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Author Topic: Colorado Springs, Destiny 2016, Past and present living as one (two parts)  (Read 1136 times)
Moscapoet
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« on: May 30, 2016, 01:33:08 PM »

Warning.................very long!!! Hey, gimme a break, it's my only show of the tour!  Roll Eyes

    This review will take a different, and more philosophical approach than your normal review. A wonderful set list and who sang what is detailed in Mike Brown’s review and that of others here. I will endeavor to do some enlightening about show details but this day and evening was about many other things. It was about the fan family, giving, friendship, and the very best of what a Celtic Woman event has been over the years. Firstly, let me apologize for the lack of fadas (accents) in this review. It is not meant as a slight. It is my own technical lack of knowledge that all I know to do is copy and paste words rather than save multiple words or letters. Being a historian and geographer I understand that accents are key to pronouncing a name properly. Language itself is important. Irish does not have as many letters in it’s alphabet, so they have to use letter combinations to come up with certain sounds. For example, bh is pronounced as a v. Meabh we see somewhat Anglicized as Meav. Eabha with the fada over the E comes out as the name Ava with the first A being a long one. So, there is your language lesson for today! And the songs in this show have no shortage of fadas! It is perhaps the most Irish show they have ever done, even though there are more modern tunes mixed in with it, and the show has been Irish from the very start. So, as always, let’s start at the beginning.
    Last year, after show 101 for me, I opined perhaps it would be 101 and done for me. There were various reasons behind that. But, as these sirens and their attending musicians always seem to do, they pulled me back in. And there were many reasons for that. Firstly, was the bringing in of Eabha McMahon. I was drawn to her voice in the lead up to the Celtic Nights tour in 2014 and she hooked me good and proper. I was so used to sopranos and her voice was haunting and ancient in a young vessel. In many ways Orla was like that but without that sort of husky alto that Eabha has.  So, I knew the harmonies would be amazing. I did not watch the PBS special and I did not purchase the DVD. I had heard the CD in Georgia last December as some of us lounged in our room after the Lisa Kelly Christmas event. That was my only real taste of this new show. Secondly, CW was coming as close to me as they would ever get, Colorado Springs, and it was on a weekend so I could slip away from work without swapping too many days. And lastly, I could afford one show. So, I was late in looking, but I follow the link from the tour dates to find a good seat. I was thinking front row balcony. I’ve never seen the show from far away and I really didn’t mind them not knowing I was there. No such luck, and the floor seats were not all that good. So, I took a chance and followed the PBS link. Lo and behold there were still six pair of meet and greet left! Here was the first past lives with present moment. Here too was the first, things happen for a reason moment. Those threads wound through this whole thing from start to finish. Not to mention Eabha joining followed that theme as well.  So, I bought in and knew I’d have a person to go with me in Colorado concert pal, Amy Loseke. I then posted about my acquisition on Facebook and Dwight decided he now wanted a second show and meeting. But he had no one to buy the other ticket. That too would resolve itself in the weeks to come.
     I got a message from a friend I met back in 2009 in Albuquerque, Kelli De Planche. That 2009 show was special. Several familiar faces were there for that along with my brother and niece. We were going to give Mairead the first of the forum charity checks. Now departed friend, Glenn Skinner, was there as well. We did not know Kelli then but she was sure easy to spot. She is visually impaired and she had a big white poodle as her guide. But this poodle was dressed in a sparkly top hat and tails! She attended the show and not the meeting. And I have not seen her in person since. Here we go now with past lives with present. A friend of hers had seen the post CW had made for the charity Do It For Love. She wrote in to them about Kelli. She let them know Kelli was a veteran, visually impaired, had fought off cancer and won,  but had progressive MS. The charity got Kelli and her friends tickets for the show in the Springs. Kelli messaged me and asked me if I was going. As it happened I was. Perhaps we could meet up for lunch of dinner? OK. And then it hit me. Dwight’s extra pit seat and meet and greet. Kelli had always wanted to meet Mairead. I told Kelli I would get back to her and then messaged Dwight asking if he would comp the seat and meeting for Kelli. Our fan family is so generous and has been over all these years. He said yes, and I messaged Kelli back. She was thrilled. Things happen for a reason. There are no coincidences. And so we all began the short wait for the new journey. How appropriate this show is called Destiny. Everything that happened made that word grow bolder. And this was simply the groundwork for that for myself and the others.
