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Author Topic: Celtic Woman: Homecoming PBS Special (Summary / Review)  (Read 9805 times)
CWazyTom
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« on: November 27, 2017, 11:59PM »

Tonight, I finally got to see saw the Celtic Woman: Homecoming PBS special!

------------------------- SPOILERS BELOW !!! -------------------------
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Set List

Opening: Homecoming Lament

1. Mo Ghile Mear
2. My Heart Will Go On
3. Across the World
4. Walk Beside Me

First pledge break

5. Dulaman
6. She Moved Through the Fair
7. Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears
8. Danny Boy
9. Fields of Gold
10. Westering Home

Second pledge break

11. Amazing Grace
12. For the Love of a Princes
13. Ave Maria
14. The Voice
15. You Raise Me Up

Third pledge break

16. Ard Uí Chuain/Sadhbh Ní Bhruinneallaigh
17. Time to Say Goodbye
18. The Kesh Inn
19. Teir Abhaile Riu

Closing pledge break



Least Favourite Things

- There weren't very many negatives to this production. It was well done!

- I found the volume a bit low. I had to turn it up to about 150% of my normal TV-viewing volume for it to be an ideal sound level. Not quite as extreme as the Divinas DVD, which I usually have to play at 200% or more of my normal volume.  Cheesy

- The Voice. Don't get me wrong, I love Susan and she was definitely good. She didn't go into her full broadway voice for this particular performance though, so it was lacking a bit of power. Still, a pretty good cover of a challenging song.



Favourite Moments

Anabel Sweeney:

I knew from people that went to the recording at the 3Arena that she was going to be good and was very well-received by the audience. I also knew she was REALLY good from her My Land and Orphan Girl audition videos for the Celtic Woman competition on YouTube. But she absolutely blew me away! Fields of Gold was exceptional! The piano arrangement was very nice. Anabel's voice was gorgeous, but it was the way she sang, with such feeling, that was the most impressive. I can't say that it was the best version of Fields of Gold that I've ever heard (doing so would be blasphemous), but I will say this with absolute conviction: this performance was tied for the best performance I have EVER heard over this song. I can see her being in Celtic Woman one day. She was that good!


The song titles:

It seems like such an insignificant thing, but I really like the way they presented the titles for the songs on the screen. They did a sweeping fade-in of the text, accompanied by a tasteful glitter effect that made it seem very magical. They've always done a great job with the song titles and this was no exception.


The Dancing:

Mairead Carlin's during Dulaman was near-epic! She is sooooo good! I loved it during the tour and I loved it even more during the special!

Susan seemed even more graceful during She Moved Through the Fair than she was on tour.


Eabha's Nerves:

That probably sounds like an odd thing to call a highlight. She was a bit nervous, particularly when introducing Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears. I list this as a highlight (for me), because it emphasized that these girls are human beings and like everyone, have to overcome challenges, even when they're performing. As someone that struggled mightily with performing a long time ago, I was soooo proud of her for holding it together. I respect her even more as performer and as a person for having seen her go through that. <3


The orchestra:

They had a decent-sized orchestra on stage with them. It doesn't make financial sense for them to tour with an orchestra, but it does add quite a bit to the grandeur of the production and fills out the sound very effectively.


The Kesh Inn:

As it was on the tour, this was really fun, both in terms of the tune and its overall execution. Side-note: The girls came out and played their "TAR" instruments during The Kesh Inn instead of TAR. Susan played spoons, Eabha the tin whistle, and Mairead played her accordion "Beatrice."


Tara:

I LOVED her on tour and she seemed even better in this special! She moved around the stage so well. She plays with lots of feeling and those little facial expressions were even more adorable up close. I honestly think most members of the general viewing audience, in spite of missing Mairead, are going to LOVE Tara!



Most Surprising Moments

- Anabel: for some reason, I was thinking she was going to be exclusive to the DVD. I was pleasantly surprised when I got to see her.

- The ending: I had suspected they were going to end on Teir Abhaile Riu since that's the way they ended the sizzle reel. In the sizzle reel, the songs are almost always in order, and include the first and last numbers in the show. Still, I was expecting the Parting Glass in some capacity. Nope! It looks like it's a DVD-exclusive. TAR wasn't a bad song to end on, but it was a bit surprising.


Other Moments of Interest

They added some echo to Danny Boy. It probably wasn't necessary, but it ended up being a nice effect and worked out pretty well.

