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Author Topic: Review: Chloe at Canton, MA Dec 21st  (Read 597 times)
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« on: December 27, 2017, 12:02:58 PM »

One interesting question posed to many die-hard fans in our fan community has always been: "Why are you going to see them/her again?  You've already seen them/her."  Many outsiders and casual observers do not realize that the show is never exactly the same, and not just from tour to tour but also from city to city and even from night to night.  This was perhaps never more true than Chloe's tour finale in Canton, Massachusetts, in comparison to the previous night at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  At first glance you would think the shows would be as identical as can be.  In common, the shows had Chloe and Dermot, performing almost the same set list (but not exactly!), to enthusiastic crowds at what would be considered in Celtic Woman terms as "small venues".  That is about where the similarities end.

I drove out from Chambersburg to my hotel in Morristown, New Jersey, arriving after 3 in the morning.  I rose at 7 to take advantage of the breakfast and then wrote my review of the previous night, and drove the four-plus hours to Canton.  Traffic was suprisingly light almost the entire way, and soon I met up with John Turbitt and his sister Kathy for dinner at The 99 Restaurant.  The main topic of conversation, not surprisingly, was Chloe.  Soon enough we headed over to the venue.

The Irish Cultural Center in Canton is a large white-brick building in an industrial park but set well back from the street and surrounded by trees and ball fields.  The performance was to be in a function room on the second floor.  A small stage about ten inches high held the mic stands, a keyboard, and a small mixing board.  Chairs had been arranged in rows of concentric curves outward from the stage, starting about twelve feet out.  Two large speakers were suspended on tall pole stands, one speak to each side.  The place probably held about 150 people.  A bar stood in the back of the room, and the merch table was at the front over to one side of the stage.  Watering facilities were one floor down.

The Meet and Greet was not introduced by the venue director the way it was intended to be handled.  We were lined up against the wall, and the Master of Ceremonies told us that we would meet Chloe in sequence, as you might expect.  Then we were told that we would also have choice of seating before the general admission audience was admitted.  For some reason, this immediately convinced a bunch of the attendees that they should immediately claim their seats, and people darted out of line to throw articles of clothing upon the chairs.  A near free-for-all ensued.  No one seemed to complain about what they ended up with for seats, but it could have been avoided had they said: "After you meet her, you may pick whichever seat you like."  Anyway, Chloe came out in a red dress (I believe it was sleeveless) and, when my turn came, she hugged me, thanked me again for traveling and told me briefly of her own, even longer, drive with Dermot overnight.  John, Kathy, and myself had hung towards the back of the line.  We would have been last, but one person did get admitted after us, and it was someone all three of us knew of: local singer and Chloe collaborator, Mary Bee.

My own seat was front row stage-left quarter, in the aisle seat - I was at about a forty-five degree angle to the stage.  Not bad at all.  I had Kathy to my right, and John sitting directly behind me; he decided that a view one row back but closer to center was preferable to a front row seat further toward the side.  The opening act was a local five-person band - violin, concertina, accordian, bodhran, and keyboard.  They were seated in chairs off the stage to the House Left side.  A couple of the players would later participate on certain songs with Chloe and Dermot.  Also we were treated to an eight-girl Irish Dance Troupe, who had obviously worked very hard on their routine - I pointed out to Kathy that one of the girls was named "Mairead" as it was monogrammed on her jacket.

Then Dermot took the stage, and inttroduced Chloe!... "When You Believe" was gorgeous as always, but was obvious that sound was less successful than the previous night; John and I later determined that there was too much bass... "Galway Bay" brought a tear to my eye again, just as it had the night before... I paid closer attention this time to the lyrics in "I Will Lead You Home", and I realized that the entire song, not just the second part, is a song of faith... absolutely beautiful "Amazing Grace" with some of the crowd singing along during the first couple verses... they varied the set list order by doing "The Island", which had been a couple songs later in Chambersburg; this was followed by the "Irish Medley"... Chloe introduced "Grace" much as she had the night before, as a tribute to the 1916 Rising; though unlike the night before I didn't get a blown kiss this time, I loved her rendition... No "Rattlin' Bog" tonight, but instead we got "The Gathering" before intermission, and Chloe instructed us how to sing the chorus parts; for this the Irish dancers came out to do soft-shoe in the aisles.

