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2012-03-11 Bloomington, IL, USA

reviewed by Linda and Gary

 
Our Sunday started as usual, read the paper while sipping coffee, getting ready to attend church and having the family over for noon dinner. That's when the day became extraordinary.

Gary and I along with my parents left town at 1:15. We met Gary's brother Don and wife Bev just outside the theater. Our timing was perfect. Linda was the keeper of the tickets so we knew we would be sought out. Just as we were chatting at the entrance our newbies Bill and Ann joined us. Rick and Maryann (who attended a St. Louis concert) also joined us. That completed our small group.

We were chatting away and I turned around and there was Emily and Sue. At 2:45 we found our seats. Just as we were seated Glenda spotted Gary and came over to introduce herself. She recognized Gary from our Facebook photo. We then spotted the O'Donnell's arriving. All of our small entourage had arrived and we were ready to be entertained. And entertained we were!What a phenomenal afternoon.

The theater was an old Masonic Temple built in 1922 and had been refurbished a few years ago. There were lots of stairs, columns and stained glass. It had a balcony and private boxes. The theater seats about 1200 and attendance was about 450. When talking with Daryl they knew ahead of time that it would be a smaller crowd. They anticipate that when performing in a city for the first time. It is word of mouth that brings in the bigger numbers. Lesson---talk them up more!!!!!

As the Celtic Tenors were introduced Colm slipped onto his piano bench. As he played the introduction to Red Haired Mary our three Irish lads walked on stage and started singing. The shortened version of introducing themselves was followed by lack of sleep banter. Daryl said that they would probably get a bit confused with only 4 hours sleep and the time change was a bigger issue and that poor Colm thought was Wednesday. Daryl did struggle with this being an afternoon concert. Several times he referred to this evening and had to laugh and correct himself. Daryl informed the audience of their diversity by not sticking to one genre and to expect a little Celtic, Classical, Operatic, Irish when Matthew jumped in saying a "little bit of country" and James followed with "a little bit of rock'n'roll". A lot of laughter greeted them.

I was remiss in taking note of who introduced each song because I was savoring each moment and wanted to take only minimal notes. One year is much too long waiting to see their friendly faces. The title song of their new album was introduced and "Feels Like Home" received long, sustained applause. In fact every song received extended applause. The Bloomington crowd was very receptive in my opinion. Maybe one of the four performers would give us their opinion.

Next was "Finnegan's Wake" with the usual shenanigans.

"She Moved Through the Fair" was introduced as a song previously sung by women but the Tenors thinking it is very much a man's dream sequence so they have their own arrangement. It was sung a cappella with microphones. Again there was appreciative applause.

They went right into "Granada" with James lifting of his eyebrows. At James solo part he pointed and sang to my Mom. I am so appreciative James. Thanks you for making her feel special. After the long applause they announced the name of the song for those who might not have known it. At this point I would like to comment on Colm's musical ability. Our young man has a feel for the music and it shows in his body language, facial expressions and as the old saying goes "his innate ability to tickle the ivories". He is such a great addition to our trio. I love to watch him smile. I didn't make note but I believe this is the song that got the first standing ovation.

At this point the regular program would have been the "Pearl Fishers Duet" but it being Sunday "The Holy City" was opted for with a request for the audience to sing long. When James noticed I wasn't singing he pointed to me and prompted me to sing at which I had to point to my throat and shake my head. Yes I still had laryngitis and no one would have appreciated a squeaky chorus. You could hear just a bit of an echo at the end of the song which added to its poignancy.

Now James moved to the piano and Colm picked up the guitar. James announced the many friends who were in the audience but said he would especially like to dedicate the next song to Glenda who had been through some trying times and was able to attend today. A lovely "The Wild Mountainside" was sung to a tearful Glenda with her daughter Jennifer passing her a tissue. Also with Glenda was her Mom and her brother.

The bawdy tenor version of "Lay Down Sally" was introduced as Daryl being totally sober, Matthew being drunk and trying to win his way with the girl and James interjecting that he was totally desperate. The slowed down version accompanied by Daryl on the guitar was sung with a lot of animation and "Elvis hips" James trying to seduce but being rejected. Of course he didn't give up and at one point removed his tie slurring "it is hot in here" and snubbing the lady in question only to give a backward glance at the end of the song. James made a few comments during the wooing of his unsuspecting prey. Needless to say the comedy received the laughter sought after.

