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Author Topic: Sydney Entertainment Centre - 17th of January 2014  (Read 6973 times)
MarcusWongAUS
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« on: January 17, 2014, 05:48PM »

It has been three and a half year since the Songs from the Heart Australian Tour. It has been a year and a half since the 2012 promo tour when we were told they'd be here last September. It has been another half year since September when the tour was supposed to happen. As you can imagine, we've been looking forward to this for a good long time! And I can assure you, the wait was worthwhile.

I'll start off with the pre-show details. The pre-show function began at 5:30 and they served a variety of hors d'ouevres and beverages. I was there with some friends who I had previously met at the November promo tour last year, and the promo tour the year before. We were all there early, and when we got to the function room we were fortunate enough to choose a very good table. The M&G operated very differently from the last Australian tour (where they used the table configuration).

It was only two girls this time, Susan and Mairead N, and they stood at the front of the room, in front of a large backdrop. We were called up one table at a time so there was plenty of time to relax. Fortunately, my group had chosen a table just a few metres away (fairly close). We were all sure to give them a nice loud cheer as they entered, and they waved and smiled at us, especially, when they made their way up to the front. Indeed, Susan beckoned us over but we didn't get much time as the other guests began lining up.

We were towards the last few to talk and have our photos taken, but we were right up with all the action. They were having an absolute blast, laughing and chatting. A lot of people hadn't brought cameras, so were just using their phones for photos. My Dad had brought his big camera along and was happy to oblige and help take photos.

When it was our turn to go up, we each got individual photos. I had a bit of chit chat with both of them. I'd brought my 'Fiddler Crossing' sign, that some of you Americans had brought down from last time so I'd like to wish you all a MASSIVE THANK YOU!!! So I was having an individual photo with Mairead and then Susan jumped across, but not in time to get in the photo Sad so we did a silly one at the end to make up for it.

I was surprised as well, how obliging they were, not so much the girls (who've always been extremely accommodating) but the management team. Everyone could do single photos, and while there wasn't a lot of time, I got some good photos out of it. We managed to get a group photo as well which I think will serve nicely to commemorate the occasion.

After our time with the girls, we were given our programs (and fridge magnets), and it was time to wander around and take our seats.

I'll post my review of the show shortly. 
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2014, 06:10PM »

Sounds great so far Marcus! Can't wait to hear the rest. Wink
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2014, 06:30PM »

Sounds great so far Marcus! Can't wait to hear the rest. Wink


   Absolutely can't wait!  Great photo and thanks for the details surrounding it thus far!  Cool
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Traveling Spaceman
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2014, 08:23PM »

It's interesting (and maybe a bit confusing) to hear stories of how these M&Gs are structured. It really does seem to differ slightly for almost every show. I've heard dozens of different stories, and no two are alike. What I had been hearing lately, was that you didn't get as much time with the girls as in the past - but all four of them attended as opposed to only two, and you got your one photo with them. Some people said they were allowed to take pictures with their cameras, other said they weren't. This seems like almost a hybrid of the old way and new way. I guess until you get your instructions in the mail, you really don't know what is going to happen.

Glad to hear that overall you were satisfied with your experience, Marcus. You certainly had a long wait.  Cool
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2014, 08:34PM »

 Well...you  deserved  the  great  time  you had.    Cool   sounds  like  you really  did  have  a  blast.  yes...I  do  think every venue  is  a bit  different.  But  I/m  glad to  hear that management  was  accomodating .  Thank  you  for  the  fine  details  so  far.  I  would  like  to  hear  your  impression  of  Mairead  C. i've  heard  other  folks  say  that it  seems like  she  fits  right in .
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MarcusWongAUS
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 02:03AM »

Thank you for all your comments
It's interesting (and maybe a bit confusing) to hear stories of how these M&Gs are structured. It really does seem to differ slightly for almost every show. I've heard dozens of different stories, and no two are alike. What I had been hearing lately, was that you didn't get as much time with the girls as in the past - but all four of them attended as opposed to only two, and you got your one photo with them. Some people said they were allowed to take pictures with their cameras, other said they weren't. This seems like almost a hybrid of the old way and new way. I guess until you get your instructions in the mail, you really don't know what is going to happen.

