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Author Topic: My Homecoming Tour Experience  (Read 807 times)
CWazyTom
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« on: April 14, 2018, 01:35PM »

I went to two Celtic Woman: Homecoming shows on back to back nights this week!

Here are some of my notes from the shows.


The Merch:

I must say, the merchandise table in London was the most pitiful I've seen. There were a few T-shirts, programs, and the Homecoming CD/DVD. That was about it. No signed CDs from Anto, no mugs, shot glasses, bookmarks, or any of the other things they've been selling on this tour. I ended up getting a Homecoming tour program. They didn't have any bags and I didn't bring any, so I had to place the program face up on the floor in front of me during the show.

The Merch table in Detroit was more up to par. I got a signed CD from Anto and one of the two new mugs. I checked out the T-shirts, but although I liked one of the shades of green, they seemed kind of generic this year. Besides, I already have more T-shirts than I know what to do with.

I wasn't paying attention before, but I did this time: yes, the prices are different in Canada than the US. They're not at par.


The Great Photo Fiasco:

I've been to the venue in Detroit a few times before and they've always been pretty strictly enforced a "no use of cameras in the theatres" policy. This time, I checked both the website and the notice from the tour in advance and it quite clearly stated that there was no video or audio recording, but non-professional cameras were permitted during the show. There was a sign at the entrance to the venue stating the same. However, security at this venue is very strict and they were telling people no camera usage at all beyond the lobby. Security argued that there were no cameras for the safety of the performers. Well, I can totally appreciate the importance of their safety. But security's interpretation was wrong. So Tony had them check with Sett, who confirmed that non-professional, non-flash photography WAS permitted. Ultimately, we were allowed to take pictures.


Venues and Audiences:

In London, Ontario, the show was in a junior hockey arena. This is the first time I've seen Celtic Woman in an arena rather than a theatre. I have to say the sound quality was great!

In London, the lower bowl was mostly if not entirely full. There weren't a lot of people in the upper bowl, but I think there were enough people there for the show to be profitable.

In Detroit, the show was at the Fox Theatre. It is truly a specacular venue, especially the lobby, which looks more like a palace than a theatre. The venue is within a few blocks of where the Detroit Tigers (baseball), Detroit Lions (NFL), and Detroit Red Wings (hockey) play. Quite a convenient little downtown area they've constructed.

In Detroit, there were definitely more people than when the Destiny tour came to Detroit. The centre aisle was pretty well occupied, including the balcony. The wings were about half full.

Both audiences were slightly more enthusastic than for previous Celtic Woman shows I've been to in the area. They clapped along when appropriate. I have to say I was REALLY surprised when I was one of the only people giving standing ovations for some of the brilliant solos. The audience reserved the standing ovations for the last few songs.

Tara got the biggest ovation of the girls by a noticeable amount. Anto and the tap dancer probably got bigger ovations than the girls. I mean, they were both impressive, but I never really quite understood why the girls themselves don't get a more thunderous ovations over here. Fans of the more traditional aspects of celtic music, I suppose or perhaps fans that haven't gotten over the departure of their favourite singers from years ago.

I overheard some pretty great comments from satisfied people as I was leaving the venues after the shows. I was getting a pretty positive vibe from those in attendance, so I think that bodes well for the tour continuing.

Side-note: The person I was sitting next to in Detroit was a massive Alex Sharpe and Lynn Hilary fan. We were both sad we couldn't see CaraNua in Utah in January and are both hoping there's another show later this year or early next year.



Meet and Greet:

There was no Meet and Greet offered for London (or Toronto), but there was for Detroit. I have to say, Detroit has some of the most expensive Meet and Greet prices of any PBS station I know of.

We were supposed to gather at the merchandise table 40 minutes before the start of the show, but Tony and I didn't see anyone else standing there getting close to 6:50. Someone else in our party asked what was going on and one of the event staff then led us over to the right wall of the theatre to wait for the Meet and Greet. For a while, we were the only two people in line. I'm not sure what the confusion was, but I guess there was a great deal of trouble tracking down everyone for the Meet and Greet. The actual Meet and Greet didn't start until about 20 minutes before the beginning of the show. With 18 people at the Meet and Greet, that wasn't leaving a lot of time.

Tony and I got to the back of the line just in case we needed a few extra seconds so we wouldn't take up anyone else's time in line.

This one was far more rushed than the previous Celtic Woman Meet and Greet I went to. It was basically in and out of the room in under 30 seconds for the people ahead of me.

I left my gifts for the girls along the wall to save a few seconds. I got them a postcard to thank them for coming to Canada, I wrote each of them separate letters with a story of how much they mean to me and a special little gift related to each story.

As usual, I had some well-rehearsed things I wanted to say to the girls. As usual, I ended up saying about 30% of what I planned to. I had planned things based on the amount of time I had last time. This one being far more rushed, I started trying to compress what I wanted to say on the fly. I got out some of the most important things, but the delivery would have been much smoother had I had a bit more time.

