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Author Topic: Review: CW 20th Anniversary PBS Special - SPOILERS!  (Read 1590 times)
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« on: November 28, 2023, 06:32AM »

After seeing the special, here's some thoughts of mine Smiley

- The Helix looked spectacular as always, I only wish there was more light. A lot of the times everything was quite dark and the lights were more on the public. It kind of reminded me of the lights on Destiny, just a little bit better.

- For the first act the girls wear a-line gowns, pretty similar to one another but in different shades of blue.

- Is Sinne Mná na hÉireann as the opening number was awesome. I loved the initial dancing, the choir, the epic feel, Tara's performance. It then transitions into"Tread Lightly" with Muirgen, Mairead and Emma (it will be reprised later) and then it transitions again into Dulaman.

- Dúlamán as a group number is even better than before. The arrangement is the current one with minor differences such as the fiddle/Uillean pipes solo. Meav's entrance (she wears a very elegant "caftan" blue sparkly dress) was very cool and I loved how she was the centre of the choreography. She is then introduced by Muirgen, then she introduces Emma.

- Rainbow was the solo for Emma. A very nice song and her voice is truly lovely. I would have liked a little more energy or substance to it, but still very nice.

- Lay Your Head Down was the solo for Méav, with Tara on the fiddle. Just fine, classy, flawless, everything you would expect from Méav.

- The Dawning of the Day is then performed, it's basically the PFI version but of course you have Mairead and Emma with Muirgen instead of Chloe and Megan.
- When You Believe is Chloe's solo, the PFI tour version. I still prefer the SFTH version, I think it was more powerful and rich. This one seems a little rushed, but nice nonetheless, she had great energy and it was beautiful to see Chloe's family in the seats. You can tell she was very emotional. Her black dress looked stunning.

- Sionann (Shannon) is sung by Muirgen and Emma, who also plays the piano. A beautiful ballad indeed, and their voices blend beautifully.

- Cinema Paradiso is Mairead's solo. I loved her different dress for this one (though I don't understand why she was the only one to get that), very fairy-princess like. The arrangement was excellent and the voice is always fine. As an Italian, I can hear her pronounciation is not always perfect, but she doesn't make real mistakes, it's just a matter of how it sounds. If you don't know the lyrics, even if you're Italian, you might non understand them fully at the first listen. Compare to Josh Groban's version (it's called "Se") to see what I mean.

- An Cailín Dearg is a beautiful and emotional solo by Tara. Just beautiful, nothing more to say.

- I Know My Love as a group number and with a new arrangement is much, much better than the Emerald version which many of us only have heard on Youtube. This one has the right beat, the right energy, it's fun.

- Tread Lightly is then reprised as a brief duet by Mairead and Muirgen, it basically serves as an introduction for Mairead Nesbitt's solo which comes right after. They perform this with their second act pink dresses, while Mairead wears a corset+short skirt outfit which looks quite reminiscent of her Believe look.

- Granuaile's Dance stars in a slightly different way compared to the first version, but at a certain point it becomes more like the classic one, with just a few minor differences. Mairead's performance is stunning as always, it's hard to believe she's done this for literally decades. Kudos to Emma for the dancing in the first part. At the end of the number the girls come in and Mairead Carlin praises Mairead Nesbit before introducing Danny Boy.

- Danny Boy features a different intro but it's basically the PFI version. We heard it so much there's no need to add anything.

- Amazing Grace is next and this too is just a little bit different, but not too much, from the current version. The singing is basically the same.

- A Stór Mo Chroí is the beautiful solo for Muirgen, with Tara on the fiddle. The song and the performance were just stunning, Muirgen was serving us Lisa Lambe's "Black is the Colour" energy if you know what I mean. It was classy, haunting, intense, traditional and contemporary at the same time. One of the highlights for me.

- Téir Abhaile Riú is then performed in "ceili" dresses, the arrangement is the current one with a few minor differences. At a certain point Mairead Nesbitt comes in and engages in an epic fiddle battle with Tara. Gorgeous to see them together.

- Caledonia is Lisa Kelly's solo, performed with a lot of artificial mist and with Tara on the fiddle. It was nice to see and hear Lisa again with CW after she said she was done with it, but I'm also sorry to say her performance didn''t thrill me as the others did. It was all a little "less" compared to the ANJ version. My guess is that she's possibly had some trouble with her voice in the last years, but please correct me if I'm wrong. I would have preferred to hear a choir with her, and maybe a more powerful arrangement. If not, it would have been better to perform it earlier and not before the last two numbers. At the end Lisa gives a little speech. Her black dress was spectacular and she wore very sparkly shoes.

- You Raise Me Up is then introduced by Tara as a tribute to all the soloists who have been a part of CW. Unfortunately they weren't actually mentioned of showed, it would have been nice to see a slideshow of them. The song is performed by the current girls in the first part, then by the originals in the second. They all join in the end and it was really beautiful to see them all like this.

- The Parting Glass is then introduced by a very emotional Chloe. Honestly, I felt like it lacked a little power if compared to the PFI version despite the fact that eight girls were performing instead of four. Let's say it was a more gentle version, like a soft goodbye.

- A note on Orla not being mentioned: this is the thing that really saddenend me. I can (partially) understand not mentioning everyone, but Orla has been one of the original members and one of the most unique among them in 20 years. Whatever the reason for her absence, she should have been acknowledged in some way. If I were the production, I would at least put in some kind of video message from her. On the other hand, it's possible that it was Orla's choice to not be a part of this whatsoever. I don't know. It's just sad.

- Overall, this was very bittersweet for me. I really enjoyed it, but I also feel like we're far from the former glory days of CW. Some things get better, some things don't. I can't wait for the DVD and CD to come out so maybe we can get a little more material Smiley
« Last Edit: November 28, 2023, 07:52AM by Excalibur » Logged

Honorary Roadie
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Alex Lynn as next guest DVD, Susan LL next Castle

« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2023, 07:09PM »

I loved your review! And I love your banner and the color choices.

Are you on the new forum? :-)

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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2023, 08:51PM »

Lisa K had to have some significant voice-impacting surgery a few years ago although I wouldn't be surprised if there were performance nerves as well, especially since she doesn't perform regularly these days. I loved the lighting effect during Caledonia.

I didn't like Amazing Grace, Danny Boy, or The Parting Glass as most of the other arrangements. They were basically the Gavin Murphy vocal arrangements overlaying new Brian Byrne backing orchestration. I'm sure there's a level of sophistication I'm failing to appreciate, but it sounded to me like the backing arrangement was doing the exact opposite of what it should have been at points in those songs. It was squashing the intended emotional impact of the words and the vocals. I dissected it a bit more detail in my members-only writeup on the new forum (

You Raise Me Up was really good. It would have been even better with the beautiful second verse and a 20-year-tribute-montage, but in all fairness there was a quite a bit of fan service in the 20th Anniversary special already.

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