The girls had given us a great first show, so much so that we wondered if they could top it that night, or if they even would have the energy to. Many of us forum people headed over to the food court at the local outlet mall, which although not five minutes walk was really not more than twenty. After a very satisfying lunch we headed back into the venue for Round Two. I again spent a few minutes talking to CD Girl about what the fan community is like but soon I headed inside.
I would be with Roy, in Row AA, over to piano-side. I'd have Roy on one side and Mikey with Rachel on the other, with plenty of other forum people situated to band-side. I have learned through experience that for the doubleheaders the matinee show tends to be older and more wooden than the evening show. We would soon find out. I felt we had one mission, and one mission only now: to send the girls off with the warmest feelings in their hearts. We were all at least a little tired; I hoped we were up to the task. Again we would soon find out.
And so, for the last time, I took in the Spring 2012 Believe Tour.
From the beginning of "Awakening" it was clear this was a good crowd... "Dulaman" brought something I never thought I'd see: Lisa Lambe not completely ready for her vocal; it was almost certainly a case of something involuntary such as a hiccup at the wrong moment; in any case after she caught her breath the song was great... "NOCTURNE!!!!!!" Oh gosh with this one performance Chloe torpedoed every solo she had ever sang totally out of the water; kudos for doing what I would have considered impossible... "Foxhunter" began oddly, as the crowd further back insisted on clapping along near the BEGINNING of the song; nothing wrong with that but it was odd... I shall miss you, "Sailing," until next time; in the mean time thank you for winding your way into my heart... "TAR" was great as always but this one performance will always have "Rachel Kipper" written all over it, considering what happened to her in her aisle seat; there was also some of the unexpected fun thrown in with funny gestures and such.
This crowd was more animated than the early crowd had been. They didn't give standing O's much but they certainly were demonstrative in other ways. The other people in front row were just as excited as we were which made our job easier. The girls were giving absolutely inspired performance and it was clear they were pulling out all the stops for us tonight.
Second Act... Anthony received applause from the audience even before he had come halfway down the aisle to the front for "Amazing Grace"... For "Spaceman" Lisa Lambe gave loads of attention to forum fans, extending her arms out to us with a welcoming Lisa smile... as "The Water Is Wide" played out again I marvelled at how Mairead can place so much feeling into a song with just her violin; and thanks again to Susan for making this song so perfect for me... "Ave Maria" was every bit as beautiful as Nocturne had been, which was hard to do... we all raised our "parting cups" as the girls delivered "The Parting Glass"... the whole place clapped along to "Encore Finale" and I had one more dalliance with my favorite live song; at the end, the sweeping cheers brought a tremble to Chloe's voice as she thanked us, which also led to her thanking everyone connected to making these shows happen, harkening back to the finale at Red Rocks in 2010; and as the girls left the stage after the "Ceili Reprise" the Spring 2012 Tour was finished.
All of us said in essence that this was a great tour finale, and I won't argue. This was my fourth Tour finale, and each one is special in it's own way. But my part wasn't finished yet; there was still the M&G, which James led us to on the fifth floor... but not before we had a chance to meet David Downes in the hallway! Anyway, it wasn't long before Mairead Nesbitt and Lisa Lambe came out to be with us. I assisted with videoing Patricia's meeting with the girls, which came out beautiful! I knew a couple of forum members had really wanted Lisa to be here for this meet and I was incredibly glad their wish came true.
I was the last forum fan to meet the girls for this tour. Mairead gave me a big hug and we talked for probably five minutes. Then it was the turn of Lisa, who always treats me as a long-lost friend and gave me her share of Lambe Sweetness, including before- and after-hugs. I got a picture with each girl, out from behind the table; the pic with Lisa was taken by like six cameras, and with the flashbulbs it almost resembled a photo shoot. I got parting hugs from both wonderful ladies. I again thanked James for his great work on this tour. A few minutes after the girls had walked out, we asked James to take a picture of the whole group of us. We made our way down to the lobby; I was the last forum fan to leave the building.
Most of us headed over to TGI Fridays at the Orleans Casino, which attached hotel was the lodging for most of our group. Much of our talk involved not talk of the future but talk of what had happened that day. When the time to leave came, many of us embraced and bid our farewells. Mikey brought Moscapoet and I to the airport where we spent much time writing reviews and talking. We talked on until the airport began to fill at 5 AM and he made his way to his gate. Later in the morning I also encountered Mike and Roy separately for their own flights. My own flight would come in time to take me away from Las Vegas but a part of this place will be carried within me forever. And a part of Celtic Woman will be carried within me forever as well.
SPRING 2012 BELIEVE TOUR RETROSPECTIVE
I had eight shows for this tour, including the two opening nights in Nashville, two unforgettable shows in my old stomping grounds at Manchester and Wallingford, the two incredible Texas shows at Dallas and Houston, and the double feature at Vegas. To me this tour was a massive success. I got to see the evolution of the Believe product, from beginning, to middle, and end. The tour matured as it went along and became smoother with each passing show. I am honored to have been there to see it.