    Day of show came. I had made plans to take the bus up to Denver and Amy would meet me, as she always does, and off to our concert event we’d go. She and I have been to previous two Colorado Irish Festivals and have plans for this year as well. The wife of the man I work with had been up to the Springs not long ago with a ladies group. They dined at a place called the Airplane Restaurant. She said the food was great and the place was very cool especially for someone like me. It is near the airport and is an old KC-97 Tanker converted to a restaurant with a bigger structure attached. Yep, I’m all for that. So I set it up with Kelli to meet us there. My dad flew propeller aircraft of that era when he was in the Navy. I just found something the other day while digging through boxes in spring cleaning. My dad and mom flew the commercial version of this aircraft, the Boeing Stratocruiser, to his first duty station in Guam in the mid-1950’s. I had the brochure from that Pan Am flight that went Portland, Honolulu, Wake, Guam. Past lives with present again. I did not include Dwight in this for a couple reasons. Main one was because I wanted he and Kelli to meet at the venue. Secondly, he has some interesting, but some would consider odd, ideas and I did not know how Kelli and her friends would react to those things. He and Kelli would share the show and meeting together. They had second row while Amy and I had front row. He was flying in to Denver and driving down. Kelli and five others were coming up from Edgewood New Mexico, which is quite a drive.
    On the ride down I opted to take some reading material. This was a quick trip so I did not even bring my laptop. I brought two books, one Tony gave me, and another someone at the thermal pool gave me. The latter was the one I chose to start with on the ride down. It’s called Original Thinking, and the author is a New Mexico resident. No coincidence again. It talks about thought and where it comes from and various other aspects of it. I did not read the book in detail but skimmed it and read chapters of interest and paragraphs that caught my attention. I’m a devoted Christian so some of what was here did not fit my worldview. But, I also know that it is important to understand other ways of thinking and at times they dovetail with each other or complement each other. I got caught up in discussions of time and its concepts and how various cultures viewed it as well as history. It talked a lot about native thinking here in this country from various tribes. But in reading this there were also concepts of ancient civilizations from around the globe. It did not really touch on Celtic but I already knew some of that already. Many cultures over human history have viewed past and present and time as cyclical. That they are more circular. Western civilization tends to look at time and history as linear, or a straight line. I know both concepts but tend to think more linear due to my education. But the rest of the world may not think that way. In part that is why we have some of the conflicts we do now. It talked about the turmoil of today and that it was yet another end of an era and transition into another seen throughout the history of humanity on Earth. I thought how CW too had moved in a linear way in some respects yet this show was a transition and a return to a foundation, a circle. It was a fascinating puzzle with pieces coming together. What I read in this book actually helped with my show perspective. Things happen for a reason. The book also talked about how in some cultures the past is never gone but lives with the present. It doesn’t mean you live in the past but rather it lives in you. The ancient Greeks saw the past as ahead of them as they could see it. They viewed the future as unseen and unknown thus it was behind them waiting to envelope them. Anyway, this was more foundation for the evening.
    My bus arrived around eleven and Amy and I were off to Colorado Springs amid holiday weekend traffic along I-25. No worries as we had plenty of time. We arrived at the restaurant first and waited a half hour or so for Kelli and her crew to arrive. It was just as billed, part museum, part restaurant and bar, and with good food. I do recommend it. Kelli and company arrived and we had plenty of hugs and handshakes. Conversation was brisk and all over the map. None of the others had been to a CW show before. But I also talked with a very nice lady Kelli called her sister. A gal maybe around my age who had been a truck driver.  But don’t get an image in your head of that. Think more like Lisa Kelly Ice Road Trucker than big belly tattooed and pierced woman you better not arm wrestle! And we got to talking about my digestive issues as I pondered what I could eat and not blow up like a balloon. She had the same thing and it is IBS. We talked about what to eat and what not to and other strategies and it was hugely helpful in what I talk with the doctor about on Tuesday. The others got an earful on CW as well as I talked about the group a bit, my history, and what to expect tonight. One young man, with his pregnant wife, was not so thrilled and had turned down going before. After the show that night he said if he ever goes to concerts again it will have to be CW. Such is the power, the charm and the magic of the music and the artists. It was a wonderful lunch and during it I got a phone called from a restricted number. I did not answer because I was in the middle of conversation. It may have been the local TV station whom I had contacted about coming out and meeting Kelli for a human interest story. We never saw them so that surprise did not pan out. We parted company, they to their hotel, and Amy and I to park near the venue. We opted to go to a nearby Irish pub we had been to last time CW was here. I risked gout and had a pint of Guinness. No gout came from it, thankfully. I love the black stuff. Part two next.
    
