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2011-03-11 The Sheldon Concert Hall Saint Louis, Missouri

reviewed by Linda & Gary

The four of us arrived in Saint Louis in time to have dinner at Vito's before touring the art gallery. With Gary and I were good friends Rick and Mary Ann. The Sheldon was designed by noted 1904 World's Fair architect Louis C Spiering and was completed in 1912. Over the years, great musicians from Jose Carreras and Joan Baez to Itzhak Perlman and Wynton Marsalis have performed in its famed acoustics. In 1998 the facility was expanded in its artistic focus and added 7 new gallery spaces and a 500-seat Louis Spiering Room. Our Celtic Tenors sang in the original concert hall of 732 seats, inclusive of the balcony.

Promptly at 7:00 the doors to the gallery opened and we saw two exhibits. The first was about 50 paintings of the German painter Max Lazarus. The next exhibit of about 100 black and white photos spanning 50 years were by Larry Fink. If I'd know ahead of time there were 7 rooms to the gallery I would have taken my cane. It seemed to go on forever with all its turns, nooks and crannies.

At 7:50 we decided to enter the theater of warm wood paneling and leaded stain glass windows in geometric designs. The theater seats were old wooden backed with no seat padding. Needless to say one's bum went numb. However they did fold back nicely so you could actually step back and let someone pass by.

Right on time the lights dimmed and a voice from nowhere announced The Celtic Tenors. We were surprised that Colm did not come out first. Coming out with their beautiful smiles and eyes twinkling we knew we were about to experience a magical evening. I think there is a distinctive bond emitted from the Tenors like an electric charge arcing over the audience and warming the inner being of their fans. Colm slipped in from the other side of the stage and played while James, Matthew and Daryl sang "I'll Tell Me Ma". After applause from a very receptive crowd we were given the shortened version of their bios. James mentioned how delighted they were to be debuting in Saint Louis and in fact Missouri. He then asked the crowd the correct pronunciation of the state, should the ending be said as a long e or a short a? The audience booed at the latter. Daryl introduced "The Town I Loved So Well". Matthew gave a short explanation of the next song followed by lots of laughter. They sang "Finnegan's Wake".

James announced a special guest in the audience, a fellow Irishman who had just been named the head of the Botanical Gardens. I'm sorry I didn't catch his name or the county he is from. "The Fields of Athenry" was dedicated to him.

Matthew then asked who knew the definition of kine—total silence. You should have seen the look of disbelief on Matthew's face. I'm glad I didn't shout out cattle because it would have looked fixed. Am I the only person who does crossword puzzles? Well, anyway, he explained that people wrongly sang kind instead of kine, which in the next song the cattle represents dowry. Many of us have heard Deirdre sing this song but you wait until you hear our Tenors sing it a cappella in three part harmony. It will knock you socks off. Have you guessed it? You're right; it was "She Moved Through the Fair". The audience was appreciative and showed it with applause.

I must admit I caught myself sneaking peeks at Colm. He's a very talented young man and you can see how much he loves what he does by the tilt or bob of his head, a smile or a big grin, his shoulder placement and the height of his hand movements. I'm far from an expert but it just felt right when watching him. You could also tell that he quite enjoyed the antics of our Tenors. We have certainly acquired a welcome addition to our family. Ah, I am side tracked.

Daryl introduced a song from the movie "The Mission"; an instrumental titled "Gabriel's Oboe" composed by Ennio Morricone. Sarah Brightman persuaded him to make it into a song and we now have "Nella Fantasia." During Daryl's introduction Matthew whistled a spot on rendition of the theme song from "The Good The Bad and The Ugly" also composed by Ennio Morricone. You can imagine the banter between the two.

I caught Colm grinning widely at the Tenors performing "Finculi Finicula".

James, Matthew and Colm left the stage as Daryl picked up his guitar. As he was tuning it he said, "I tune because I care and the audience responded to his humor and mischievous smile. He introduced his solo, the Tom Baxter song "Better". Gary and I had heard him perform this before and enjoy it very much. I remember the first time I heard him sing it I told him he sounded like Roy Orbison.

At some point Daryl said how happy he was to be there and enjoyed taking in the sights. He went to Gateway Arch and asked how long it took to ride to the top. He was told four minutes. He thought great and bought a ticket. No one told him there was a one-hour queue. Again the audience laughed but Daryl said that looking over the city was well worth the wait.

The trio then introduced the naming of their last album and how they felt bad that the Irish economy tanked after the albums release. They then sang "Hard Times".

Now for one of the highlights of the evening, Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" sung in the three stage of inebriation. Just before the song began an older gentleman on the front row aisle left the theater leaving his wife unaccompanied. This happened to be on the stage side that James was singing. You guessed it; he had found his prey! The Tenor's
Have perfected their three stages of drunkenness and the pleading for the young Sally to stay. James whether on his knees or stumbling back on stage caused uproarious, grab your stomach muscles laughter. I think that must be a belly laugh. As the song was winding down James slipped in a few comments that were absolutely perfect! Wait until you hear them and see his expressions. If you can't wait I might be persuaded to spill the beans. As the song ended the husband came back to his seat and the look on James face was priceless. He made a comment to the retuning man something like, everyone will think this was planned and see what happens when you leave? Another round of laughter and applause!

Next was the much appreciated a cappella song sung near the Missouri River, "Shenandoah". A lady in the front row gave a standing ovation and Daryl jumped down and gave her a big hug.