Glad to hear that overall you were satisfied with your experience, Marcus. You certainly had a long wait.  Cool

Yeah, some people were saying that there wasn't much time so I was a bit nervous going in, but it went very well!
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MarcusWongAUS
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 02:11AM »

Some general comments:

I was sitting in one of the two centre front seats, my friends Zoe and Len were sitting directly next to me (in the other centre seat) and directly behind me in the second row respectively. We had some time before hand to talk and notice things. For one, it seemed as though they weren't using as much space as last time, although it was a  long time ago so I might be wrong. They had sold probably between 70 and 80% of what was quite a large venue. As it happens my cousin and aunt were also in attendance (first time for her) but she was further back, but I did get to say hi. Curiously, there was a guy just sitting on top of the stage, controlling the spotlight. Anthony walked past us in front of the stage, if you didn't know him, you would have just thought he was part of the audience, but we perked up when we saw him and he said a quick hello.

David was on piano, and they had a new drummer, Brian, who I believe is the same Brian who played piano on the tour last year. The audience greeted the band with a decent smatter of applause. Soon the lights dimmed and the show began.
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 04:39AM »

Act I:

Awakening: As Mairead took her place on stage there was a loud round of applause and some cheering. I was not prepared for the opening lights! Just the yellow lights shot up from the floor of the stage, it was, literally stunning! We got a fair bit of interaction from all of the girls in this number, and they were really fired up! After so long relying on the albums, DVDs and the occasional live recording, you forget just how powerful and pure their voices are. The acoustics meant that, while it was the same/similar arrangement as the one on Believe, it sounded quite different. It was a very powerful opening number, and one that set a good standard for the rest of the show.

Dulaman: Everyone left the stage apart from Lisa. The acapella introduction was beautiful and a good display of Lisa's crystalline, agile voice. As the main part of the song began, Brian dropped his bodhran drumstick Shocked but had to keep playing. I'm still not sure exactly where that stick went, but I suspect someone must have picked up somewhere during the show, I couldn't see the floor of the stage. Lisa was incredibly energetic and we got plenty of glances and smiles from her. You could tell she was enjoying herself!

Scarlet Ribbons: A wonderful display of Mairead's voice and a beautiful song. It was the first big opportunity to listen and watch her show her solo talents. Her vocals have a unique quality as many of you would be aware, and can range from a sort of soft,misty quality, to an incredibly powerful, pure tone. I'm incredibly impressed with her performance, throughout the entire show.

The Coast of Galiçia: I'll start this by noting that Mairead was wearing a leg strap in Brisbane, meaning she had likely hurt her leg somehow. She did seem rather reserved in her movements about the stage (I only counted seven spins) and she did take a little stumble as she jumped from the rise section of the stage. What she lacked in running around, she more than made up for in pure energy! She was giving us plenty of head flicks. It took the audience a little time to get into it, but when they did, they got into it. Mairead granted us lots of little glances. At the end we were cheering (and screaming) and Mairead, being Mairead, screamed back at us Smiley

The New Ground: It was nice to have this song back. Tommy did a wonderful job with it, as always. Every time I hear it, I naturally think of Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears but needless to say it flows very well into the next song!

Orinoco Flow: A dramatic entrance onto the stage as the choir enter first and are joined by Lisa, Mairead and Susan. The lighting, to begin with, silhouettes the girls, and as Lisa was at the front, we could only see her as they took their opening positions. She looked like a kind of river goddess with the sheer, and the blue lighting. I absolutely adore everything about this version of the song, and I hope we'll get to see it again, either on The Emerald Tour or the DVD/PBS special.

Caledonia: The music started up, and Susan introduced it. It was a stunning version of the song. Different to Lisa K's version but just as wonderful. Susan put a very distinctive spin on it, and I'll be glad to get my hands on it when it's released on the new album. You could tell she was really enjoys performing this song and it makes you enjoy the song that much more.

Teir Abhaile Riu: Ah! The famed singing battle! Lisa appears, and starts singing 'Da da, da da de da da." She sits on a gentleman's lap in the second row. I couldn't get a very good look. Mairead C popped up on the right hand side and points to a lady sitting in the first row. Retaliating, Lisa pulled her gentleman up and danced with him. Mairead pulled up her lady friend and pointed to her. The looks on their faces were amazing. The audience loved it! Susan's entrance was just as amazing! She just gave a look of total surprise and confusion. They really got into this number, especially Craig. Absolutely on fire!  There was a moment when Susan and Mairead pull Lisa forward and we all became very worried when it looked like she was going to fly out into the audience! We were getting ready to catch her!