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 03:47:17 PM by Moscapoet » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2016, 01:35:01 PM »

    It was six by this time so we walked back to the venue. We met up with Kelli and her friends there and Dwight showed up later to get Kelli her ticket and meet and greet pass. We gathered by the merch table to await Sett to take us to the meeting. In the interim, when merch dude was not busy, I asked him how many autographed Raining Up CD’s he had. None, he said. He had to get more and they would be available again in a few shows. Bummer. I had planned to get ten of them to send out to those fans in the forum who would never be able to attend a show. Just cost plus shipping. So, I’ll ask Mike if he can do that when they come back east. Sett arrives and we walk back to the meeting area. Last time we were here it was a hallway near a loading area. Icky. This time it was a proper room. On the walk back I talked with Sett. Craig Newman, a fan from California and good photographer, had insisted upon sending me photos he had taken to get them autographed. I told him they don’t do that at meetings. He knew that and figured I could make some magic happen by the buses. I told him I was not going to do the bus thing. Amy doesn’t like doing that and feels it is an intrusion on their free time, and I had chosen to respect that and Amy and I would simply drive back to Denver after the show. Anyway, I had put Craig’s photos in a folder and put the folder in a large envelope. I wrote his address on it and used my return address and placed postage needed on it. I told Sett about it and asked if he could have the artists sign the items at their convenience and that I did not want to go hang by the bus and do that. He agreed and asked what to do after they were signed. I told him to simply put the contents back in the envelope, seal it, and drop it in the post. No problem. I then gave him four small thank you cards for the front four. There were twenty of us for the meeting. Somehow, Kelli’s friends also were gifted a meeting. I’m unclear how that happened but it was very cool. There were ten ahead of me and I was first of our group to go. I have had meetings more rushed, but I’ve had many less so. We were taken at 6:50 and they started the meeting at 7:10. I disagree with this policy and Amy was very upset with it later on when we talked about the show. It is too close to show time for either fan or artist. I understand why they don’t do these after any more but they need a better time for this. Were it me I would do it right after sound check before they go off to dinner or rest. Yes, it may not be possible for some who have to work before coming to the show. But it would go back to the way they did these early on. Allow a half hour mingle with photos and autographs and strictly limit it to no more than 20 people. More casual, far less rushed and more respectful of both artist and fan. And you could have a drawing for two people to sit in on sound check. Many other groups and artists have such meetings available. Anyway, it is what it is and does not detract from always delightful brief encounters with these amazing artists and lovely people. Ms. Nesbitt was first in line. I don’t think she had quite decided on a hand shake or hug and I would not assume the latter but we wound up grasping each other by the forearms and greeting each other.  I had time to say I was anxious for Hibernia and ask a quick question and then on to the whispy Ms. Carlin. A big hug and I told her I was ready for my next Carlinite fix. I asked her how her dad was doing and she said he was good. Then on to Eabha, who also, to my surprise, gave me a hug and said it had been a long time. I only saw her hug once with Celtic Nights and that was in Texas with Scott Taylor after he presented her with the buttons for her he had designed. Susan then followed with a hug of her own, another surprise for me, and I told her how much I loved the videos she and Brian had been doing. Then it was time for the photo. I had made up a sign to promote the fiddler’s upcoming CD and held it up. And then I was off telling them we would help juice the crowd as best we could. They did not shoo anyone out of the room and we waited for Kelli to get her time. Then we went off to our seats.
    Pikes Peak center is a very nice venue. It has two shallow tiers of balconies and some lower side boxes. It was packed tonight. It was not sold out but it was 90% plus. So, very nice. Amy had been to the Greeley show the night before and said the audience were bumps on a log. They were pretty dead and she said she could see on the artists’ faces they were a bit frustrated in spite of giving it their all and 100%. Amy said not even the fine fiddler could get them pumped. It did not help Amy’s perception of the show itself. She liked the high energy shows of the last couple tours and this show was subdued in comparison. But then, she is a died in the wool !00% Lynn fan and so anything without Lynn is not the same. Tonight would prove different, and the more energetic crowd made a difference. I hope it did for the artists as well. They seemed happy. Kelli’s friends were a few rows back and we knew they would help. Kelli and Dwight were to our left a few seats in the second row. I chatted with some of my neighbors and we had a handful next to us and behind us that would get with it. One lady behind me said she was full Irish heritage and her hubby was too. She had been nipping a bit so certainly was not inhibited! Funniest part of that couple was when Mairead Carlin was reading the history in the second act and talked about the British he mumble under his breath, “bastards”. Amy and I chuckled and had a laugh all night about that. It was a good audience and they clapped along a lot. Not many standing ovations  except from a  few of us now and then until the end when they all came to their feet. I would rate it a good solid B on my scale of audience. But then, I was at the first night Believe recording in 2011 and you’d have to create a grade higher than A+ for that night.