At the end of TAR, Eabha said "you have been the most incredible audience." Shades of Lisa Kelly right there. "You raise me up..." oh wait, they ended on TAR instead.  Cheesy



Pledge Breaks

As far as pledge breaks go, it was reasonably good, but I have seen more effective segments. The pledge drive on my PBS station for The Bloody Irish, for example, was VERY well done. They really made me feel passionate about me getting the DVD. I mean I was probably going to get it anyways because of Lisa Lambe, but they REALLY marketed it well.

I will say this though, they did an excellent job of emphasizing how amazing the current girls are. They addressed the fact that the group has changed a lot, but re-iterated that the current girls were every bit as talented as we've come to expect from Celtic Woman. I was so happy I almost cried.  Cheesy

They were especially high on Tara! They repeatedly praised her skills on the violin, that she could play harp, dance around the stage, and even sing! They liked her long, red hair, too. I think they understood from previous campaigns that there would be some resistance to a new girl replacing a long-time favourite. They didn't compare her to Mairead Nesbitt (they didn't mention Mairead). They just focused on what makes Tara special and I thought that was the perfect way to approach it.

The premium (front 2 rows, non M+G) tickets sold pretty quickly, which is encouraging, and the phones seemed busy. They actually had people holding for a while.

The hosts had some knowledge of the group, but were definitely not superfans. One of them consistently mis-pronounced Tara's name (she pronounced it "TER-a" instead of "TAR-a"). The other host pronounced it correctly a few times. In typical fashion, the group was occasionally (maybe half a dozen times) referred to as "The Celtic Woman" or occasionally "Celtic Women" (plural). I wasn't offended this time. I just found it funny that they're going to all the trouble to promote this group that has been one of the backbones of their station for the past 13 years, and they still don't know the name of the group or its members. They also said the group started in 2005 ... well, not exactly. They debuted on PBS in 2005, but the original show at the Helix was on September 15, 2004.  Wink

I'm not sure if they did it intentionally or not, but when describing the voices of the performers, they said it was like listening to voices of angels.  Wink  That was a nice touch.


Anticipated Reactions

- Most fans of Current Celtic Woman will love it!
- Some fans who have become disenchanted with the group over time will probably not feel differently about this special than they did about other recent specials.
- However, some fans of the New Celtic Woman who just didn't enjoy Destiny (particularly, the Destiny special) will enjoy this production more. It was a set reminiscent of Emerald, in contrast to the the minimalist set of the Destiny special. They did away with the video screen for the Homecoming special, so that should appease those that didn't care for the video screen on the Destiny or VoA tours.
- Most people who haven't seen / heard Celtic Woman before will probably love it.



Overall Impression

I loved it!!!

I thought it was pretty heavily front-weighted, in that most of the best moments came in the first half. The second half was still very good, but I enjoyed the first half even more by a noticeable amount. I suspect some of that perception is based on be being sooooo excited that I burned off most of my adrenaline store in the first half.

The third segment definitely had less energy (regardless of my own energy level) and slowed the momentum of the show a bit. You may recall It took me a long time to get used to the Voices of Angels arrangements of YRMU and Amazing Grace. It wasn't until the tour I started to really enjoy them as much as the other songs. In this special, both the songs regressed a bit from the tour versions in my opinion. They were still good, but I there were many songs on the set list I enjoyed more.

The last segment brought the energy level back up (the audience was clapping along during Eabha's Sean Nos songs) and they finished strong with The Kesh In and TAR.

In spite of burning myself out a bit on account of my overwhelming excitement, I really did enjoy the whole show. The stage looked great, the dresses were stunning and everything sounded fantastic ... in short, this show was just about everything we have come to admire about this group we love so much.

Thanks everyone for reading my novel and I hope you enjoy Celtic Woman: Homecoming as much as I did!



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------------------------- SPOILERS ABOVE !!! -------------------------
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 10:39PM by CWazyTom » Logged

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rfcw
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 09:26AM »

Very really nice a-lot of insights & such an interested article or novel in read for me 100%. You make awesome reviews! Wink

I have read it ..but haven't
Gotten chance Yet to watch it!

I came home Saturday me and mom discovered Celtic Woman was on GPB. Got Really Excited
Pulled a chair-----
Result it was the ending of the pledge of it. \

No big deal

Surprises to look forward too!...


