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Author Topic: Starman's Cincinnati Review: 3/24/12  (Read 1769 times)
Starman
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« on: March 26, 2012, 06:37PM »

   Cincinnati has traditionally produced very impressive turnouts when Celtic Woman came to town, so much so that additional matinee shows were sometimes held. There was no matinee show this year, but for this year’s one show, the Aronoff Theatre was filled to capacity.  In fact, the show may well have sold out, as I could spot no empty seats for this March 24, 2011 show.  The sponsoring PBS station, Cincinnati Educational (CET) Television, had raised ticket prices this year, obviously not to the detriment of attendance!  

   My trip up from Lexington was fortunately, uneventful. I’d seen many a lengthy traffic jam in the past on that stretch of I-75 as it nears the Ohio River, making me determined to always have at least 1-2 hours leeway in getting there.  I was meeting Neil there, purchaser of my other CET ticket. Neil had come down from Toronto and attended the previous night’s Detroit show.  He was out walking near the venue when I arrived and our cellphones quickly guided us to each other, a block or so from the Aronoff. We stopped off at the Bistro directly across the street for a light meal on the second floor patio overlooking the Aronoff.  Very pleasant and a great view of the comings and goings as people arrived for the show. Neil told me of the previous night’s Detroit show and M&G.  He had, over all, been disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm of the Detroit crowd.  

   I spoke with Barb (Barbeaver) by cell phone as she and Sandy arrived in town.  It was a bit too near the start of the show for them to join us, so Neil and I proceeded on inside to our seats.

   On the way to our seats who should we run into but  Bagpiper/drummer Anthony Byrne, still in his street clothes!  He appeared glad to see us.  I had tweeted him I was coming, but had no idea I would run right into him! We traded handshakes—he heading no doubt to change for the show, we to our seats.
   
   My guess is that front row tickets were perhaps earmarked for long-time CET members, as we fan forum members who predominated on the front row last year, were all relegated to the second row orchestra pit this year—still very good seats!  Forum members Neil, Annie, Mike and myself were slightly stage right of center.  Matty and Jimmy  were a few seats down from us toward center, Barb and sister Sandy were a few seats on down stage left.  There were some other forum members there whose names I can’t recall and others, I’m sure, unknown to me.  It’s fairly easy to spot us as a group during standing ovations.

   Annie (Needleworklady) and Mike  (Cash) had come prepared, as usual!  Among his packet Mike had a document conveying the song Ave Marie to Chloe (whom we agree now “owns” it) prepared and for me, a release of all claims which might arise from sitting next to Annie, including, but not limited to, hearing loss and battery.  ?

   The show beings with the enchanting image of Mairead slowly materializing at the top of the stairs.  I find that the song has grown on my quite a bit since it came out, from repeated viewings of Believe and listening to the DVD while commuting to work (and to the show tonight!).  I appreciate more of it’s intricacies now than formerly. It is a worthy opener, as music director David Downes well-knew and no doubt intended.

Applause comes from the audience as Mairead appears—a new development I have seen only beginning with this tour.  Obviously, the audiences have developed an instant recognition and appreciation for her.  I noticed the same was given to Chloe. From talking with fans at the shows I attend, I have found many have attended multiple shows in growing numbers, leading to one inescapable conclusion---they are coming back!

Shane McVicker is at the piano, having replaced Brian Conner shortly into the tour.  The girls are absolutely gorgeous as they appear: Chloe, Lisa and now Susan McFadden, looking totally relaxed and a part of the group at this point. If this group doesn’t wow you, there is something seriously wrong with you!  Chloe gets some pretty enthusiastic responses as she talks the crowd up!  By the end of the night she was quite noticeably hoarse—honestly earned!

I must say I have never seen Mairead so energized and playing so crisply as she was on this night!  There was no slurring of notes—obviously great effort was made to differentiate the notes in even the most intricate runs.  This was true in all of her numbers on this night.  Wow!  How could she spin so effortlessly?  Annie and I counted 15 or 16 spins.  She and I both have @ 3 dozen shows to our credit and yet are no less amazed by what we see here!