   And so I settled in for my only show of the tour. I had thought about taking set list notes and who did what and such but opted to just enjoy, interact, and take the whole thing in. The set is bare bones basic. But for this show no elaborate set is needed. The video screen and videos were not distracting and enhanced things at times. It was used effectively. Lighting was quite good with a only a couple delays in lighting the subject. Sound was good as well. Gone are many familiar faces from over the years. The only originals remaining are Eoghan O’Neill on base (also the group physician), Ray Fean on drums, and the heartbeat of Celtic woman from the start, Mairead Nesbitt. Anthony Byrne joined in 2009 and is still there. Brian McGrane is the other carry over from a couple previous tours. Everyone else is new to the ensemble. Gone is the balanced male-female choir. It is now four lads of very good quality. Perhaps the balance now is four front row ladies and four male choir. I went in knowing this and wondering what I would think. I have so delighted in many female choir members over the years. Even a couple of the male ones I had great interactions with. I was actually very pleased with this. The only place they were a bit short was in Orinoco flow where I could tell they were augmented by tracks with female choir in the past. Perfectly fine just as they add the orchestra that way. The lads seemed pretty personable and they were among some selling programs in the lobby before the show. There is one song where Ronan Scolard (MC's fiance) and Glenn Murphy do a duet montage of songs from Adele. MC introduced that and said the video of them had gone viral and even Adele had been positive about it. I understood after hearing this. Both fine voices with Ronan on piano. Glenn is amazing. So, as long time vocalist myself I appreciate this. Not even back in my day was I ever that good. I still sing in the little ensemble I’m in. But I’m far from what I used to be. There was also a drum solo that included the new female drummer, Catriona Frost. She is quite good but I got the feeling she could do a LOT more. Anthony came out with a djembe, something I too own and play. I also now own a Cajon which I know he can play as well. My thanks to Ron for getting me that. I get better with it all the time. I’m a drummer from way back but only hand drums and not sticks. So, I love percussion.
   The meat of the show is vastly different. Yes, Orinoco Flow is still there as is Danny Boy. Amazing Grace remains too. But all else is new. It is a bold, fresh new direction. We all owe David Downes a huge thanks for his creation and long time involvement. He brought us marvelous spectaculars and wonderful talent. He is a master and remains a fine craftsman and artist. He will always be synonymous with Celtic Woman. But a new team and new creation has been born. That is detailed very much in the new program I picked up after the show. I knew Meav was involved again. She has a page and is listed as vocal director. But she also had a hand in the music selection and direction of the show. Many fans over the years have come and gone. Some left because their favorite artist left. But others left when they felt the show had lost its “Irishness”. I have taken each show, tour, and artist, individually. Each has been beautiful in their own right. Each artist over the years has left their own legacy and mark in CW history. Each show has had its unique flavor. Do we each have favorites? Sure, that’s only human. Shane McDonnell is now the producer, the role Scott Porter held for a long time. Gavin Murphy  assumes the helm from David Downes. Daryn Crosbie still does the choreography, though there is less complexity now than in the past couple of tours. The focus here is more on the music and less on a show. Synan O’Mahony continues to attire the ladies and I think his current creations, both first and second act, are among his best ever. At times in the past I liked one act or another gowns but not so much others. Here I like them all. Part of the focus of this show is on the centenary of The Rising of 1916. It is poignant. It is that past lives in the present thing. The show itself is filled with a recalling of the past and an embracing of what is the now. It is a step toward the future without forgetting the past. It is respectful, tasteful, wistful at times. The waves in it are not high nor the depths low. It is a gentle, rolling wave, almost a tidal flow. It is not the full on ceili party of the past couple shows. Yet, for me, it does not lack the upbeat. At the same time, the quiet pieces are reflections of history and moments of national and cultural pride. Something that tapped right in to my own sense of pride and history in part of my own heritage. I know the History of The Rising. I’ve watched the remembrances of it this year. It was foundation in the creation of the Irish Republic. And it is fascinating to see a lass from Ulster, Mairead Carlin, join in this and do so with heart and soul. After all, her area is still part of the UK. Yet I think it is understood that Irish is Irish and Ireland is Ireland no matter the political boundary.
