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Author Topic: Review: Wallingford March 17th  (Read 829 times)
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« on: March 18, 2012, 08:12PM »

Before I begin this review I have to say that my procedure of late has been to attend the show, have an after-dinner with forum friends, then wite my review until it is complete - regardless of how late the hour when the review is finally complete.  I need to stop doing that.  I just re-read my Manchester review before starting this one and there were mistakes in it that shouldn't have been made, all due to my stubborness to get things done even with a lack of sleep.  Yes I did proof the thing before I posted it, but that was at 3am local time and had been done following 3 nights of short sleep.  Except on tour-opening nights, I shall write the review on the next day.  Yes when the show is an opening show I will write it that night but I'll make sure to start with no sleep debt.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled review haha.

All good things must come to... a beginning.  And so it was with my association with Celtic Woman.  Tonight's show was a link back to my very first one, and it creates a circle of time, and a circle of life, for me.

Way back in March 2007 my first show had been at Wallingford, at this exact same venue.  For me this show in 2012 would bring me back full circle to where I had started as a concert-going fan.  I had experienced a parallel feeling the night before at Manchester so now it would be the turn of Wallingford.

After staying up late Friday night writing my review of Manchester, the Celtic compadres (Roy, Mike, and myself) all drove out to Wallingford.  We stopped off at Minuteman National Park in Concord Massachusetts so that Roy could see at least a little of New England's heritage while he was here.  We reached Wallingford before 3 pm and headed over shortly after to have dinner at Sarafino's Italian restaurant.  There were 10 of us: Mike, Roy, Bob, Kelly, Peter, Kristen, Mary, John, Dash, and myself.  I hadn't seen John since October 2009 and was glad to finally have him at a show with me again.  We soon headed over to the venue.

The Toyota Theater At the Oakdale is the venue that I know better than any other: this was my sixth CW show here but the first since the Isle of Hope era for me.  Originally an outdoor theater, it was converted to an indoor theater much later.  This venue doesn't have the nostalgic art deco touches of a Fox Theater or a classic PAC.  The key thing about the Oakdale is it's functionality.  I have discovered since my last show here that this theater does indeed have a pit, but that the stage has been extended to cover over the pit.  Thus the first row beyond the pit is actually the first row of available seating.  The stage is really too high for the seats, plus the front row center section is set too close to what is basically the stage "base".  On the plus side practically all the other seats have plenty of leg room.  The balcony extends out practically not at all.  Sound has been traditionally pretty good at this venue.  Since this was St.Patrick's Day I was anticipating a show beyond magical.

I got to my seat in front row center section, just slightly to the piano side a few seats from dead-center.  Many of the non-forum attendees in the immediate area seemed very interested in talking about the shows with us.  I would have Roy on one side and John on the other... I had sat with John for a New Journey show way way back in '07, and I had sat with Roy just the night before, so this covered my past and present nicely.  John had not yet seen the new Believe show and I was eager to hear see his reaction.

But before we could begin, PBS had a little something in store: the Governor of Connecticut had proclaimed this St.Patrick's Day to be Celtic Woman Day in Connecticut, and PBS presented a beautiful award which the four girls accepted and for which Chloe gave a short speech of thanks.  Very cool of CPTV, and this was not the last I would hear from PBS on this night.

Ok, NOW time to start... for those who have not heard it on tour before, "Awakening" starts kinda suddenly, with a pealing gong punctuating Mairead's introduction... "Nocturne" just weaves a deeper groove upon my heart each time I hear it... "Sailing" was again preceeded by Tommy's two-minute solo; and "Sailing" is climbing by leaps and bounds to among my absolute favorite Celtic Woman songs... "TAR" began with Lisa much further back among the audience on piano-side than usual and the same for Chloe on band-side; it was as hilarious as ever with even more improvised acted looks from the participants; at the end John whispered to me: "Funnest song ever!" and I knew then that Believe met with his approval... probably the most energizing song combination ever has to be "TAR" chased by "Granuaile's Dance", tonight Mairead absolutely sizzled... and how could St.Patrick's Day be complete without "Danny Boy"?... one thing I hadn't noticed until tonight was that during "Mo Ghile Mear" the girls come out from behind a phalanx of choir members, very reminiscent of "Little Drummer Boy" from the Christmas DVD. 