Neil remarked that the lighting here is much better than it was the previous night in Detroit.  I don’t know what accounts for the difference, though the quality of the house lights must vary from venue to venue. I didn’t notice any misses with the spotlights as you see on some occasions (i.e. instead of Lisa, they hit a janitor with a push broom).  Tongue

Lisa Lambe’s beauty and magnetic stage presence is evident still in Dulaman, which makes us every so glad it is still in the show.  During several songs in the show she and Chloe single out a young girl on the front row, obviously thrilled with them singing to her.  To add to it, I asked her for her autograph after the show and she blushed until being rescued from the uncomfortable situation by her father.


Nocturne is next, featuring Mairead and Chloe. A hauntingly gorgeous number from two gorgeous girls, movingly performed, just as it was on the Believe DVD, though perhaps better in person. Next, a Mairead number, The Foxhunter, a song which has grown on me tremendously and I appreciate its inclusion in the show more all the time.

Oh yes, Tommy Martin on the whistle instead of pipes during Sailing. When you think about it, the whistling of commands on a ship are more appropriate here than the pipes, used more commonly to commit a deceased seaman to the deep. For those perhaps unaware, it is not the Christopher Cross song, nor the pirate song (with nary a mention of “over the bounding main”).  

A beautiful rendition of Follow On is given by lovely Susan McFadden.  I am determined to stand for an ovation—after all, we’d do it for Lisa Kelly!

The stage at the Aronoff doesn’t have steps down to the floor, nor lengthy wings so that the space for maneuvers on Teir Abhaile Riu is limited. It therefore is done entirely on the stage—but this doesn’t detract from it being one of the major highlights of the show!  Lisa, Chloe and Susan are in hilariously wonderful form on it tonight! We are in stitches before an actual word is spoken!  I am thrilled as Lisa gestures towards me during one of her comments of handsome men awaiting her in Galway—the next best thing to plopping in your lap!  If only there were room for that, as there has been in some venues, I understand.

Mairead’s Granuaile’s Dance follows as a rousing number bringing a huge ovation from the crowd, as it always should from any audience semi-comatose or greater!  Danny Boy follows, always a crowd favorite.


Mo Ghile Mear ends the first act.  The choir is in particularly good form tonight! Mairead Maguire, Dermot Kienan, Colm Keegan, Andrea Delaney, Kate Donohoe and Craig Ashurst are a vocal delight and an attractive addition to every number in which they appear! In the Believe Program, Scott Porter describes Craig as additionally one of the greatest Irish dancers in the world.  When you see him in action, you will not disagree!

During intermission I was able to speak to Barb and Sandy at length and also the  Galyks, a delightful couple from Marion, who had been present last year on the front row with me, at several Orla shows and were also at the Atlanta  Believe filming.  To strangers who indicate some interest, I use my adornment of forum buttons to tell them about the fan forums for Celtic Woman and the individual artists. One of the skills I have learned from the Moscapoet school of diplomacy.  As a result, we usually pick up a handful of new members to the various forums.

            ACT II
Amazing Grace is a wonderful crowd favorite to start Act II.  Bagpiper Anthony Byrne has no steps by which to enter and so performs from the edge of the stage.  The crowd loves this one, as well they should!

Green Grow the Rushes is next, with Chloe teaching the lyrics to the crowd and then putting us through the ropes, in sections, to see how we did. Chloe is, as always, overly generous in her assessment of our performance.  Lisa looks our way to see if we are doing our “rushes imitation”—no, I’m not going to do it if Annie doesn’t!  I had tweeted that we were going to do the rushes tonight—my bad!  

Next comes delightful Lisa Lambe’s A Spaceman Came Travelling!  Fantastic song and fantastic performance—it’s certainly one of my favorites from the show and I’m sure, that of many in the audience!  In it, you can really see what Lisa adds to the group why she’s won over the hearts of so many fans (and many an hitherto unsuspecting young man)!  Maybe someday she’ll be yours--- when she comes back in a couple of thousand years!


   Then comes Walking in the Night/Take My Hand/World Falls Away, which I love; followed by Susan’s highlighted portion of the show with The Water is Wide and her introduction to Tribute to Broadway.  She is obviously more relaxed and gives us insights in to her earlier years and Broadway influences. Anthony is improving on the drum in Circle of life—but don’t retire the bagpipes just yet—which Ray and Andy have hopefully already told him. LOL!

   The mood changes to Chloe’s fantastic performance in Ave Marie, which with the choirs beautiful tones, has brought a standing ovation in every show I have attended—and so on this night!  My brother heard it in Knoxville and promptly dubbed it---and Chloë, his favorites.  

