I have been a fan of Celtic Woman since they were first assembled back in 2004.
I missed them when they came through in 2005. So when I saw that they were coming back this year, I bounced around my wife like a 5 year old, chanting "Can we go? Can we go? Can we go?".
My wife knows that I am absolutely smitten by Chloe Agnew. She knew that if we went, I would spend the evening gawking lustily at Chloe and sighing wistfully.
But my most understanding and loving wife bought us tickets anyway.
Tuesday was the day. I planned on working a little bit late but no big deal since we had 2.5 hours to be sat before the show started.
I got finished up with work and head on home to change.
We hit up our favorite local seafood restaurant and enjoy some Chilean Sea Bass.
Then we head across the street to the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. Such a great venue for shows like this.
Up til now, I had no idea where our seats were...all I cared about was that I was going to get to hear the angelic voice of Chloe LIVE!!! *BOUNCE*
As we wind our way through the crowd and check our coats, my wife hands me our tickets and says, "So...are the seats OK?"
3rd row dead center stage. Literally within 20 feet of the stage!!! *BOUNCE*
Stepping back a bit, my family ancestry is primarily Scottish and Irish. We grew up attending family gatherings with my great uncles speaking Gaelic and wearing kilts and playing the bagpipes. The traditional Irish and Scottish folk songs were pretty much engrained into us from the very beginning. And all of us were pushed to learn to sing or play intruments. I chose the violin, piano and to a lesser extent, the mandolin. But the vast majority of songs that I remember how to play on those intruments today are those traditional songs I learned very young.
But I digress. One of the things that has enamored me to this group is the traditional folk songs they play/sing and the modern music that they adapt as well.
A little fuzzy but my wife snapped it quick because they were bringing the hammer down on folks trying to snap pics and video...
Anyway, the show was fantastic.
This was the first time I had gotten to hear the new lineup with Lisa Lambe and Susan McFadden.
Chloe and Mairead have been part of the group since day one.
Mairead was her normal rambunctious self. I have dubbed her the "Angus Young" of the Celtuic music scene. She has the energy of 40 kindergarteners jacked up on Jolt Cola and Pixie Sticks. But her playing of the "fiddle" is perfect.
Lisa is a very fun addition to the show. She remind me of the girl from the Disney movie "Brave" (Mairead is the character name...). She has a wonderful, fresh voice and a very fun and whimsical spirit. Her and Chloe have one duet where they are "arguing" back and forth from opposite sides of the audience before Susan steps in to moderate the fight. It's hard not to find yourself laughing. A very fun interaction to the song.
They also do a duet of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables that I am not ashamed to say brought me to tears. Absolutely beautiful.
One of my favorite songs that Chloe sings is Ave Maria. It pains me to say it though that she was slightly off her normal game that night. Typically, when she sings that song, I am reduced to blubbering like a broken hearted schoolgirl. I was choked up but wasn't blubbering. It was still beautiful but didn't have the normal innocence I hear in her voice with that song.
The supporting musicians and backup singers were fantastic as well.
The pipe players were masterful. The drummers were both fun to watch and played extremely well.
The pianist and string players were no slouches themselves.
And the fact that all of the musicians and singers were used in the show was even better.
From the Riverdancing male backup singer to the bag-piper in full kilted regalia...
Nearly every song was followed by a standing ovation.
And the ladies were happy to reward us with not one, not 2...but 3 encores. And even a 4th semi-encore in which the musicians and backup singers got to have a little fun.
The highlight of the evening though had to be Nil Se'n La. The entire cast was allowed to show their stuff.
And that's coming from someone who identifies with the Scottish side of my family the most and always loves a good rendition of Caledonia.
All in all a great show.
If you have never heard Celtic Woman, you owe it to yourself to at least give them a try. A lot of their music is on Pandora and Youtube so you don't even need to commit to a CD!