The Evansville review by Scott Manke aka Moscapoet
OK, folks here is part one of the review for the dress rehearsal.
Some of us have been here for a few days to conduct some forum business. The anticipation built. During the three days or so leading up we caught a glimpse of some choir and band members but as per proper decorum did not approach. Eight forum members in all were there including myself, Dave, Scott M, Dwight, Jim Allen, Don/papagood, Starman, and Thomas. All these guys were just great and fine folks to attend a concert with. No shortage of enthusiasm either.
WNIN, the local PBS station set up a dinner prior to the show at RiRa's Irish pub. There were 20 meet & greet people there plus PBS. Thanks so much to Sheryl for arranging it all. She received a gift of an Olivia CD. Prior to that though, Thomas gave me a lovely gift with a Skype video conference with Liv and Kim in Australia. It was so lovely. Thanks Thomas, that meant a lot. We also did a few photos. I spent plenty of time at the pub promoting Celtic Woman and Olivia. I also met a gent named Ken Tucker who gave me some great leads I can use for Liv.
It had been rainy and windy most of the day but just cloudy as we made our way to the venue. We waited in the lobby for about a half hour and I picked up a new program. Very nice! I also picked up three Mairead CDs for future forum contests. Sadly, no individual photos were available of the artists. So, if you want photos of individual artists signed you better print up some of your own. We go in and take our front row center seats and wait. The set has a round disc at the back for projecting videos. There are white curtains and sashes around the edges and above the stage. A purple Mairead silhouette is projected on the side curtains as we wait. The disc says Isle of Hope on it as we wait. The announcement comes and the lights dim. we've seen the set list but be warned it is in alphabetical order and not order of performance. I found that out a bit late and so had to write down the order as best I could. The first act that follows in part two may not be quite in the right order as a result but it's close. The second act in part three of this review is in the right order. So, in part two we'll have act one.
Part two. Act one.
Well, for anyone who might doubt the wisdom of David Downes, don't! David wisely has left The Sky, The Dawn, and The Sun. There she was, standing in mist, bow raised in the air, and yes, again dressed in white. The other ladies come out and are dressed green for Chloe, blue for Alex, orange for Lisa, and red for Lynn. The choir is in black. Very nice. Great start and a relief for many who love that song. Hi to you too Mairead! Sigh.
Next up, Lisa comes out and sings a lovely cover called Fields of Gold. I've never heard this pop piece done better. Lisa looks just lovely. Oh, and David himself is behind the piano.
OK, what's this. There is Mairead. Oh, what is this? It's a bit of a Latin flavor and and very peppy. It's called The Coast of Galicia. At least that's the only title I can figure be process of elimination. She's back running around and just beaming. Oh, Mairead thanks so much for the looks. I love this new air. Very fun and perfect. Mairead forum standing ovation.
Lynn comes out and I really like the red dress with the ruffle wrap around. She performs a song from her album, Carolina Rua. Cool! She has fun with it and is so relaxed and smiling. Oh, Lynn, a piece of your own. I love it! Thanks David!
Ahhhh, Orinoco Flow!!!!! Do I need to say more? Only three guys and three gals in the choir though as Amy and Julian have gone on to solo work. Still so much fun.
Alex comes out and sings a cover called True Colors. She does this very well. Again, she does this better than the pop artist who made it popular.
Chloe comes out now and sings a just beautiful piece called When You Believe. This brought tears to my eyes. It's just beautiful and Chloe again makes some eye contact with me. I've never had her at a meet & greet but she sure seems to know me. Awww, thanks Chloe. Folks, you'll love this song.
Now here comes a group piece. Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears. Oh my, this is beautiful and again gets me teary eyed. Throughout this so far we get video images on the round disc behind the stage that fits the piece. Really lovely song. Keeper for sure.
Uh oh, here comes Lisa over to the piano. Yep, The Blessing. Sigh. Afterwards she gets David and gives him a kiss and they take a bow, just like on the Slane DVD. What a pretty song.
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Granuaile's Dance! Here comes that feisty fiddler in white! It's just as it always is with Mairead having so much fun with Eoghan, David, Ray, Nicky, Des, and all of us. Awww, could your smile and expressions be any more sweet! More looks to all of us. Yes, she knows there are Mairead forum folks in front. This air just never gets old. Sigh. Mairead forum standing ovation.