You Never Walk Alone, the choir substituting for children’s choir on the DVD, is  movingly performed.  Still, for me it’s impossible to hear the song without seeing in my mind’s eye the adorable Atlanta children’s choir. Those who had never seen it will not be so afflicted and yet will find their own enjoyment of the number undiminished.
 
   The Mairead number Women of Ireland was next. The song most memorably devolves into a “duel” between Mairead and a dancer—on tour performed by Craig Ashurst, who steps out of the choir to masterfully dance the part.  A high-powered Mairead number for sure, highlighting the talents of both.  Fans of dance will particularly find this song to be a highlight of the show and will marvel at its performance here.  Of course, we’re sure that David Downes took great pains to ensure that all the male Aontas choir members can do it in the event Craig isn’t up it on a given night.  Tongue

   A Parting Glass is the  evening’s final number—that is it would be if we would let them leave without an encore (which never happens).  To me, the song is as moving as You Raise Me Up, though some may no doubt disagree. No confetti cannons though, much to the delight, no doubt, of the maintenance staff at the Aronoff.

   The encore is  Mo Ghile Mear reprise, which produces blazing solos from each of the instrumentalists and for Believe, for dancer Craig Ashurst as well—very nice idea! The crowd is a loud and vocal in their appreciation as any I have ever heard!

   Following the show CET staff led us down to the M&G room where James and Bubba manned the table as we were treated to…Máiréad Nesbitt and Susan McFadden as our soloists that night!  I was ready for Máiréad, as the rotation indicated it would probably be her.  I was expecting Chloë.  However, Chloë was so hoarse at the show’s conclusion, I would not be surprised if she were substituted for that reason. We were given the welcome news that CET would take shots of us if we wished.  I certainly did after the poor shots I had obtained by my own devices last year!

   Encountering Máiréad first, we shook hands, though she indicated her hand was so sore from the performance that she could hardly shake or sign things. I told her how long it had been since my last M&G with her and she being the only one I hadn’t had the pleasure of having this year. I congratulated her for the first time in person on her marriage.  She completed the signatures on my Believe DVD & CD jackets, except for Lisa Kelly, for whom we all must wait for the time being.

   Susan was strikingly beautiful as well and talkative. I reminded her I had met her at the Atlanta M&G and showed her my 8x10 promo shot in which I appeared and pointed myself out to her.  She also spotted Mike beside me, pointing him out!  She asked how she was doing in the show and I remarked the obvious—how at-home in the show and with the group she has become!  Throughout the M&G Susan appeared to genuinely enjoy meeting the fans and interacting with them.  I told her one fan by the name of Tom Troxil was eagerly hoping she would do the M&G in Akron.  She laughed, or course being unable to make any promises.

   After our forum member made it through the line, we gathered for a group shot in the lobby, before saying our goodbyes and heading out.  Neil and myself ran into drummer Andy Reilly and the Aontas choir members, apparently on their way for a post-show repast.  They graciously shook hands and exchanged greeting with us before we headed our separate ways.

   A fantastic show in Cincinnati and the by far demonstrating the most enthusiasm from a crowd which clearly continues to love Celtic Woman

John/Starman
   

   

     

   

   

     Me with Máiréad and Susan: courtesy of CET. Note Neil standing behind us.



  Annie, Mike, Neil, Sandy and Barb, in the M&G line


Barb hugging Máiréad posing for CET photo

« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 07:01PM by Starman » Logged

Thomas
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2012, 06:37AM »

Great review and photos John,

Lucky guy!!!!!!


Tom
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barb kantartzis
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2012, 09:17AM »

Great review!  Love the pic's!
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I I I I hear your voice on the wind, and I I I I hear you call out my name, listen my child you say to me I am the voice of your history be not afraid come follow me answer my call and i'll set you frrreeeee!!!!!!!
Starman
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2012, 05:43PM »

  Thanks Tom and Barb for your kind words!  Smiley
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greenfire6
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2012, 07:50PM »

Another enjoyable review and pictures John.  Cheesy Thanks for posting.

Always good to read the CW Troupe is firing on all cylinders. Glad to know the Cincy crowd was appreciative and showed it. The ladies must live for especially responsive audiences like those that came out in Cincy.
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