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Author Topic: Celtic Nights finale in Greenwood SC  (Read 980 times)
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« on: April 03, 2014, 11:29:08 AM »

  This would be a quick hitter swing for a single show. But it was an important show, the finale, just as the opener is. I was concerned my ear issues would bother the flying and they had been drained the week before with the doc punching holes in the ear drums to get them to drain. A lot of popping, gurgling and draining afterward especially on the flights. I planned to fly to Orlando and spend time with Ron. So, off to Orlando via American and Dallas after an overnight in Albuquerque. I arrived mid-afternoon and he picked me up and we headed over to Tilted Kilt for a late lunch. My first trip to that chain and we had a delightful little Farsi girl from Persia as our hostess. We then stopped to help a friend of his move some things then headed home. A restful night of sleep and then up for a nice day getting ready for a BBQ. Ron and I did a bit of shopping at farmer's market and then he spent the rest of the day as chef Ron. A good sized gathering including another avid fan, Lew, and the dinner was marvelous.

  Next day we are up very early to catch a morning Delta flight to Atlanta. There he would rent a car and drive us the three hours or so to Greenwood and Lander University, site of the venue and finale. It was a bit of an Irish day with plenty of rain. It fit my mood and all that I had rattling around in my head. I was going into this not in the best of circumstances. We met up with Eric and Linda Sterling and Ron's parents. The former had driven up from Florida and the latter down from North Carolina. Linda uses a wheelchair due to balance issues and so we decided to just make use of the school cafeteria in the same building. We were given the student rate since we were there for the show. Very nice and lots to choose from. While there many of the artists came in for dinner as well. They were intent on that and some simply waved and kept going. I had an uneasy feeling. Eric and Linda brought me nice gifts of a CW Emerald polo shirt and a CN finale ball cap. Very kind and very nice items. Thank you! I passed out buttons for everyone to wear and we were off to wait in line to enter the venue. Tickets were general admission. Venue staff was very nice, manly college kids. Doors opened and it is a typical college auditorium of about 600 capacity. It would be essentially sold out as they have been from almost beginning to end for their 52 shows. And that without TV exposure! The promotional people for the group and tour have their act together.

  The set list for the show settled down quite awhile ago and was shorter than the opener due to some venues requesting it fit within a certain time window. Fans, of course, don't know what "too long a show" means.  Roll Eyes This was my tenth show and each is different in small ways and the vibe always depends upon the audience and setting. it was a mixed crowd of us older types and college kids. It was a good mix and the reaction was wonderful. The artists, as we know here from CW finales, were on a different level. They always give their all but on a final night there is always a bit extra juice. They want to go out on a high and yet are so looking forward to home, family, friends, and their own beds that aren't on wheels shared with lots of other people. And so it was that the show made its way from strength to strength with vocalists, dancers, and musicians. It is not a high gloss major production like CW, they don't have that sort of budget. But it lacks nothing. Every artist up there is superb. There are many high points in the show for me and for the audiences. Ben and Stevie each have a solo bit that throughout the tour jazzed the audience. Ben is the amazing violinist and, BTW, you can hear him on the Hobbit Movie. How's that for creds?  Shocked Oh yes, you would all love him in a duet with our girl here. He shreds big time and is quite funny too. Stevie does the same with guitar and pipes. One of his teachers and mentors is Tommy Martin. He also has new chanters courtesy of Tommy. He is funny as well and brings a few Guinness faeries with him.  Wink The dancers, lead Gavin, Aidan, Leanne, Heather, and Ciara, are light and fleet of foot. They too get the crowd pumped up and have several bits during the show. They are from the same fine stable that long ago brought us shows such as riverdance and Lord Of The Dance. Shows we know here have a certain attachment to our fiddler. Male vocalists tonight are Gregor Firth from Scotland, Will Mulvey from the UK, and Ross William Wild from Scotland. Ross stepped in for Derek Moloney who did the bulk of the tour but went home recently to be with his wife and newborn. Derak Ryan began the tour but left early on for the same reason. All the gents are true showmen and have a nice list of credentials. Because of the recent swap to Ross the songs assigned varied from the ones I saw in Colorado and Texas. He now did the solo ones Will had been doing. Both do them well and bring their own strengths to it. The vocal harmonies are not the same without Derek, but they are still fine, just different. Best example of that is Auld Triangle which I tend to sing along with much to the distress of my neighbors. The ladies in the audience would sure be drooling during the show and at one point Ross launched himself off the stage and up the aisle. Again, I have to say these guys are great showmen. I was not sure what I would think of a show with males in addition to female leads when I went to the Nampa opener. Well, I'm sold. The female vocalists are Rebekah Robertson from Scotland, Rebecca Winckworth from County Wicklow Ireland, and Eabha McMahon from Dublin. Each are unique and their vocal ranges compliment each other so incredibly well to produce some beautiful harmonies. Bekah is the spokesperson and also staffs the office off tour. She has no shortage of stage experience and it shows. She does Caledonia in my book better than anyone and that is saying something. RW is a delight as well and in the finale she does Danny Boy rather than Derek doing that. Gorgeous. Then there is glorious full on alto Eabha (pronounced Eva) and she will fill a room with her sound. I am always moved by her doing Parting Glass and more so tonight as it was truly that, a parting, for them on stage and from all of us. Some of us more than others. They hugged each other and did so quite a bit as the show wound down. They became a family and the chemistry on stage was wonderful. I do hope for the sake of the audiences next year this same troupe remains. RW and E have albums for sale and I have both along with the CN one from the first year and one by Derek Moloney and one by Derek Ryan. Worth the purchase! It was a beautiful and emotional show and I'm so glad I had friends with me to share it. For all of them it was their first. Won't be their last. I want to thank Ron for the ticket, airfare going out, rental car, motel, etc. What a wonderful thing to do knowing my lack of employment and financial status.