The final song before the intermission was "Remember Me" with the normal dedication but adding Japan's disaster. The four men left the stage to a standing crowd.

Gary and Rick went to buy a CD. We were suppose to get a "Hard Times CD for friends but they were all sold out in Canada. Rick bought "So Strong". There was also the "Irish Album" available. The lights flickered and everyone returned to their seats.

The second half was started with "Spanish Lady/Marie's Wedding". There was some pretty fancy footwork displayed and even a Moonwalk by Daryl. There was a snarky remark aimed at James saying that his performance was more a puddle dance than a river dance. You can imagine the audience reaction.

On a more serious note, Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the Day" was introduced and exquisitely executed. We hope this is on the new album.

The fun "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was introduced by James telling of the freak October Canadian blizzard, being stuck in the Regina airport and singing this song to newscasters. I believe we all saw the link and witnessed this first hand. When the song was ending Daryl strummed his guitar loudly and jumped around like a rock star. The payback comment towards him was, "he thinks he's Jimi Hendrix".

Colm, Matthew and Daryl left the stage and James walked towards the piano. James told the story about the famous song from "Moulin Rouge", meeting the composer David Baerwald and recording it as it was originally intended-a lullaby. James sat down at the piano and made a lovely dedication of the song to Gary and the woman who adores him, Linda. We were both very touched and as we held hands and listened to the beautiful song tears welled in my eyes. Our friends Mary Ann and Rick were impressed with James generosity.

As the others returned on stage Matthew was munching. James asked what he was doing and Matthew admitted to eating an apple. While Matthew was about to tell the story of Jimmy McCarthy's writing he had to stop and pick his teeth. The crowd was once again in stitches and yet another time when the introduction of "A Mad Lady and Me" was complete. I really enjoy the flow of this song-no pun intended.

James and Daryl left the stage and Colm stayed at the piano. Matthew told us how hard it is to be away from hi family 3-6 weeks at a time. He said his children think he is a bobbing head on the computer but thank goodness for Skype. He dedicated the upcoming song to his lovely wife. We then heard the beautiful "You'll Never Be The Sun" for the first time. Take a deep breath, calm down while you soak in the earnest beauty of the song. Way to go Matthew! We could listen to this over and over again. Please keep it in the show.

You'll never be the sun turning in the sky
And you won't be the moon above us on a moonlit night
you won't be the stars in heaven although they burn so bright
But even on the deepest ocean you will be the light

You may not always shine as you go barefoot over stone
You might be so long together or you might walk alone
And you won't find that love comes easy but that love is always right
even when the dark clouds gather you will be the light
And if you lose the part inside
When loves turns round on you leaving the past behind
Is knowing you'll do like you always do holding you blind keeping you true

You'll never be the sun...
You will be the light you will be the light

A quick change of pace and we heard the bouncy "Phil the Fluter's Ball". Yet another tempo change with Randy Newman's "Feel Like Home". It was noted that Mr. Newman had been nominated 20 times for an Oscar or was it a Grammy but had only won 2 or 3 times. Maybe our computers experts could find this out.
I don't remember when Daryl asked if Pete Wildemuth (spelling?) the dentist was in the audience. He wanted to thank him profusely for taking care of his bothersome tooth that morning. He commented that he must be to fond of the sweets or candy as we say in the States.

"Nessun Dorma" was introduced in the usual fun way. The audience was too excited about singing and the guys just told them that they had to. The audience did do a great job of following instructions. The Tenors and Colm bowed to a standing ovation and slipped out the door. Of course they had to come back for the encore. Each one of the Tenors picked up a rose and went into the audience to sing "All Out of Love". Daryl was so quick we didn't see where he went but we heard his voice to the left and behind us. Matthew jumped over a couple of seats and sang to a lady directly in front of us. James sang to the lady he had tried to seduce earlier in the evening.

What a night, what a performance! The lads had the crowd mesmerized and eating out of their hands all evening.

Now for a few comments—firstly, always take someone with you who have not seen The Celtic Tenors live. They will certainly become fans but secondly, when you have a first timer with you, you tend to view the lads through the eyes of the newbies. When viewed that way you get to relive your first thrilling experience all over again. Every concert is different and very meaningful but can you remember the first goose bump trembling? There are still terrific sensations but you never forget your first love. I can't get enough of the Tenors.
Additional insight—on the way back to the motel Rick commented about Colm, he said, "anyone can be a good instrumentalist but perfect timing makes one great, that young man is great."

We also want to tell everyone how sweet and humble Colm is and eager to learn. It was a pleasure chatting with him. Rick asked him if the camaraderie displayed on stage carried on after the curtain closed. Colm verified the closeness of the group and how well they can work together. Colm, once again welcome to our family.
CT's—Rick and Mary Ann commented on the diversity of program, that it was too difficult to pick out a favorite and that there was not a song they disliked. They were happy with the introductions, very informative but not too long. They were wowed by how many songs were performed and of your vast talents. Mary Ann is deaf in one ear and wears a hearing aid in the other. She did say that if she was having trouble understanding she could always watch Matthew because it was easy to read his lips. Since Rick is our pastor Saturday night concerts are impossible but the next Friday night one we are to be sure and get them tickets.

What can we say but well done my friends; another concert exceeding our expectations and surpassing the pleasures of the previous ones.
Very happy,
Linda and Gary