This time, I wanted to say something to each of the girls about a special song I had heard them perform the night before in London.

First in line was Susan. Long before Celtic Woman, From a Distance was once my favourite song. I've been wanting her to sing it for a long time. I requested it during "17 weeks 17 songs" and a few times when Celtic Woman has asked for song suggestions. I guess someone remembered. I told Susan it sounded very beautiful when she sang it.

Next was Eabha. Over 10 years ago, May It Be was the very first Celtic Woman song I heard in it's entirety. I told Eabha I loved the way she performed it and thanked her for bringing new life to a song that changed mine.

Mairead was third in line. I was getting pretty stressed out from having to rush things and was getting worried I would forget something. But I managed to tell her that Nella Fantasia was one of the songs that made me fall in love with Celtic Woman and that her version was breathtaking.

Tara was last and like last time, for some inexplicable reason, I forgot was I was going to say and just hugged her repeatedly while I was trying to remember what to say. LOL! Finally, I managed to get out that she played a lot of instruments well, her voice was gorgeous, but what impressed me most was no matter what was going on in my life or anywhere Across the World, she always found a way to make me smile.

I managed to hold the tears back again (barely) for the photo. The room was pretty well lit. This time, I was wearhing a tall had with shamrocks on it, as well as pins for each of the girls' fan forums. The hat was apparently sitting a bit too far back at the time, so you can't see the pins in the photo, but I thought the picture still turned out pretty well.

As I was walking out, I turned and said one more thing to the girls: that they were the voices I longed to hear and that when they performed together, there was no sound more beautiful. <3

The girls were really sweet as always and their warm smiles warmed my heart. I do wish there would have be a bit more time, especially given what this one, but despite my sloppy and hurried delivery, I'm pretty sure the girls could tell I care about them very much. <3


The Stage:

The stage was backed by curtains and there was a video screen behind the curtains. The stage had more dressing than it did for Homecoming. The stage design was very similar to Voices of Angels, but it seemed to me the stage was better decorated this time. The rises of the stage were covered with a material that looked a bit like granite. I thought the lighting was great.


The Show:

I had front row seats for both shows. In London, I was far stage left. For Detroit, I was stage right. It was a pretty good view, although it did make it more challenging to get pictures from such a steep angle.

There was quite a bit of overlap with the Voices of Angels set list. I don't mind them doing old favourites, but I was a bit surprised there were so many arrangements they had just performed on the previous tour.

The new songs were AMAZING!!!

Eabha's May It Be was hauntingly beautiful. A lot of former Celtic Woman performers have done a great job with this one, but this is my favourite.

Eabha's Wild Mountainside was also fantastic. I've had this one stuck in my head for 2 days already. Cheesy

Susan did an outstanding job with From a Distance. She sang it with a lot of feeling an incredible amount of power. Her voice is perfect for this song and arrangement. It's definitely my favourite Susan song now. I really hope they record this one! I'm really not sure how this didn't get a full house standing ovation. Politics maybe? It certainly deserved more than average appreciation.

Mairead's Nella Fantasia is very different than Chloë's, but oh my GOODNESS it is amazing! It's arranged in a way I would describe as a hybrid of classical and pop. The combination of her soothing, beautiful pop voice and her spectacular opera voice is breathtaking. She sings this with a tremendous amount of feeling. Like Susan's masterpiece, I'm very surprised this didn't result in a full-house standing ovation.

The new group songs were wonderful! Homeland is fun and catchy. The new ceili song, Murphy's Ballroom of Romance reminded me of the melody of Spanish Lady. It was lots of fun too.

Going Home was not the same song that CaraNua / Chloë performed. It's just the same title. This is the one written by Josh Osborne and Tom Douglas, performed by Mary Fahl in the movie Gods and Generals. It's a great pop song and the harmony was very satisfying. There are a LOT of songs in the second half that made me tear up they were so beautiful. This one really hit me hard for some reason. I loved it so much! <3

Similarly, The Long Journey Home (by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains and Elvis Costello) was was extermely satisfying. Like My Land, this song had a surprisingly profound impact on me. The girls performed it beautifully, but maybe I could sense the emotions of the girls from the front row or something, because this one had me bawling by the end.

Until a YouTube video pops up from the Homecoming Tour, here's Tommy Flemming performing The Long Journey Home (you may remember him from Orla's My Land DVD):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOF6zC5Bpr4

This show seemed to have a lot more base behind it than Voices of Angels did. It sounded SO good! I could swear they added a lot of base to Amazing Grace and You Raise Me Up and I think they sounded better on tour than they did on the albums or the DVD.

This show had a lot of high energy numbers. The choreography was outstanding. The girls really moved around the stage and they all showed off their dance moves, even Eabha! Holy moly they're all such great dancers! I was paying attention to their footwork during the second show, especially during Murphy's Ballroom of Romance and it was really impressive!

