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Celtic Women

"Isle of Hope" Tour
Nokia Theatre
Grand Prairie, Texas

04/18/2009
08:00 PM

Concert Review by
Paul Ridenour

From the first time we saw the Celtic Women on PBS, we really liked them.  I purchased tickets a long time ago not knowing that my wife Dottie would have to have surgery on April 10th.

Not sure if she was going to be able to make it, we decided to go ahead and go.  First time in nine days of getting her out of the house and we were not sure if she would be able to handle sitting in those seats or walking up and down stairs.  She was hurting the first half of the show and then she prayed that her pain would go away and it did.

We are so glad we went to this show and my wife was feeling great afterwards.  The long walk to the car was good for her.

I have no desire to see those Celtic men.  I do not want to hear a kid sing "Puppy Love," but these girls are fantastic.

They had a small band, pianist, with two drummers including a huge percussion cage with cymbals and a gong up high.  Reminded me of a Pink Floyd setup.  They also had six backing vocalists and they and the musicians all wore black.

The four girls came out in beautiful solid colored dresses - blue, red, green, and orange.  And then there is the violinist in her white dress and silver sparkled shoes and she was quite the entertainer.  She jumped all around the stage in those heeled shoes and flung her blonde hair all over the place.  She was very good and a lot of fun to watch.

Celtic Women are Chloe Agnew, Lisa Kelly, Orla Fallon, and Meav Ni Mhaolchatha, and violinist Mairead Nesbitt.

They sang Sting's Fields of Gold, Cyndi Lauper's True Colors, Billy Joel's Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel), an a cappella version of Danny Boy which brought a standing ovation, Josh Groban's You Raise Me Up, Rod Stewart's Have I Told You Lately, Phil Collins' You'll Be In My Heart, and Enya's Orinoco Flow (better known as Sail Away).

They took a 20-minute break after the first hour and performed another hour.  They came out in even fancier gowns after the break.

The "Isle of Hope" is a song about an Irish girl at age 15 coming to America in 1892 to Ellis Island and then the Island closed in 1943.

The youngest singer thanked the audience saying that they have now been to Nokia four times and it is becoming one of their favorite places to perform.  They thanked America because we were the first country to embrace them outside of Ireland.  They also said that Texans are always a great audience and they were honored to be singing for us.

"Oh America" was written for the Celtic Women and that also brought another standing ovation.

Many of their songs, especially the ones featuring Mairead Nesbitt, would build and build towards the end and then stop suddenly.  It is a great musical effect instead of just holding out a long note and fading.  They may have done it too many times and that last beat was almost to the point of being too loud.  Always a huge applause afterwards.

The guitarist and pianist were very good and the sound in Nokia is tremendous.  Probably the best concert venue in the Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex.

It was great running into Tony and Sylvia Wood Hammontree from my high school.  They were with two of their eleven children.  I did not realize that Hammontree was an Irish name.  My wife and I are part Scot-Irish as her mom is a McNeir and my great grandmother is a McClelland.  Dottie also plays the harp.

Isle of Hope lyrics

On the first day on January,
Eighteen ninety-two,
They opened Ellis Island and they let
The people through.
And the first to cross the threshold
Of that isle of hope and tears,
Was Annie Moore from Ireland
Who was all of fifteen years.

CHORUS:

Isle of hope, isle of tears,
Isle of freedom, isle of fears,
But it's not the isle you left behind.
That isle of hunger, isle of pain,
Isle you'll never see again
But the isle of home is always on your mind.

In a little bag she carried
All her past and history,
And her dreams for the future
In the land of liberty.
And courage is the passport
When your old world disappears
But there's no future in the past
When you're fifteen years

Chorus

When they closed down Ellis Island
In nineteen forty-three,
Seventeen million people
Had come there for sanctuary.
And in Springtime when I came here
And I stepped onto it's piers,
I thought of how it must have been
When you're fifteen years.

Chorus