Well, Albuquerque sure is a special place every time Celtic Woman comes to town. I'm four hours from anywhere so here and up at Red Rocks are always the closest they get to me. But what better place to see my 50th show with them than where it all began for me in 2007. Then I was in row 20, had never met any of them, and had my little niece there to experience some quality in arts and not the garbage that dominates out there. Last fall Celtic Woman returned and we used that occasion to give Máiréad a check in her name and that of her forum to her charity of choice, Oxfam Ireland Unwrapped. This time it was another special event.
I had a great seat in the pit the first night and a pretty good one in front row orchestra the second. We also had plenty of forum folks attending so there would be lots of energy. Dinner both nights was with around 15 of us but I was given quite a surprise by Máiréad forum administrator, Mike Brown. A lovely cake with a graphic of Máiréad in icing was first followed by a series of very nice gifts. It was a very kind gesture by he and the forum and a great way to start the night. The show was marvelous with all the artists in fine form despite the near end of yet another tour and time away from home. For me, though, most special was Máiréad briefly bringing out the green bow which was her birthday gift in 2009 from myself and her forum. It was a lovely and very kind gesture to commemorate the event. There is no one of Earth like Máiréad Nesbitt with or without her 300 year old violin.
We were treated the next day to a tour of the KNME studio by the delightful Heidi Brown. She also gave those of us attending a nice tote bag and T-shirt. It is one of the better PBS stations in the country.
The show the second night was at an even higher level in both energy and emotion. It is clear the artists, Chloe Agnew, Lisa Kelly, Lynn Hilary, and Máiréad were feeling the end of the tour as well as the energy from the nearly 25 forum folks and friends situated up close. It is an amazing show by premier artists including the band and choir. Some are critical of the choreographed and polished production. Do they say that about Riverdance or Lord Of The Dance? Well, I can tell you that while it is a rehearsed and refined production, it is also spontaneous and a bit different each night. I have 51 shows now under my belt so can say that with great authority.
An example of that came the second night as a precious little girl, Charlotte, and her family took to the front row. We met them out in the lobby and they were equipped with buttons and fiddler crossing signs to make the event a bit more special. We also had a couple extra meet & greet passes and with that they were in for a most special night. The little one was smothered with attention and Chloe even singled her out later for comment from the stage. That is a rare thing and a very lovely touch by the ever delightful Chloe. At the after show meeting Charlotte again was the beneficiary of the amazing kindness of Lisa and Máiréad. It was such a beautiful thing to watch.
If folks out there want to know what class on stage and off is in the performing arts, it is Celtic Woman and the artists within it. So many stories I could recount from my many shows to prove the point. But all you had to do was look in Charlotte's eyes and that of her mom and grandfather and you'd know the effects of the people in this ensemble. I have profound disagreement with the apparatus that surrounds the artists but the artists themselves to a person are the best people you would ever want to know. It has not gone to their heads and they look upon what they do as just what they do.
So, my hat goes off to Máiréad (who owns my heart as well), Chloe, Lisa, Lynn, Des Moore, Eoghan O'Neill, Tommy Martin, Anthony Byrne, Ray Fean, Nick Bailey, Helen Kelly, Catherine Neylan, Sarah Burke, Dermot Kiernan, Niall McGrath, Andrew Nangle, Brian Connor, David Downes, and the entire road crew for this extraordinary experience night after night. Same goes for past members like Meav, Orlagh Fallon, Alex Sharpe, Roisin Dempsey, Amy Rivard, and Julian David Edwards. Each of the artists mentioned above and others from the past are well worth your support in whatever they do on stage or in the studio. Treat yourself to a DVD, CD, or better yet, a show in person. And when you go to a show, look up those silly folks with the fiddler crossing signs and buttons. It is family on stage and off.
Finally, my most sincere thanks to the members of the Máiréad, Chloe, Lisa, Lynn, and Alex forums for the support of the artists and the kindness you show to each other as members. It is what has been inspired by each of the artists. Fifty two shows is a bit over the top in the minds of many, and that is what I will have when Red Rocks wraps this tour up on the 12th. But when you are inspired to write almost 400 poems and lyrics, a novel, and have eight songs recorded by yet another artist, it simply becomes a part of you. Fifty is the silver anniversary, but for me it had a splash of emerald in the hands of a lovely fiddler and in her eyes. God bless her and the others for being on the road sharing their gifts away from home for so much of the past nearly six years.
Until next time, Scott