Saturday, February 23, 2013

Celtic Thunder "Mythology" Deluxe DVD Review

In 2008, Celtic Thunder released their debut DVD to audiences via PBS. Filmed at the Helix in Dublin, Ireland, it was two hours of beautiful music, performed by talented good-looking Irishmen (and one Scotsman), and welcomed with open arms. Five years later, two of the original members have gone on to their own careers with three more vocalists stepping into the group. To usher in a new age of Celtic Thunder, producer Sharon Browne and musical director Dave Munro threw out almost all of their previous material and went back to the drawing board to create a brand-new musical creation in their new DVD, Mythology.

Returning to Dublin's Helix, the set for Mythology is in the shape of a beautiful Celtic cross with ancient stones as background. It sets the tone for an evening of strong music, taking the listener into the heart of Celtic roots, that is some of the best that they've ever done, certainly rivalling their original show and perhaps even topping it. Of particular delight is the abandonment of inserting shots of the audience every other ten seconds. The cinematography stays on the singer or ensemble throughout entire songs, which is so much more enjoyable!

There are so many good songs and so many good performances in Mythology that it is truly difficult to pick the stand-outs.

The Great

As always, Celtic Thunder excels in the energy of their group numbers. The Rocky Road to Dublin is a huge draw and my favorite, a fast-paced song with great cadences and lots of movement, keeping the eye constantly entertained. Turning Away and My Land are both full company songs with fantastic harmonies. Turning Away is a powerful track with much going on, while My Land delivers a softer ending than usually found in a Celtic Thunder show, but is a beautifully harmonic track that transitions you gently out of the show with a tear in your eye. The quartet of George Donaldson, Neil Byrne, Emmet Cahill, and Colm Keegan present in two different numbers. Star of the County Down is a really cute number, showcasing both Neil's comedic timing (which is excellent) and Emmet's romantic charm. In contrast, She Moved Through the Fair is a beautiful arrangement with haunting harmonies that will leave the listener breathless.

Neil Byrne's sweet romantic side comes to the forefront in his version of Carolina Rua. It's an easygoing melody that matches Neil's style nicely. Another standout is his Rock n Roll Kids duet with Ryan. These two sound really beautiful together with a gorgeous blend. On his own, Ryan Kelly performs a tender version of Carrickfergus, full of moving feeling and a reminder that there is far more to him than the Dark Destroyer. Coming as a bit of surprise, Ryan channels his inner rocker in his cover of the Horslips' Dearg Doom. Easily one of my favorites in the whole show, it is completely entertaining to watch and very cool!

Newcomer Colm Keegan, with the blue-est eyes you've ever seen, accompanies himself on piano in the lovely Katie. It's a sweet song whose melody sticks with me throughout the day. He has his own duet with Keith in a terrific cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence. Keith Harkin shines himself in his performance of A Man of Constant Sorrow. Appealing to any bluegrass fan, the song is a lot of fun and features half of the Celtic Thunder Band as well. Emmet Cahill, with the warmest most buttery voice, sings a truly beautiful Always There. 

The Good

George Donaldson sings the lovely ballad, Scarlet Ribbons for Her Hair. As a parent, it is touching and heartwarming to see songs in which he at least appears to be singing to his own daughter, always a favorite. Neil croons a lovely Summer in Dublin. This is staged well and hints of the dramatic possibilities inherent in Neil's talents that I hope are further explored as the show develops down the road. Emmet has such a lovely voice, and his Isle of Innisfree is beautiful. The Celtic Thunder Band presents in two instrumentals: Lonesome Boatman Into Reels and the very entertaining Hoedown, complete with lovely dancers!

The Ones I Didn't Care For

George is probably the soloist that suffers the most on this DVD, simply due to not the greatest song choice. George can be really powerful and so much fun, but with a mere duo of ballads and a song he's already performed before in the past, I was a little disappointed. Life With You is a good song, I've always enjoyed watching him perform it, and he does it well...  but I wanted something more.

Ryan, Keith, Neil, and Emmet collect to sing....  The Boys are Back in Town. Yes, you heard that right. It's just...  Emmet is honestly one of my favorites in the show, and I love his voice so much.  But rock star, he really isn't. If they try to do a KISS song next, I swear I'm leaving.


  1. Had similar thoughts about George in this one. I was a tad disappointed for him. So many good things about this show, though, and the production was by far best of recent dvds. I do have more research to do, however, before I can officially name my favorites. :)

  2. Well, hmmph. Google has determined I am an unknown now. Whatever, Google.

  3. I completely agree about Emmet's rock performance. He is known for performing romantic classic songs and the 'The Boys Are Back in Town' performance was an obvious attempt to explore a louder edgier side. I adore him but I think he was well out of his element in that song.


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