Speaking of dancing: yes, Susan performed She Moved Thru the Fair barefoot. From the front row, I could see her toenail polish. Wink


Set List

Act 1

1. Homeland
2. Mo Ghile Mear
3. My Heart Will Go On
4. She Moved Thru The Fair
5. Ard Ui Chuain / Dulaman
6. Sadhbh Ni Bhruinneallaigh
7. May It Be
8. Tara's Tunes (I especially liked the third one)
9. Danny Boy
10. Murphy's Ballroom of Romance

Act 2:

1. You Raise Me Up
2. Long Journey Home
3. For the Love of a Princess
4. Nella Fantasia
5. Walk Beside Me
6. Three's A Crowd
7. From A Distance
8. Wild Mountainside
9. Time to Say Goodbye
10. Going Home
11. The Kesh Inn
12. Parting Glass
13. Playoff



The Things They Do For Us:

As we likely all know by now, the girls have been through some rough times recently. Susan lost her aunt. Tara lost her uncle within a day of Dave Kavanagh passing away and unlike Susan, Tara didn't get time off from the tour to grieve. I could tell especially during the first show that Tara was really fighting it on stage. She was trying to put on a brave smile for her fans, but she was definitely hurting inside. As talented as they are, it's just as impressive that they can park all the things going on in their own lives and around the world and be what we need them to be.


Overall:

This just might be the best show (Celtic Woman or otherwise) I have ever seen.
If you have a chance to see this tour, see it, especially if you weren't able to see the Voices of Angels tour. Like Voices of Angels there was a lot of variety. This one seemed to have even more energy, more feeling, deeper base, and stronger percussion. If you're on the fence about any of the new girls, this show has the best chance of winning over your heart. There's no other experience quite as fulfilling as Celtic Woman and no other group so wonderful. <3
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 02:51PM by CWazyTom » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 03:16PM »

 Thank you for this thoughtful and insightful accounting Tom.   Smiley
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2018, 05:45PM »

Oh, in case anyone is wondering...

When they announced the performers at the end of the show during The Playoff, they used the girls' names before they got married (stage names):

Susan McFadden
Tara McNeill
Mairead Carlin
...
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2018, 06:03PM »

Oh, in case anyone is wondering...

When they announced the performers at the end of the show during The Playoff, they used the girls' names before they got married (stage names):

Susan McFadden
Tara McNeill
Mairead Carlin
...
Makes sense. I think that is commonplace in the entertainment business. They might use their married names in their personal life and use their maiden names in their professional lives. Or they could be like Meav,Lisa K. or Mairead N. who simply kept their maiden names period .   Cool (as far as I know)    Undecided 
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2018, 06:54PM »

Tom- Very nice write up about your tour experience.

I saw them in Lancaster the day of Dave Kavanagh's passing (Friday, April 6, 2018) and that was a very emotional show. When they announced his passing before they sang "My Heart Will Go On" , I was fighting back tears as well as during other parts of the night and especially at the end when they put Dave's picture up on the back screen (which I don't think they knew was going to happen).

 
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2018, 09:41PM »

Tom- Very nice write up about your tour experience.

I saw them in Lancaster the day of Dave Kavanagh's passing (Friday, April 6, 2018) and that was a very emotional show. When they announced his passing before they sang "My Heart Will Go On" , I was fighting back tears as well as during other parts of the night and especially at the end when they put Dave's picture up on the back screen (which I don't think they knew was going to happen).

 

I soooo wish I could have been there for them that night. It must have been really hard for them.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 11:04PM »

I can't believe I almost forgot to mention this...

Unique Moments:

During the show in London, Susan had to leave the stage for a moment early in the show (maybe right after Mo Ghile Mear).

I think it was My Heart Will Go On when the other girls started introducing the song, hoping Susan would get back to the stage in time.

I once asked Lisa and Chloë if Celtic Woman had anything planned / rehearsed for when unexpected things happened during a show. I never got an answer to that one, but I guess it would have been no.  Grin

Mairead went impromptu for a bit and stalled by thanking the audience for coming and how we were doing. Then she said Susan had to leave the stage for a moment to fix something with her dress. They started introducing the next song but by the time it got around to Susan's line, she was still getting things fixed up, so Mairead giggled adorably and said something like "this is a live show and things do go wrong from time to time ... so ... I guess we'll just wait for Susan."

20 seconds later or so Susan, hurried back on the stage smiling and let us know she had a "wardrobe malfunction." The crowed liked that one and laughed. I'm pretty sure it was just one of the straps on the back that was loose. Fortunately for Sue, she didn't get quite as exposed as Janet Jackson.

Susan then asked what she missed, then said something like "oh, wasn't I supposed to say something here...so this song we'd love to perform for you now is very dear to our hearts. This is My Heart Will Go On."

Lol. Not the smoothest segue into that number, but it was a fun and unique little moment. The crowd reacted well and we got to see the girls just be themselves on stage for a bit during what is otherwise a pretty heavily scripted show.
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