Celtic Thunder kicked off their Fall 2013 Mythology tour in British Columbia this weekend, and I was delighted to be there for Opening Night. For those just showing up, Celtic Thunder is an Irish import musical show performed by six accomplished Irish and Scottish vocalists (George Donaldson, Neil Byrne, Ryan Kelly, Keith Harkin, Colm Keegan, and Emmet Cahill). It is filled with both ensemble and solo numbers, and backed by the fantastic Celtic Thunder Band. They are talented, amazing, handsome, and put on a truly enjoyable show.
The ensemble numbers are fantastic this year. Rocky Road to Dublin, usually my favorite group song, kicked off the second half of the evening with amazing energy. It's fast paced, there's lots of movement, and it's just plain exciting to watch and listen to. The Boys Are Back in Town, performed by Ryan, Keith, Neil and Emmet, was really a lot of fun. The live concert experience gave it a great kick and I enjoyed it tremendously.
The newest member to the group, Colm Keegan (my crushy favorite), is truly adorable. Quick to smile with a lovely voice, he's a wonderful addition to the cast. My favorite of his solos was Katie, which he plays piano to. It's just the sweetest song and it's beautiful to listen to. Later, his duet with Keith on Sound of Silence is fantastic. They sound so great together on a song that I have loved for years. Full disclosure... I spent a lot of time "making eyes" at Colm during this song, and possibly less time actually listening to it. (I told you he was adorable!) His sometimes partner-in-crime, Emmet Cahill, has a different but truly gorgeous voice. Classically trained, his baritone is filled with amazing warmth that is wonderful to listen to. His Isle of Innisfree is a beautiful ballad and the silkiness of his voice just envelops you. Wonderful. He performs a lively Spanish Lady which is really a lot of fun to watch. He's energetic and adorably engaging.
Ryan Kelly(my actual favorite)'s Carrickfergus was a lovely poignant song. I loved seeing him sing a song with a gentler emotion. His performance of Hunter's Moon (a song written specifically for him) was passionate, mysterious and powerful, a great one to display his acting prowess. But, his House of the Rising Sun was a-maz-ing. It built steadily into an incredible jaw-dropping finish that I loved and wanted to immediately see again. Neil Byrne is probably the sweetest performer I've ever seen. Carolina Rua and Perfect are both really peppy fun songs. My favorite of the two is probably Carolina Rua, and Neil sings it with energetic styling. What I really missed from the setlist for this show was Ryan's Dearg Doom and Neil's Summer in Dublin, which he performs with great believability and that I just love. I would have given anything to have those!
Keith Harkin performs a beautiful Tears of Hercules, from his solo album, and it's a lovely song. He sings with great tenderness and is a personal favorite of mine. But, one of the highlights of the night was his Man of Constant Sorrow. This was wonderful! It was so much fun and I tapped my foot so much and so hard that I think I may have worn a hole in the floor! Don't miss this! George Donaldson was really good. He was so strong on Grand Affaire, both in vocals and in stage presence. He seems like he's really grown a lot as a performer in the last year and I was very happy with his performances all night. Life With You is an older song that fans are familiar with, but George gives it so much fun and energy that I was happy to see and hear it again.
When the rest of the company came out at the end of Emmet's Always There, dressed in the wardrobe that I knew went with the last song, my heart sank. How could a two-hour show be over so quickly? And yet it was. Two hours spent with my favorite musical group, performances that still make me tremendously happy... even after six years of attending their concerts. I can't wait to catch the closing show in Seattle at the end of the tour!
For tickets, see Celtic Thunder's website and don't miss a wonderful show!