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Author Topic: Celtic Thunder: Celtic Thunder X (Tour)  (Read 580 times)
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« on: October 05, 2018, 08:05PM »

Celtic Thunder X Tour: My Thoughts

Last night, I saw Celtic Thunder live for the first time. Here are my thoughts...

Just before the show started, they played a nice personalized message from Ryan Kelly to the fans in Canada. It was funny, but also thoughtful and appreciated.

Set List

Act 1

1. Sons of Light (it was an instrumental, I think this was the one, but I'm not 100% sure) / Skyrim
2. The Crow on the Cradle
3. Galway Girl (Ed Sheeran song)
... They did a comedic segment in between songs
4. Wild Rover *
5. Toora Loora Lay
6. Right, All Right
7. Phil The Fluter's Ball
8. I Useta Lover
9. Finnegan's Wake
10. Always There
11. Seasons in the Sun
12. Caledonia *
13. Castle on the Hill *

Intermission: 20 minutes

Act 2

1. Celebration
2. Feels Like Home
3. When I Was Your Man *
4. I'm a Believer
5. Much Too Young (To Feel This darn Old)
6. Bye Bye Baby
7. Streets of London
8. Turning Away
9. Hallelujah *
10. On the Street Where You Live
11. The Devil Went Down to Georgia
12. L-O-V-E
13. Rise Again *
14. Lannigans Ball *
15. Ireland's Call *

Show length: ~ 2 hours 10 minutes

Venue and Seats

This was my third time seeing a show at the venue. I had seen Celtic Woman Voices of Angels and Riverdance in the same theatre last year. For those shows, I was on the ground level of the theatre. This was my first time sitting in the balcony in this venue. I was sitting first row of the balcony (third level), centre. The balcony seat was good. There was lots of leg room. There was a railing at the front edge of the balcony. It wasn't in my line of sight, but I thought before the show it might be a distraction as I watched the show. It didn't end up being a problem at all. There was great stadium-style seating in the balcony area. There would be almost no chance of having your view blocked by someone's head in front of you regardless of where you were sitting in the balcony. There were closer seats available (about 10-15 rows back from the stage), but the balcony seats were cheaper. I also wanted to try out watching a show from that far back as a sort of test for how far back I'd be willing to sit if I see Celtic Woman at Red Rocks. I couldn't really see the faces of the performers. I could tell who they were, but my eyesight wasn't good enough to pick up any facial expressions at all. Given that Celtic Thunder places emphasis on theatrics in their shows, I think I missed out on part of the show. It definitely made it tough to pick up on their energy being that far back.

At Johnstown Castle, I chatted with some people that had been to Red Rocks a few times, who suggested sitting about half way up the stands. Based on my experience at the Celtic Thunder show, I don't know if I'd want to sit that far back for a Celtic Woman show, even to take in the awe inspiring surroundings at Red Rocks. I couldn't see Nicole Hudson's facial expressions at all. Seeing Tara's adorable expressions add a lot of dimension to her already amazing performances and I don't think I'd want to miss out on that. If I end up getting seats more than a few rows from the stage at Red Rocks, I'm definitely going to have to bring binoculars.


The theatre was almost completely filled, which was a pleasant surprise given what an abysmal (and quite frankly, embarassing) turnout there was for the Celtic Woman show last year. At the Celtic Woman show:
- The first 4 rows had been reserved for people who subscribed to a bundle of shows at the venue.
- Most of the subscribers weren't Celtic Woman fans, I guess, because most of those seats were empty.
- It felt more like a theatre in Ireland, where people prefer not to sit close to the stage.
- The theatre for the Celtic Woman show was only about 60%-70% full.
- I felt sooooo bad for the girls and as convenient as it was for me to get to the venue, I wouldn't want them to come back here. They deserve soooo much better.

Like the crowd for the Celtic Woman show, the audience in attendance was ok but not what I would consider a great audience. There were a few younger people there, but they were certainly the minority. The crowd wasn't overly enthusiastic. They clapped along to some songs but the audience participation wasn't nearly at the same level as the Nathan Carter show I saw in Toronto last year. Even the applause for the songs they liked seemed a little restrained. I was actually surprised the energy level in the crowd wasn't higher.

Aside from the end of the show, Nicole Hudson got the biggest, loudest ovations of the night. She deserved it as she was fantastic!

