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Celtic Woman Brings Rich, Graceful Show To Sold-Out Proctors

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:57 pm    Post subject: Celtic Woman Brings Rich, Graceful Show To Sold-Out Proctors Reply with quote

SCHENECTADY — Celtic Woman brought their Isle of Hope Tour to a sold-out Proctors audience Friday night, putting on a tasteful, lavish show that, to its credit, didn't try to overpower but instead advanced at a perfectly agreeable level of entertainment.

The four singers and fiddler are all talented -- and of course highly attractive -- but refrained from pushing themselves on you in any offensive way. Instead they sang with great control, beauty and class when alone or together, even when the show's production was over-the-top.

The show strayed often from its Celtic theme, covering contemporary pop tunes, but it always recovered quickly with music drenched in Gaelic sounds and themes.

The lack of visible sponsors and promotional announcements gave the show a welcomed commercial-free feel -- rare these days in any part of our culture, not just concerts.

The show opened with their dramatic original, written by David Downes, "The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun," all four of the women singing, as well as the fiddler Mairead Nesbitt wailing away. The show never really tried to return to the intensity of this opener. Backed by a six-man band -- including two percussionists each surrounded by their own circle of large and small drums and cymbals -- and six singers, the song reached a well-rehearsed crescendo. What followed was much slower, softer music.

Lisa Kelly, wearing an orange gown, sang a decent version of Sting's "Fields of Gold" without a lot of fanfare. She also sang beautifully "The Blessing."

Each woman wore strapless gowns of different colors -- orange, blue, white, red and green.

Alex Sharpe delivered one of the best moments of the night with "True Colors." Accompanied by only drums and a recorder, she created an intimate and moving few moments.

The five of them returned for an uneventful version of "Sail Away." They also covered "You Raise Me Up." Given the length of the show -- more than two hours -- they could have shortened it, maybe raise the intensity, by eliminating songs with little Celtic history (yes, Enya is Irish so that song fit).

"Dulaman" was an authentic Celtic tune driven by deep percussion and Old World language that moved with a feel outside the standard four-beats-per-measure.

Nesbitt is an astounding violinist, not so much for her playing, but for the way she can dance while playing fast, frantic and precise solos. She led some of the most exciting moments of the show. Her relentless movement while playing -- even leaping between platforms on the stage -- was quite a spectacle. While her playing was certainly competent, she never achieved a deeper level; instead it felt one-dimensional, her plastered smile of elation reminded me of a beauty-pagent competition.

They sang a few classics together, like "Danny Boy." Wearing new gowns, they sang together Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately."

They joined together for "Isle of Hope," which addressed a journey to Ellis Island in 1892 through a 15-year-old's eyes.

All in all they delivered a rich, graceful performance. And it's always pleasing to see Proctors, or any venue, filled these days.

dailygazette.com Schenectady, NY
By David Singer
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Always Remember All Things Are Possible With God !!
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