Granuaile's Dance: A wonderful number, and the audience really enjoyed it. As always, Mairead was very energetic and we got plenty of glances again! Again she screamed at us when we cheered at the end Smiley

Danny Boy: They really had the audience entranced in this number. It was stunning and their voices blended perfectly, but if you really listened, you could hear them individually too! One man a few seats down from me was singing along  Cheesy They received a rousing applause for this number.

Mo Ghile Mear: One of my all time favourites and the song that got me hooked on Celtic Woman. In the opening they looked like angels. Again, I was awestruck by the power of their voices. Towards the end, Lisa caught me and Zoe singing along and gave us an extra special glance and opened her arms to us, as if to hug us. It was a wonderful way to end the first half!
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 11:49AM »

  Thanks Marcus for this great review of the first half of what was obviously a marvelous show!  You're answering our questions about how Mairead C fits in the show.  Sounds like she is doing a fabulous job!

  I look much forward to seeing your review of the remainder of the show!  Cool Cool Cool
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Traveling Spaceman
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 05:32PM »

Quote
Teir Abhaile Riu: Ah! The famed singing battle! Lisa appears, and starts singing 'Da da, da da de da da." She sits on a gentleman's lap in the second row. I couldn't get a very good look. Mairead C popped up on the right hand side and points to a lady sitting in the first row. Retaliating, Lisa pulled her gentleman up and danced with him. Mairead pulled up her lady friend and pointed to her. The looks on their faces were amazing. The audience loved it!

Yay!   Grin   I was hoping they would continue performing this, and was wondering if Mariéad C would replace Chloe, or if Susan would switch roles.
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MarcusWongAUS
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 04:05AM »

Act II:

Amazing Grace: The song title sums it up pretty well! It starts, as you would expect, with Anthony a little ways back playing the bagpipe. As his solo finished the crowd gave him a well deserved round of applause before Susan begins singing. They wore similar dresses as the one's in Act II of 'Believe' but with different corsets. Those of you who attended the European Tour or the later shows of the American Tour will know what I'm talking about. Having seen photos of them, I wasn't sure I particularly liked them, but they look much better on stage. They're very, very sparkly! Smiley I was completely blown away by just the sheer power of the music coming from the stage.

She Moved Through the Fair: I'll begin by saying that Mairead's expression throughout this song was incredible, something that I doubt any kind of recording could do justice to. While before Chloë left, I was very excited to see it as a duet, Mairead certainly did not disappoint at all!

Broadway Tribute 'I Dreamed a Dream': Susan introduced this song and talked about how they grew up looking "towards the magic and the bright lights of Broadway." This was particularly fitting considering her prominence on the theatre stage. Susan's rendition was, as I had expected, superb, so for me, it was Mairead who completely took me by surprise. If you've heard her sing it, you would understand what I mean, but it is impossible to express in mere words just how incredible she was in this song. This song actually needs to be re-recorded with them!

Broadway Tribute 'Circle of Life': Lisa was on fire and you could tell she loves performing this song. I certainly enjoyed watching it! It's lively and fun, it's energetic. It is very different to the Lion King's version which I think takes people aback, but for the majority, they enjoy it. We got quite a few Lisa glances in this one which suits me just fine Wink I absolutely adore the choreography and the lighting, it suits the song perfectly!

Bridge Over Troubled Water: Lisa introduced this song and David started playing the introduction. It was timed perfectly timed. I absolutely loved this version. As much as I thought the 'Believe' version was perfect, I think this solo version, just Lisa and the piano. I suppose it's a bit like a replacement for the solo songs like My Lagan Love or the old version of Danny Boy where it was the girl and the choir. This was one of those songs where the audience just listens, you could hear a pin drop. Oddly enough, even the applause was almost devoid of loud cheering, yet it was just as enthusiastic as any other song. It was just amazing to see how much the song could affect the mood of the entire audience, even after it had finished.

