Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Chieftains

Mom and I went to see the Chieftains last night at the Paramount, after dinner at Fellini's.

The show was amazing. I think if I had a choice to see only a few live concerts for the rest of my life, a Chieftains show would rank near the top. Now I'm thinking of some of the others: Van Morrison, a performance of Beethoven's 7th by one of the big symphonies, Vladimir Horowitz (rest in peace), Shawn Colvin for old time's sake (with Emmylou would be best), and probably Springsteen to marvel again at his showmanship.

I was a bit surprised, at the start, when only 3 of the actual band walked onto the stage (with other musicians on harp, two fiddles, and a guitar). I thought I had remembered all 5 of them being there two years ago, but now that I've done some research it sounds like the current group is Paddy Moloney, Seán Keane, Kevin Conneff, Matt Molloy and -- Seán Keane (who was not there last night; he's the fiddler on the left) is semi-retired.

One of the best parts is the dancing - the two brothers from Canada (who I remember from two years ago, and who have a great stage-presence that must be similar to a young Paddy Moloney) and a tall woman. So fun when one of the brothers puts down his fiddle, mid-song, and joins in the dancing.

The slow songs are the best - Mom described listening to them as "almost religious." Last night I think my favorite was the flute solo by Matt Molloy. Haunting.

The rendition of "Mo Ghile Mear" was not as good as last time (when the women's group joined in), but I think I've also grown so accustomed to the Sting version that I listen for his styling of the melody.

A "fife and bagpipe" group from VMI came onstage for a couple of songs, and those pieces were absolutely powerful with the banging drums and deep background of the pipes.

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