  After the show there is a full cast meet and greet in the lobby. This happens every show and goes with the price of your ticket. I've had tickets as high as $100 (rare for them but depends on venue) and as low as $29. First come first served on best seats in house. Huge bang for the buck and credit goes to head guy Michael Durkan for that and for bringing the show to smaller venues and communities that would not normally get a high end show like this. And high end it is. Tonight it looked like much of the audience chose to stay after!  Tongue So, I held back and let my friends get their time and photos. I waited too long in some cases as some left before I could get to them. They had a long drive ahead of them to New Jersey for the flight home. New Jersey?! OK. I was able to meet Ross and also talk with Gregor, Ben, Stevie, and the female vocalists briefly. But my gut still ached with the things in my head. Things that needed to be cleared up and could not here in the time provided even if it was the appropriate setting. In the end I was not up to the task and actually made matters worse as you will see shortly. But I bid goodbye to them and they were polite and doubtless ready to party on the bus. Ron and I made the drive back to Atlanta and our motel, arriving about 2 am. Short night of sleep as we had a meeting that morning. It was one I had looked forward to for so long and was a delightful and positive thing that did my heart good. Later that day Ron and I would wing our way to our respective homes but not without major flight delays due to weather all along the east coast. Southwest got me back to Albuquerque three hours late as a result but back I was to write a review I should not have written and continue a dialog that was not going well.

   And here, is where my heart aches and where I have to fall on my sword. The Celtic Nights forum and associated pages are no more. They were pulled at Michael's request. All from serious misunderstandings, miscommunications, and heated rhetoric that did not need to be had things been addressed more promptly. A couple of issues popped up during the tour but in the end were things that could be moved on from. But an event took place on St. Patriick's day that lit a fuse best not lit. Eight of our familiar faces were there up front for that. One of our members was approached early in the first act and told to not take video. He explained he was not and it was photos only, which are allowed at CN shows as long as no flash is used and not with professional cameras. Later in the act he was approached and politely told his camera would have to be given up as he was taking photos. He did so and another member said they would fix it at intermission. Security then said he had been using flash which he had not. In the end many days later I would discover that it was the red light that goes off when a photo was taken and it was distracting the dancers. Such distractions cannot happen as it can be dangerous from impaired vision to ones moving around on stage as it would be for our fiddler here. Had it been explained that was the case the matter would have been dropped and understood. Instead it wa made worse by photos being deleted. In the days that followed another member made phone calls to the venue to get details and it just didn't add up. Again because of the inaccuracy of the details. I was asked to use my contacts with the group to resolve it even though I was not there. And so began a series of emails that included all of CN management and the other member. It was the wrong tool to use. I had phone numbers and should have used them. The email exchanges only made it worse and then it spread to the social network and began to upset the artists. I posted a finale review in the CNF that was positive until the last paragraph and in that I was going on lack of all the details. I have always been a good negotiator and good with words. But I failed badly in all of it this time. The initial crisis I blame on poor communications at the venue. All the rest I accept full responsibility for and that includes the demise of the CNF. Had I used the right tool and promptly all of this could have been averted. Now the artists feel an estrangement from fans and one fan still has unresolved issues that will continue to fester. I also made some errors in judgement in other communications thinking I was doing the right thing but involving a family member in business that was not appropriate. Communications yesterday resolved much of this with Michael, and a couple of others, but not before the damage was well done and all that had been built since last August torn apart. I was ineffective to both sides in resolving this and to them I owe a huge apology. To the members of the Celtic Nights Forum I apologize to you as well for the series of events that led to the demise of a fine and building archive for all the artists past and present. And to the artists I regret my words in the previous review which were out of line and any hurt or harm done to you, family, or friends. The other fan will do as they will as is their right to do. I am stepping aside from all of it and going offline for awhile. Everyone in this deserved better than what I provided. All my awards for customer service and communications skills go out the window with just one major bungle like this. Whether I attend future shows is uncertain but it would not be due to the artists if I did not. It is a fine show by superb artists, great bang for the buck, and I have many a fond memory and photo from it all. You deserved better.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 11:48:17 AM by Moscapoet » Logged

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