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2010-08-19 Chicago

reviewed by Linda and Gary

 
The four of us, Gary and Linda and Linda's parents Don and Thelma arrived early to check out the theater and pick up our tickets. We learned that there was currently a Lincoln Exhibit and a black and white photography exhibit. We would check those out later. We walked acroos the street to eat at Leona's an Italian Restaurant. Two ladies arriving after us looked very familiar. On our way out I should have stopped at their table. It turned out to be Sue and Emily.

The Beverly Arts Center of Chicago located in Chicago's historic Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood is a multidisciplinary cultural center offering classes in art, music, dance, and theater; rotating exhibitions of contemporary art; and one of the most dynamic performing arts programs in the city. Building on a history that spans more than 30 years, the new 40,000 square foot facility will distinguish the BAC as an outstanding resource for the visual and performing arts. The arts complex provides space for programs, a 410-seat main stage and smaller studio/black box theater, dance studio, art gallery, music studios and art classrooms, a cafe and gift shop, garden courtyard for special events, and landscaped parking for 100 cars. Throughout the year, the Beverly Art Center presents rotating exhibitions of contemporary art in our spectacular new 2nd floor art gallery. These exhibits are free and open to the public.

Replete with fine food we walked back to the theater and went up to the balcony to check it out. Colm was crossing the stage so we gave him a shout out. After a short chat we went to the gallery to view the photography exhibit. To our surprise James greeted us there. It was 7:00 but to our Irishmen it was 1:00 am. They had arrived late the night before and their internal clocks had not adjusted to North American time yet.

About 7:15 we went to the foyer to watch for other fan club members to arrive. Sue and Emily were the first ones to arrive and I felt silly not approaching them in the restaurant. The last time we had seen them was February 2008. Maggie Mae and entourage arrived and were followed by Tom and family. It was so nice meeting and chatting with other enthusiasts. Finally Karen, Pat, Laurielei and Linda arrived and were sitting in the front row with us.

The doors didn't open until after 8:00 which of course in 2:00 am in Ireland. After we were seated a Beverly spokesman came on stage to tou the Center and its services and to promote upcoming events. We felt he was on stage a bit too long. Finally he said enjoy the show. We thought it quite odd not to hear The Celtic Tenors being introduced.

The four guys came onto a dark stage and when the lights came on we heard "I'll Tell Me Ma" The Tenors then introduced themselves with the shortened version with no joking. Daryl introduced "You Raise Me Up" to a n audience sighing AAHH. Matthew went into a lengthy, very funny explanation of "Finnegan's Wake" He certainly got a good reaction from the audience. From there was a change in tempo and genre when we heard "Ag Crist an Siol" and another quick turn to the tongue-tying "Fionnghuala." A very loud Brava Belissimo came from the back of the theater after hearing "Funiculi Funicula." The audience was asked to sing along with "The Holy City." I know for sure the first row did. Everyone left the stage but Daryl. He picked up his guitar and sang "Better" a song written by Ton Baxter. It is a lovely song and as Daryl sang I was reminded of Roy Orbison. Daryl had the same quality as Orbison's classic ballads and special ring in his voice. I'm really not sure how to put it into words; it was just a strong feeling. After the concert I told Daryl how I felt and hoped he would be offended. With a look of surprise he said why no that is a compliment. Whew, I'm not in the doghouse. Now for another first, we got to hear "Feels Like Home" another Randy Newman hit. This love song was made more special by the blending of voices our Tenors possess. James commented that back in Ireland they were having a little thing called a recession. He thought that of course the rest of the world would not know what it was. The next song was dedicated to Ireland's recession. Of course, the audience chuckled when Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" was introduced. "Shenandoah" was again introduced as "Danny Boy's" equivalent in the US. We were surprised that they didn't lay down their microphones but suspected that the acoustics were not great in the block cement walls. Colm did sit this one out. This was one of Linda's Dads favorites along with Danny Boy. The perfectly acted and sung "Lay Down Sally'" was uproariously accepted by the audience and especially by one single lady who was wooed by James. I believe the lady was in Maggie Mae's party. Remember Me" was introduced as usual and the last number of the first set. In the new 17 page biographical program, Phil Coulter has a quote on the introductory page saying "The Celtic Tenors&&who sang this song first!" By the way, this was the unveiling of the full color brochure, which is very impressive. It has an explanation of what is a Celt, a history of the CT's and individual bios of each as well as some great photos of the Lads. We hope they sold lots of them in Milwaukee.

Each Tenor entered alone at the back of the stage and stepped forward spaced as if in a wedding march they were singing "Anthem" along the way. We thought this was a nice touch. Wow another song we had not heard, Richard Thompson's "The Dimming of the Day." We wish we knew how they can pick out such enjoyable songs and arrange them to suit their voices. To the surprise of the audience Matthew introduced a Bob Dylan song. Who would have thought tenors would do such a thing. "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was a hit. We were happy they were able to get three "Hard Times" tunes into the performance. It was then that James welcomed the fan club. We almost had the front row filled and several seats spread through out. James said that there were so many that he might miss naming someone, but still rattled off some names. He sat down at the piano and dedicated "Come What May" to the couple who had been married 62 years. He hardly took his eyes off of them. They were Linda's parents and they were surprised and deeply touched that James would do that for them. Linda had a hard time holding back tears. Matt decided not to go into detail about "The Mad Lady and Me". He hoped we could figure it out on our own. Matt's solo "The Contender" was next. This is one of Gary's favorites. He did tell the story before singing, which we feel adds to the understanding of the song. "The Star of County Down" always gets a lot of audience participation of hand clapping and to tapping. "The Dutchman written by Michael Clancy and made famous by Liam Clancy is a heart wrenching song beautifully presented by the Tenors. This is another tearjerker. A repetitive chorus allowed the Tenors to ask the audience to sing along. The bouncy "Phil the Fluter's Ball" took us out of our somber mood to build up our spirits and low and behold "Danny Boy" sobers us up again. This time the microphones were put down so the acoustical worry was maybe not needed. The last official song was "Nessun Dorma" with the typical practice in "Italian". Of course there was one hanger on of the audiences part and the Tenors were able to provide us with their soprano dying gag. A poor unsuspecting "victim" who was at her very first concert was their target. Laurielei we won't mention your name!

The rousing standing ovation prompted another song, which was "A Time to Say Goodbye". One more jump in the air and loud clapping left us with "Irish Rover" We're sure there are so many things we missed reporting but we had a wonderful time. Linda's Dad commented after the concert that the girls on the end sure had a good time. Gary did have two ladies behind him that chatted too much and he wanted to turn around and glare at them.

For all the attendees please fill in anything we have forgotten. After which song was it that Daryl asked if anyone would like to take him home and then went into a CD selling promotion?

We have to say that Colm was just as fantastic as ever and he sure will be missed. We wish him luck with his schooling over the next three years and expect him to keep in touch. We were able to give Colm an album full of pictures from his time with The Celtic Tenors. The first page was Rianne's review of his first concert. After the photos each good luck/farewell message from the yahoogroup was inserted. A card from the club was also enclosed. Karen presented him with a scrapbook of all the places he had been with The Tenors. It was gorgeous. The guys ha a sound check at 8"00 am the next morning and about a two hour drive to Milwaukee. They were still very gracious to stay and talk to the last fan and left very weary. We will always appreciate the love and kindnesses they show to their fans.