Daryl kept his guitar and he and the expressive Colm were the accompaniment to "The Star of the County Down". The song was dedicated to Rory McIlroy, a Northern Irish professional golfer from Holywood in County Down, the current World Number One.

The Tenors announced that a program on BBC in the UK was being shown tonight to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. They recorded in the very building in Belfast where the Titanic was built. They thought that the next song could be dedicated to all those who lost their lives. The a cappella "Shenandoah" was sung followed by extra applause.

To wrap up the first half of the concert "Remember Me" was sung and dedicated to all servicemen and servicewomen serving through the world.
Note to the Tenors-just remember that you had several standing ovations and it doesn't really matter the individual song. The tributes are to you and your body of work. So if my memory failed me so be it.

During the intermission the couple in front of us chatted. The wife had bought the tickets as a Christmas gift for her husband of Irish descent who enjoyed Celtic music. She thought that she would just be a tagalong for his benefit. Much to her surprise the show was nothing as she expected and she was enjoying it immensely. The same goes for Gary's brother. We have to drag him to any kind of musical event. I think he will now be one of the first in line to see The Celtic Tenors again. We did go over and chat with Glenda and family. It is always so much fun to put a face to the friends we have made through the Fan Club.

The second half Colm Rogan was introduced by that voice in the background. He came in and bowed before sitting at the piano and playing the introductory to "Bheir mi o". Daryl walked in alone to sing the first verse and the two others followed to complete the song. Afterward it was announced that the song was a Scottish love song sung in Donegal Irish.

After the soft and sobering "Dimming of the Day" the toe tapping "I'll Tell Me Ma" was sung.

Matthew announced himself as a geek and could relate to this next song. It is about the scientific mind trying to figure out beauty and love. At this point James retorts "welcome to my world" As Gary melts in his chair we listen to "Galileo" his favorite song. Matthew dedicated the song to his lovely wife Celestine and wishing he was home to help with his wee one who had tonsillitis.

The next introduction was talked about the recession in Ireland and saying that was an alien concept to us. The expected laughter followed. They had decided we all needed a warm and fuzzy song so we were treated to "Going Home".

Going right into "Funiculi Funicula", we were charmed by them singing in "Neapolitan".

Daryl stepped up to the microphone with his guitar and stated that all good songs were love songs. He asked if we were ready for some love which one of the others retorted "that sounds like a proposition." You can imagine the audience reaction. We were reminded of genuine love as Daryl sang "Better" with some vocal back up by Matthew and James. This was the CD arrangement which is different from the live version we heard a couple of years ago. Of course Colm replaced the orchestra. Both are beautiful and remind me of us. Our 40+ years keep getting better and better.

Another new album song "Westering Home" was sung. We love EVERY song on the new album and seem to play it more than the others.

Next the upbeat "Spanish Lady" with lots of dancing silliness, Daryl's moonwalk, Matthew step dancing and twirls and James (poor James) his own version of dancing. What name could we attach to it? When it was all over one of them looked and James and said, "Michael Flatley is quaking in his boots." Their showmanship pays off because the audience loves their unexpected quirkiness and friendly banter of brothers or best friends. They are so much more than exceptionally talented voices.

Slowing things down again the most loved Irish song "Danny Boy" was sung a cappella sans microphones. This by far had the longest standing ovation.

The last song of the evening was introduced and audience participation required "Nessun Dorma". The never tiring sheep without any lips instruction was given. Another standing ovation and the fours guy returned to the stage for "All Out of Love".

It was a phenomenal concert where 450 more people will be spreading the word about The Celtic Tenors with shows one should never miss.
There was a short meet and greet. The members of the Fan Club shied away knowing that we would all be having dinner with our fab four and tour manager Paul. Paul has been filling in for Matt until the New York gigs.

On a side note whenever a song from the new album was announced they told a bit about it. They mentioned that they had viewed them on You Tube so now they were not only plugging "Feels Like Home' but You Tube. They chuckled about that.

It was now time to leave the theater in the beautiful weather and walk across a grassy field to find our car. All of a sudden a fly by bomber neared, released and used my head as a target. Well that dirty bird had perfect aim. You should have seen Gary trying to clean me up with tissues. Obviously the bird was angry because I got to hear the Celtic Tenors and it didn't. We reached the restaurant and my hair had dried. I combed it and don't believe I'll ever use that same comb again. LOL

Hugs,
Linda and Gary