was referring to the Ruby Red Slippers in the Wizard of Oz..

The same sigh of pleasure and "that's my favorite" comments were heard at the introduction of "You Raise Me Up" and loud applause at its completion.

Laughter ensued "Finnegan's Wake". The same invitation to sing along with "Fionnghula" was given and the laughter after the first chorus when the audience knew they wouldn't be able to accomplish it.

Next was the "Holy City" with the audience singing the chorus. It was followed by tremendous applause.

When the Tenors were in Nashville they were told they should meet a guy named Yusuf. When they did he turned out to be the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens. He commented that they should sing one of his songs. Well they did and the Stiefel Theatre heard the debut of "Silent Sunlight". I will print the words at the end of the review. You're all going to love it!

Colm, Matthew and James left the stage. Daryl seated at the piano played and sang "How Great Thou Art". Once again the audience was encouraged to sing the chorus. He had to take several bows at the thunderous applause.

With all back on stage we heard "Irish Rover".

It was now time to introduce their fifth and very different album. We were entertained with "Hard Times"; "Four Strong Winds" and "Shenandoah". The later was sung with microphones and Gary was very surprised. The first half of the concert ended with "Remember Me".
During intermission we had several people come to talk to us about our special entertainers and even asked if they had a website, Someone said that they wanted to join the fan club but we didn't get her name. Thank goodness no one asked for out autographs, we certainly wouldn't want to upstage them again! LOL

"Grenada" was the first song of the second set and the playful boys showed off their dancing techniques--whoa, was it time to giggle!

The ever-emotional "Bring Him Home" was next and one of my personal favorites. It's all I can do to keep my eyes from leaking.

Now it was time to hear about Tenors who do not drink but was urged to drink Tequila to loosen up there performance of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhwere". (According to Matthew now known as the party track).

Everyone but James left the stage and he introduced and performed "Come What May" at the piano. What a lovely song.

The Jimmy McCarthy "The Mad Lady And Me" was preceded with an explanation likening the composer `s music to Picasso's art, a little out there.

Matthew's solo of "Fearless Love" was dedicated to his wonderful wife Celestine.

The playful "Whiskey In A Jar" really didn't need much instruction, the crowd caught on quickly.

When Daryl introduced "Caledonia" he might have said something about not keeping in contact with family. Matt piped up with" I keep in touch with mine" and the house roared.

When "I'll Tell Me Ma" was introduced they said our equivalent was probably I'll Tell My Mom. Daryl quipped that's as bad as Tom Cruise's bad Irish accent in Far and Away. Again there was laughter.

The a cappella "Danny Boy" was followed by a doubly tremendous applause. James uttered "we could get addicted to Stiefel" and one of the other guys commented something like that's not a very subtle hint for an invitation back.

The boys now started saying their many thank yous and Matt their road manager is always included. This trip he was not a taxidermist but a baker. I believe it's Daryl who always refers to Matt's home town of Fargo, ND as the Riviera of Canada which again gets chuckles. They also announced their PBS Special which would be coming out the first of the year and for everyone to look for it and pledge for evermore. The CD sales after the concert were announced and they said that they didn't want to take any home.

"A Time To Say Goodbye" complete with rose deliveries was the last song of the set.

The Salina audience did stand for one encore, which of course was "Nessun Dorma". Surprisingly, NO ONE slipped and uttered one syllable too much and deprived the Tenors of their comedic routine.

I think most of the 700 in attendance went to check out the Tenors at the meet and greet. It being a small area some slipped away without talking to one of them. I talked to a lady who had received a rose. She and her friends were about to leave. I asked if they had gone in. They thought it was too crowded. They asked me what the CD was like and I told them that they had hear a lot of the songs at this performance. She told her lady friends that she would be right back. She went back to purchase a CD and had it autographed.

When the crowd thinned out we delivered James the bag of birthday gifts and wishes. We all sang Happy Birthday. As he tried to hide behind a pillar he mumbled that he doesn't have birthdays anymore. He was told it is all about the presents! I believe he was genuinely surprised and secretly pleased.

In closing of this very long review, I must say the Salina audience was very appreciative and showed it through applause. I do know that the Stiefel Theatre director, Jane Gates, was planning to "talk up" The Celtic Tenors at the convention she was leaving for the very next day.

As promised the lyrics to Silent Sunlight

Silent sunlight, welcome in there is work I must now begin
All my dreams have blown away and the children wait to play
They'll soon remember things to do when the heart is young and the night is done
And the sky is blue

Morning songbird, sing away lend a tune to another day
your wings and choose a roof sing a song of love and truth
We'll soon remember if you do when all things were tall and our friends were small
And the world was new horses, heave away put your backs to the golden hay
Don't ever look behind at the work you've done for the work has just begun
There'll be the evening in the end but till that time arrives
You can rest your eyes and begin again.