   Each of the front four have beautiful solos, lovely duets, and glorious ensemble pieces. Most striking for me is that the harmonies are back. MC on the high, Susan in the middle, and Eabha filling a long missing role in the lower register. Don’t get me wrong, the ensemble has always been sterling and harmonies very good. But I have not heard harmonies this sweet since they had four vocalists where Alex could do some of the lower work like Orla before her. Yet Eabha’s voice is like no other. Her style and training lend themselves to the traditional. Part of her degree is in Irish language. Her solos are mesmerizing, haunting, and bring up a sound so ancient that it simply leaves one breathless. Many cultures for centuries, even millenia, communicated their history through song or in story. This harkens back to that. Past living in the present. Susan and MC for most are now known quantities. Susan is the power and MC the range. Yet neither really use those in this show to the fullest. They both do in the symphony shows, though. Yet, Susan, now the senior vocalist, has presence and her solos are wonderful. Mairead Carlin, like Eabha, is an old soul. She has an ancientness about her voice. It’s a siren song and she is used to very great effect. The set list is excellent in conveying what the new team wishes to convey. The string of 1916 pieces in the second act show great reverence for those who fought. Those people are held as in high a regard in Ireland as our founders from 1776 are here. There is far less dancing in this show than in previous ones. It is back to what its beginnings in that regard. But the balance is good. And then, there is that most amazing of fiddlers.  She has been, from the beginning, the focal point. She is the pulse. She is the soul. She is a foundation element. Just as Earth has elements, so too does Celtic Woman. At times she is Earth, fire, water, and wind. She is ever present in the show. She is seldom off the stage. She is more involved than in any previous show. And most wonderful for some of us, her slow airs are back. Certainly we love the high kicking frolics that get an audience fired up. But it is her exquisite slow airs that have always worked so deeply into me and inspired me. There is where she is my muse. Those things had been missing in the previous couple of shows. In her slow airs her soul takes flight. Ireland lives and speaks through them as well. They are like the spirits I felt walking ancient grounds over in Ireland. They’re like the ghosts of Glendalough, and Cashel, and Newgrange. They live. And as I listened, tearing up, I recalled the book I had read, and how time was not truly lineal, and nor was history, or even thought. Past and present live as one and they do so very well in this new show called Destiny.
    After the show we all made our way to the lobby after exchanging some hugs. Many more of those would take place before we all went our own ways. I stopped at the merch table and picked up a CD, T-shirt, and program. This show and this day were worth the keepsakes. Kelli and her gang were off to the hotel and their drive back to New Mexico the next day. Dwight was off to his hotel and flight home the next day. But not before I thanked him for his important and meaningful gift to Kelli. Amy and I drove back to Denver and her place. We were tired but very well satisfied. She came away much more impressed thanks in large part to a better audience. It was only a tiny part of the fan family here. No such large gatherings take place now. Closest it ever gets to that is whenever they come to Red Rocks. But this family is connected still. Amy and I spent a relaxing Sunday morning chatting about all manner of things as the Indy 500 was on in the background. My bus ride home was uneventful. I simply looked as Colorado passed before me without the stress of driving. If I could do only one show this tour this was a perfect way to do so. It was a celebration for Kelli, surrounded by friends. It was past and present living as one. It was things happen for a reason. My thanks to Dwight for his kindness, and Amy for her hospitality. She is facing some challenges in life too and this helped her in fighting that. As for Kelli, she got to meet Mairead at long last. But, and here we go with no coincidence, she also has been swept up into Eabha’s Army. She told us she had been listening a lot to Eabha for months on the Destiny CD and DVD and it is was a healing force in her health challenges. As I looked through the program Sunday morning I read Eabha’s bio. Curious they did not include Celtic Nights. But in that bio Eabha says, “I really believe that music is the key to the soul and that it can heal and break down any barrier”. Kelli never read that. Eabha did not know Kelli felt that way until Kelli told her at the meeting. It IS healing, and I have met many over the years healed by it. But, perhaps for the first time, Eabha has met a soul that has told her that her singing has healed. If she does not know how much CW has done that over the years then she is destined now to find out what all the others who have graced the front row have come to know. It is her destiny just as it was Deirdre, Meav, Orla, Alex, Lynn, Lisa Kelly, Chloe, Lisa Lambe, and now Susan, Mairead Carlin, and certainly Mairead Nesbitt. I tip my hat to the new team and new direction, just as I honor what was and who was involved before in Celtic Woman. Well done one and all. Enjoy the rest of the tour and the break. God willing I’ll see you all for symphony. 
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 04:07:28 PM by Moscapoet » Logged