In the meantime
The Beatle's Documentary was As spectacular & AMAZING Roll Eyes Shocked
I learned a-lot! Such passionate, faithful united group boys they are like CW.
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Maloney
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2017, 01:43PM »

looking forward to seeing it !
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Hubert
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2017, 03:00PM »

Thanks for the nice review.  Since the girls will not be appearing in my local market next spring, I probably will not get to see this Homecoming PBS special.
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2017, 03:28PM »

From reading your review, I take it that Tara did not get to sing any.  Angry
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2017, 06:36PM »

From reading your review, I take it that Tara did not get to sing any.  Angry

Not in the PBS special.

I'm pretty she does on the DVD, since that slipped out during one of the pledge breaks that "Tara sings." Water Under the Bridge, most likely.
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2017, 06:55PM »

I watched Celtic Woman: Homecoming again!

This time I watched the two halves separately over the course of 2 days.

I get so excited while watching the first half, I almost have to recover a bit or my energy is too low when it comes to the third part of the special and it takes most of that segment to recover.  Cheesy

I don't think I've had that happen to me on a Celtic Woman special or DVD before.

Re-watching the second half, I enjoyed You Raise Me Up and Amazing Grace noticeably more than the first time. It seems that the extent to which I enjoy these renditions of those songs is dependent on how I'm feeling at the time. Most Celtic Woman songs have the strongest effect on me when I'm feeling down and my soul is weary. But its when I'm already filled with wonder (and not exhausted from cheering for Tara) that these two versions sound the most Amazing.  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 01:18PM »

I watched Celtic Woman: Homecoming again!

This time I watched the two halves separately over the course of 2 days.

I get so excited while watching the first half, I almost have to recover a bit or my energy is too low when it comes to the third part of the special and it takes most of that segment to recover.  Cheesy

I don't think I've had that happen to me on a Celtic Woman special or DVD before.

Re-watching the second half, I enjoyed You Raise Me Up and Amazing Grace noticeably more than the first time. It seems that the extent to which I enjoy these renditions of those songs is dependent on how I'm feeling at the time. Most Celtic Woman songs have the strongest effect on me when I'm feeling down and my soul is weary. But its when I'm already filled with wonder (and not exhausted from cheering for Tara) that these two versions sound the most Amazing.  Wink

Im just so jealous of those of you that are getting to watch the special! Ours isnt showing until March. I would think the DVD would be available by then!! hoping something comes to youtube soon!!!
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2017, 03:15PM »

I watched Celtic Woman: Homecoming again!

This time I watched the two halves separately over the course of 2 days.

I get so excited while watching the first half, I almost have to recover a bit or my energy is too low when it comes to the third part of the special and it takes most of that segment to recover.  Cheesy

I don't think I've had that happen to me on a Celtic Woman special or DVD before.

Re-watching the second half, I enjoyed You Raise Me Up and Amazing Grace noticeably more than the first time. It seems that the extent to which I enjoy these renditions of those songs is dependent on how I'm feeling at the time. Most Celtic Woman songs have the strongest effect on me when I'm feeling down and my soul is weary. But its when I'm already filled with wonder (and not exhausted from cheering for Tara) that these two versions sound the most Amazing.  Wink

Im just so jealous of those of you that are getting to watch the special! Ours isnt showing until March. I would think the DVD would be available by then!! hoping something comes to youtube soon!!!

The DVD should be available in January, with a pre-order announcement likely in December.
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Oh you have made me very angry, very angry indeed!


« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2017, 06:01PM »

Any idea when the CD comes out? That's what I'm gunning for! I want Eabha's Sean Nos songs, Water Under The Bridge, and, my fave from Destiny, Westering Home.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2017, 08:17PM »

Any idea when the CD comes out? That's what I'm gunning for! I want Eabha's Sean Nos songs, Water Under The Bridge, and, my fave from Destiny, Westering Home.

They should both be available in January as far as I know.

We should hear something from Celtic Collections pretty soon.
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Kevin R.I.
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 05:39AM »

Saw it last night on my local PBS station....OUTSTANDING show! Love the music with many familiar numbers. Would like to see Annabel Sweeney become a permanent addition to the group. Really looking forward to my show in April.
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thanks EVI

Hi Kev, I sneeked into your account as you know, wanted to say: love you!!!!

Love, Evi.
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2017, 12:44PM »

Was able to see it last night.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2017, 06:52PM »

anyone else think Anabel Sweeney looks like a young Blonde Lisa Lambe?
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2017, 03:04PM »

anyone else think Anabel Sweeney looks like a young Blonde Lisa Lambe?
now that you mention it...yes, I see what you mean. It`s on again on my local PBS station tonight so I`ll take particular notice.
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thanks EVI

Hi Kev, I sneeked into your account as you know, wanted to say: love you!!!!

Love, Evi.
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