There were a few people that wore kilts to the show.

The Show

The stage setup was pretty basic. It was somewhat similar to the a Celtic Woman tour set, except there was only one percussionist and the stage was more laterally condensed (less space between the two wings of the band). The platform part of the set was narrower than it is for Celtic Woman shows. There was an oval video screen behind the stage where they projected images during some of the songs (similar to Destiny / Voices of Angels).

This was the first time I have seen Celtic Thunder live. I've heard a few of their songs and seen a couple of their PBS specials, but I'm certainly not as dedicated a fan as I am with Celtic Woman. I wasan't sure how much I was going to enjoy the show going in, but as promised, I went in with an open mind. It was a fun show and overall, it was better than I was expecting. It was a fun show and there were a few songs where I really enjoyed the harmony. The fourth singer does make a difference...

I definitely enjoyed the first act more than the second, as I knew from the PBS special would be the case. The first act was more Irish songs, whereas the second half had a larger proportion of retro popular music. The songs in the second half were good for the most part, but the song selection was just less interesting to me in the context of this show.

There were a few tracks that really stood out to me, mostly because of the outstanding harmony. Wild Rover was well-arranged and really fun, especially since this was the song that Lisa and Chloë taught us to sing in Peachtree City last year.
They did a great job with Caledonia and Castle on the Hill to close out the first act. Neil Byrne's cover of When I Was Your Man was very well done. I liked it better than the original.

Aside from the harmony, Nicole Hudson was my favourite thing about the show. I knew she was good, but I didn't realize she was THIS good. She moves around the stage a bit from time to time ... not quite as much as Mairead Nesbitt or Tara. When she plays accompaniment, I could pick up the sound of her violin pretty clearly without it being distracting. Sometimes during Celtic Woman shows I fell like the sound of Tara (or Mairead Nesbitt) playing accompaniment gets lost in the rest of the music. I didn't find that to be the case with Nicole Hudson. Maybe it's because Celtic Thunder sings at lower registers that Celtic Woman. Maybe I'm just so focused on the voices in Celtic Woman that I notice the sound of the violin less when it's played in accompaniment. In any event, her accompaniments were really effective. She was great during the instrumental features where she took center stage. She played with energy, feeling, and a surprising intensity (where appropriate). She also was really good at putting emphasis in the perfect spots to help move you along with the music. It was really impressive. Devil Went Down to Georgia and the instrumental just before the finale were outstanding!

All the songs I put a "*" next to were pieces that stood out to me during the show. But I think my two favourites were Rise Again and Ireland's Call. Those two songs were the closest I came to experiencing what I feel when I listen to Celtic Woman. Singing along to Ireland's Call live for the first time was awesome!

Overall Impression

Overall, I thought this was a good show. It was fun and they sounded better live than I was expecting. I enjoyed the live show quite a bit more than the PBS special. If they come nearby again, I would want to see them again. I'm not sure that I would travel too far out of town to do it. I would drive 7+ hours for Celtic Woman, but I don't know if I'd do the same for Celtic Thunder. Overall though, I'm glad I went to see them (finally). It was certainly worth the $50 it cost for a balcony seat. If they come nearby to you on this tour, consider seeing it. For fans that have seen them before, I can't comment whether you'll enjoy this tour compared to their previous tours, since this is the only live Celtic Thunder show I've seen. For Celtic Woman fans who haven't seen Celtic Thunder live before, I'd recommend doing what I did: don't expect it to be like Celtic Woman, because nothing else is that special. But go in with an open mind and you might just be surprisingly impressed like I was.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 08:08PM by CWazyTom » Logged

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Chandler Mattson
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2018, 07:47PM »

Nice review, Tom! I've been curious about the setlist, so I'm glad you posted it. I've seen Celtic Thudner live twice and Byrne and Kelly once, and they've always impressed me!
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2018, 09:36PM »

Nice review, Tom! I've been curious about the setlist, so I'm glad you posted it. I've seen Celtic Thudner live twice and Byrne and Kelly once, and they've always impressed me!


I almost went to see Byrne and Kelly earlier this year, but my choice was between seeing them and seeing Chloë with an orchestra. Sorry Byrne and Kelly (and Nicole), but my heart belongs to Chloë.

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