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Ron
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2016, 03:29:03 PM »

I loved this review, Scott. Beautifully philosophical. Yes, we as humans tend to view time as lineal as that's how it comes to us in our daily lives. But it is, in fact, cyclical. History always repeats itself. And we'd do well to keep that in mind. I used "full circle" in my review to convey only my own personal CW experience. But you elaborated on that to include the "Destiny" of the group and how it relates to the experience of all mankind. Brilliantly done!

You and I had the exact same ordeal of the question, show ticket verses M&G. I'm glad I too wound up getting the latter. Between the M&G and the Buses, it was the best experience since Orlando '13 and the famous "Charlie's Angels" pose. As to the cajon, you're more than welcome. Just keep practicing and get to rockin' on it. This last PTC trip wound up being a bust with all the logistics. But I suspect we will have future opportunities to jam together.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 03:43:44 PM by Ron » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2016, 04:09:34 PM »

Thanks, Ron. It really was a very moving experience.
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2016, 06:00:32 PM »


Thanks for the review, Scott.  I'm glad your show experience went well.  Eabha is really unique, isn't she?



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VonnyandJohn from Oz
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2016, 04:31:45 AM »

Thank you so much for your review, Scott. Living vicariously by reviews over here. Smiley
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Celtic Fiddle Chick
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2016, 10:33:46 AM »

Great review. I see the show next week, my mom got tickets. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, even though its one of my favorite shows in a long time, but she said I couldn't miss the show for obvious reasons Wink  I am glad it was enjoyable and maybe more meaningful thank previous shows for you.
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2016, 08:02:59 PM »

Yes, Mustang, Eabha is really amazing. Each of them are, but her voice is something CW has never possessed. Vonny, that is one of the main reasons we write reviews, for those who cannot attend. also as an archive and feedback for the artists. CFC, have a great show! It is really a beauty.
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