Nil Se'n La: While the girls are getting changed, Ray took centre stage and impressed the audience with his bodhran skills. I think it's nice they give some of the other artists some stage time, they really do have such an amazing supporting cast, who I thinks are oftentimes undervalued. This was a good way to integrate to show some of them off while having a lot of fun. Of course when the girls pop out and are something along the lines Angry and the choir Embarrassed , that's when there's some trouble. The choir members take their place on stage, while Lisa comes down a few steps and gives them each a reprimand as they walk past her. She tipped us a wink as well Wink This is one of my favourite Celtic Woman songs, and while I enjoyed the Songs from the Heart version, the new version really brought this song to life. I love the new choreography as well! I can't wait to see this on the Emerald DVD.
Quick note: Mairead C's dress was the same style as the other girls, but with a different material. I think it was the same one Mairead N used on some TV appearances (the shiny one) but the lighting made it hard to tell.

Shenandoah: This was the first Celtic Woman song I ever heard live (at Westfield Penrith, June 2010) and it was lovely to hear again. I heard a gentleman a few seats down singing the words. I sung the first verse, but I couldn't remember the words after that Wink Then it transitions into the dance battle. Between Mairead and Craig, this was an incredibly action packed number. It was met with raucous applause.

The Voice: An incredible song in its own right, but with Susan's performance, it was just stunning. Her voice was incredibly pure and agile, but retaining the power we all know and love. The lighting was fantastic as well, and it seemed the stage was a world of its own and Susan a Great Deity. The seasons changed and as the song reached a climax, the world thundered around her as her voice filled the universe.

You Raise Me Up: The show was drawing to a close which of course was very sad, but we were well compensated with an amazing rendition of this song, that has been such an integral part of Celtic Woman. AS you would expect, it was an incredible song to witness. They were joined on stage by the Australian Girls Choir, they added an extra dimension to this show. It's an incredibly powerful song and was treated with a full standing ovation which lasted for a while and took Lisa trying to calm us for it to subside. She said that it sounded like we wanted another song to which we cheered nice and loud.   As they started, we took our seats.

The Parting Glass: A fitting end to an incredible show. Something that did give me a surprise was that Mairead gave Lisa a tuning note while we were cheering. I'd always wondered exactly how they made sure they hit the right note and now I have an answer. One of my favourite moments was when Zoe and I were just sitting, singing and swaying from side to side, and Lisa noticed and smiled and swayed with us. It was subtle, nobody else would have noticed, but we certainly did. I loved the acapella part where everybody on stage sings, including, it turns out, Mairead N Smiley which was fun to see, she gave us a big smile too Smiley We were on our feet before the song ended and the audience nearly drowned the ending out.

Finale/Mo Ghile Mear: I was almost a little worried that this wasn't going to happen. It looked like they finished the show with acknowledgements. Sure enough, however, the drums started. Incredible playing from Mairead and the band, some amazing dance moves from Craig who was greeted with massive applause (he really was on fire in Sydney). As the girls made their final entrances on stage we gave them another standing ovation. Lots of cheering, but the definition of bittersweet.

Ceili Playoff: We left them with a very warm send off as they left the stage. They danced around and having their last bit of fun before they left the stage.

We took a few photos with the stage once the show was over, I'm still waiting for those to come through. They started packing up immediately, which really shouldn't have surprised me I guess. After that, it was time to head back home with some fantastic memories. Now all that's left to do is to sit and wait for the next Australian tour I guess, which hopefully, isn't too far off!

I'll add some photos from the M&G soon, and hopefully of us at the end of the show!
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MarcusWongAUS
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 06:03AM »

Some of the photos from the M&G!


                                    Zoe, myself, Len and Kim




My Dad, who took such wonderful photos, got a chance to have a photograph too Smiley

My favourite photo from the M&G. I tweeted them and Susan retweeted it Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2014, 09:42AM »

   Wow, Marcus!  Those are fantastic!  At M&Gs here in the states, you wouldn't be given the opportunity to shoot so many poses with them!  The only way these could been better was if all four soloists were there! 

  Congratulations!  Shocked Shocked Cool
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2014, 11:56AM »

Great review and great pictures!!
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2014, 04:16PM »

What an amazing review Marcus, it bring back some memories of my last show Cheesy
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