In terms of composition, this crowd was very much like the previous night: mostly older with a few younger people.  Most were very participatory, except strangely in the opposite section from us a bunch of the front- and second-row folks there were sitting almost motionless most of the night, not even clapping some of the time, as if they were disappointed; the rest of the place more than made up for them.  Sound was, as mentioned above, less than perfect but not really poor.  Lighting was, as at Chambersburg, a non-factor.  Kathy and I talked to the lady on the other side of her, as John did with the couple next to him.  The dancers came back out again to do another step performance; I had to beware not to move, in my front row seat, as each of the girls came over to briefly perform directly in front of me since I didn't want to get accidentally kicked in the shin haha.

Now second act... "Merry Christmas, Darling" brought Chloe out in the red dress that she had used in the second act at Chambersburg... "Isle Of Hope" never gets old with me; one thing I noticed tonight is that, with their current arrangements, if Chloe ever wanted to do a medley of "Galway Bay" with "Isle Of Hope" I think that those songs could fit into each other nicely... I was one of the lucky ones that Chloe gestured to during "From Me To You"... another order change from the previous night, with "Love Is Christmas" next... at the end of "Falling Slowly", which is a love song, a woman in the center section to my left said loudly: "Chloe has grown up!" to which Chloe, quick as a flash, shot back: "Funny how that is, right?"... Kathy almost gasped when she recognized Dermot playing the melody for "Ave Maria"; a truly inspired performance, she brought some new undefinable dimension to this song, and when she was done the whole place gave a very heartfelt standing ovation, which seemed to take Chloe aback but for which she thanked us heartily... I am liking Dermot's singing more and more for "The Wexford Carol"; and once again, when it segued into "Silent Night" you could hear some gentle accompaniment from the audience... "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was followed by "Thankful"; this time I am positive that was the order, because the latter song merged into "You Raise Me Up"; once again this crowd wanted to be in on the action, with the first couple lines being a gentle sing-along; at the end there was another standing ovation... For "White Christmas" the dancers were brought out and stood near us in the audience, but we were also joined by Santa and Mrs.Claus; I got a hug from Santa and Kathy danced with him for a moment as we all sang together; too quickly it came to an end, and another year of concerts was over.

John, Kathy, and myself stood around talking as the crowd began to file out, hoping to see Chloe one more time.  It didn't happen, so we eventually made our way out into the cold New England night.  I introduced them to a sample of Deirdre's music while we sat talking in their vehicle.  Finally the time came for goodbyes, as I had a long ride still ahead of me and had gotten less than eight hours sleep in the previous seventy-two.  The road rose to meet me and I reached my sister's house; for me this trip was really just beginning, but I was very glad now that I had added Chambersburg and Canton to my itinerary.

And so, another year of shows now complete.  There is always next year, and now I want to make an extra effort to see Chloe again.  Til then... Merry Christmas and remember to believe, because there can be miracles.  Best wishes until faithful friends gather near to us, once more....


But calling out from deep within
A soft voice whispers a quiet prayer
To carry you through darkest times
And calm the storm of grim despair

Nella Fantasia
Posts: 192

CWazy Canadian, ChlovŽr for life!

« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 09:51:23 PM »

Great read again!

When I go to these shows, too often I am completely fixated on the performer from the moment I arrive until the moment I leave. There are lots of things about the venue, the stage, etc. that I don't even seem to notice unless I make a conscious effort to do so. I'm in a line of work that has essentially taught me to block out distractions and focus selectively. This review serves as a good reminder to take it all in.

It's really nice you got to see Mary Bee too! I'm hoping Mary and her friends can come tour close enough to me so I can see them without flying (or driving double-digit hours). They've come to mean as much to me as Celtic Woman and its former performers. Seeing Mary, Kate, and Dani live would be a dream come true.

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