The crowd had started VERY lackluster but had been steadily improving.  Sometimes this happens.  The sound was pretty good so far, but the real improvement was the spotlighting; this time there were no major screwups with the spotlights.  The people around us were quick to talk to us about what they liked, which is always a good sign.

The song "The Water Is Wide" has always been a deeply personal song to me because of the way I was first introduced to it, which was through a forum friend sending me a recording of themselves singing it; later that person sat with me at my very first Wallingford show in 2007.  I suddenly remembered about that as Susan sang her version of "The Water Is Wide" and I totally broke down and cried.  I love this song so, so much!!!!!!

But that wasn't it for songs that have stolen my heart: after "I Dreamed A Dream" came "Circle Of Life".  The performance of this song tonight was important for two reasons to me.  In the first place Lisa Lambe had said something very special about it to me at the meet and greet the night before, and in the second place, just as at Manchester the night before, "Circle of Life" Wallingford was symbolic of my life as a show-going fan coming full circle, back to where it all had begun.  I wiped my eyes with my sleeves.

Just before "Ave Maria" started, Kelly switched places with Roy (she had been sitting on Roy's other side) so Kelly could have a better view above the high stage.  This placed Kelly and I alongside one another for "Ave Maria" which was fitting for Chloe's finest solo.  From the first moments when the red backlighting engulfed her to her deep sigh and curtsy, it was incredible.  She blew a special kiss from the stage.

The time came for the Meet and Greet.  We were ushered over to the Connecticut Room, which had been the scene of the crime five years earlier.  It was Mairead and Chloe covering the duties for the night.  I was a courier for this M&G, bearing a gift from another dear forum member for the ladies.  I took the opportunity to congratulate Mairead on her marriage since I hadn't seen her since the announcement.  I got a hug from them both.  (I almost missed an opportunity to get a photo with Chloe and Mairead when Chloe asked if I'd like one, when I totally had a brainfart and misunderstood what she was asking.  You'd think I'd never attended a M&G before LOL).  I only realized after I was finished that it was proper for them to be at this M&G with me, as they had both been at my first-ever M&G here in this same room.  I also chatted with Pat Henning, Director of Programming for CPTV, who had taken my pledge over the phone for my very first show and M&G back before the first New Journey Tour had even been made public.  She was aghast when I told her that I had just completed forty-three shows and that Wallingford had been my very first.

We were among the last people to leave the building.  Mike, John, Roy, and I drove over to the Colony Diner, which had been patronized by forum fans at Wallingford every year since that infant forumfest event in 2007.  We didn't get finished there until nearly 1am, after which I said my farewell to John until next time.  Mike courteously brought Roy and I to Bradley International Airport for our flights out, which brought another farewell until next time, though in his case we knew we'd see him for Las Vegas.  The final farewell was to Roy, who I'll see in time for the Dallas show next month.

This trip to New England will always have a very special meaning to me.  I do intend to return again in the future for shows here, especially to Wallingford, which will always be a part of who I am.  While on this little tour several forum friends asked me if I intend to move back to the northeast... and I said that at this time, no.  But that doesn't mean I have no desire to visit again.  Going to these shows in New Hampshire and Connecticut was symblic to me; this was not an attempt to get closure but to get perspective, which Celtic Woman always helps me find.  Just because I have completed a circle doesn't mean I cannot continue "an endless round" upon the circle: "Til we find our place on the path unwinding," which I have.

The circle is not only unbroken, it has now become full and perfect.  Happy Celtic Woman Day, everyone.


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