I shall call out a couple of songs for special recognition. The first of course is "TAR". With this one song, Celtic Woman has reinvented itself again. How many performing acts send their soloists out into the crowd to entertain, perchance to tantalize, even perchance to sit on the patron's laps (and I will NEVER forget that for as long as I live, thank you Lisa!), even perchance to sing right to someone? I think John said it all at Wallingford when he whispered to me after the song: "Funnest song EVER!!" They have now set a standard for themselves that will be incredibly hard for them to better in the future. The audience satisfaction with this one song cannot be underestimated.
Speaking of the audience... how about "Green Grow the Rushes"?? The audience involvement in this song makes every show feel like the Atlanta taping all over again; Celtic Woman not only has created magic but has found a way to bottle magic and spring it forth at every Believe show by bringing the audience in. Fantastic.
And another great part of the Believe show is the involvement of the other cast members. The new solo performance on the bodhran by Ray is excellent, as is the intro solo by Tommy on "Sailing." The addition of the male dancing by Craig was a superb idea. There have been fans who have lamented these reforms, saying that "it dilutes the shows" by having so many other castmembers getting the limelight, but to me it makes the show even more special; anyone who has met these castmembers knows that they are very talented individuals in their own right even if they are not the "featured soloists". Every person who has appeared on their stage has a share of the success of Celtic Woman; the pity is that it wasn't until more recent years that this recognition came.
Still, I need to give special recognition to those people who have made all of this possible. Thank you to the entire Celtic Woman organization for listening when the fans spoke. Thank you to all the "guys" - especially Anthony, Andy, and Ray - for taking the time to talk to me and others with me at different times during this tour. Big thanks to Bubba and James, as far as I'm concerned you guys are the best in the business!!
Also... Thank you to Susan McFadden for coming into our lives, I adore your version of "The Water Is Wide" and I will miss you. Thank you to Mairead Nesbitt for being the absolute best fiddle player to ever grace a stage, for bringing "Granuaile's Dance" back to us, and for being so caring of your fans. Thank you to Lisa Lambe for... oh gosh for hugs and smiles and kind words and for "Circle of Life"; you have brought me so much happiness.
And thank you, Chloe Agnew. You have been, you are, and you always will be an inspiration. When you sing, you bring the spirit of music to me. I shudder to think of what my life would be like had I never heard your voice. I have had the privilege of seeing you grow as a singer and a woman; over the years you pointed the way for my new journey, you showed me an isle of hope, you gave me songs from the heart, and you have helped me to believe. God bless and keep you, til I see you again.
FAN COMMUNITY RETROSPECTIVE
Celtic Woman is much more than the people on the stage. The fans have done their fair share of building Celtic Woman into one of the most vital forces in music. By having been a fan for six years now I have found a perspective when it comes to the fandom. I think for most of us in the fan forum community, Celtic Woman not only changed our lives but also came into our lives, and brought other forum fans into our lives, at the exact time when we needed them most. It is a common thread in many of the stories I have heard from others. It has been very much that way with myself.
Not only have I been to shows this year, but I've also been to FOUR fan get-togethers of five or more people, where there was no Celtic Woman concert going on that day. Last year also I had several such days. I know I'm not the only one; others have told me this too. This speaks of how the phenomenon of Celtic Woman has created a community where people care about eachother, and where we always look forward to being together again. We rejoice in eachothers accomplishments, and feel saddened with eachothers setbacks. We mourn with eachothers loss of loved ones, and we keep eachother in our prayers. Maybe best of all, we open our hearts to the smile of new fan friends when they arrive in our midst for the first time.
For all these reasons I must thank those who have crossed my path on this tour: Roy, Mike, Tony, Moscapoet, Neil, Thomas, Jim Allen, Dwight, Donna, Ron, Lu, John Starman, both Bobs, Kelly, BigDave, Peter, Kristen, Mary, John (Meavman), Dash, Laura, Jeremy, Tink, Coren, Lester, Selina, Edd Nesbitt, Rachel, Cindy, Susan, Gillian, Kaitlyn, Mark, and his wife, Steven and Kathryn, Annie, Daniel, Caitlin (LL7), Diane (LA Girl), Glenn, Patricia, and the CD Girl at Vegas. I also want to thank Jim Allen for hosting us for Nashville, Rachel and Tink for the Southwest Tour, Mike for making my New England shows possible, Roy for making my Texas shows possible, and Mikey for making my Vegas shows possible. You mean the world to me and I love you all!!!!
And thank you for reading my reviews of this spring. There were some events of this tour that words just can't describe, despite my best attempts to articulate them. I hope I've provided a sense of how much these shows mean to me and what at least one die-hard Celtic Woman fan is really like.
We cannot look forward with certainty as to what will happen next for Celtic Woman in North America. But there is one thing we can do: we can believe. Until the time comes to gather again, may your star be bright, may Celtic Woman's music give you blessings, and may you always believe. "We are sailing, stormy waters, to be with you, to be free!"
Celtic Woman Forever!