Now we have Lynn, Lisa, and Chloe singing a cover called Goodnight My Angel. My, that's a lovely song and very pretty harmony. It says this is a Billy Joel piece. I sure like these ladies better!
Danny Boy. Um, not your usual Danny Boy. This is four part harmony a capella. Wow, does that bring tears to your eyes! I'm not wild about that song usually, but I am now! WOW!
We wrap up act one with, yes, wait for it, Mo Ghile Mear!!!! BOOM!!!!!! All the elements to fire you up and get you on your feet to leave you pumped and ready for act two. Flying fiddler, dueling drummers, and lovely voices. YES!!!! Standing ovation.
I ask the guys to help me get the set in order, but again, some of the above may not be quite in the right order. Catch our breath and time for act two. Part three next.
Part three. Act two.
All the elements are in play as they start the second act with The Call. This is a great song to lead in the second act. Beautiful. I notice something though. No costume change. Cool, Mairead stays in white.
Oh, out come the drummers. Yep, Dulaman, and Lynn. She now owns this song as the sultry girl next door. This is just perfect for her and she has fun with it.
Next up is Alex and a cover from Phil Collins called You'll Be In My Heart. Very pretty and zippy at times. Nicky comes out and plays Conga drum. Good percussion and Alex has a great time with this.
Here comes Chloe and the strains are familiar. Last Rose of Summer. Lynn comes out and they renew the beautiful rendition from the last tour. They are just a lovely duet.
The answer to both Don's and my prayer is yes. Here comes Mairead and she does her stunningly beautiful and gut wrenching instrumental version of that which they call Last Rose Fantasia. . I am just flowing with tears. Thank you Mairead and CW for hearing our pleas. Now when the new DVD is done this beautiful air will be preserved forever. Praise God!!!!!
We insist on applauding at the above even after Mairead leaves and Chloe takes the stage for Nella Fantasia. This is a signature song for her and she does it beautifully as always.
Out come the other three girls dressed in wraps but frillier than previously for the fun piece At The Ceili! Mairead is still in her white. So much fun and a crowd favorite.
Mairead is back and yes it is Shenandoah. She just feels this piece and we know it is one of her favorites. No better honor could the state of Virginia have than her playing their state song. The guys come out and here we go with The Contradiction. Ray gets hoots and hollers from us and acknowledges it with a smile and a bow while he's playing. This just never gets old! BTW, this is not in the set list. Must be a typo. Standing ovation from the Mairead forum.
Out come the ladies now in a costume change. They are wearing dark, very full dresses with a lot of metallic fabric over parts of it. Stunning! I will say however that those might get very hot at outdoor venues late in the tour. The song is Have I Told You Lately. I think that is a Rod Stewart cover right? Very nice.
Lisa stays and out comes Mairead in her new change of costume similar to the other ladies for The Voice. Yep, Lisa and Mairead back for this powerful piece that brings the house down. Yep, standing ovation.
Here we go with that fun song, Sing Out! We just love this and so do the ladies. Yep clapping along.
All the ladies now do a new song called Oh America. Wow!!!! OK, tears flow again. What a lovely tribute to our country. This is just beautiful. What a great addition.
The ladies then move and go right into You Raise Me up complete with the extra verse and the extra Mairead bit. As usual Chloe says her "Thank you, You've been a lovely audience". The crowd stands and they take some bows.
This goes right into Mairead's smoking Mo Ghile Mear reprise (again not in the set list) and the ladies coming out and taking their bows as well as the other artists. Oh give me Mairead over Jimmy Hendrix any day! Squeallllllll.
The encore is Spanish Lady as before. Fun and the ladies are all smiles and the crowd clapping along. More bows and out then with a wave of her bow Mairead ends the show for another night.
Don't doubt for a minute the genius of Mr. Downes and the professionalism and hard work of all of these artists. This is a show that retains the best of what they've done and adds some really great new pieces. While I'm generally more a fan of original work than covers, the latter is done better than the pop artists who made them popular. Well, maybe I'm just biased about it. Next part, the meet and greet.