By Win Wachsmann. On Saturday September 7, Celtic Thunder opened their Mythic Mythology tour at Abbotsford’s Arts and Entertainment Centre (AESC). Several thousand raucous fans cheered, clapped and sang along with the boys as they performed 29 songs – oldies, classics and even some written specifically for this tour.
Cover photo: Ensemble by Win Wachsmann
The dramatic stage featured a single Celtic cross flanked by a row of four, tall, monolithic standing stones. The stones became wonderful backdrops with a wide variety of video clips and vignettes playing across their face to add color and context to the songs. A large Celtic cross took centre stage as a platform for the singers and musicians.
The ensemble opened with Voices a brand new song that forms the theme of Mythology. Voices call from the old days, Voices tell from the past, Ancient laws and ancient old ways to recast. The songs tell the stories, the legends and the culture of the Celtic people.
Voices is a collaboration between Celtic Thunder Musical Director/Composer David Munro and world-renowned song writer Brendan Graham, who also wrote the international hit You Raise Me Up.
Each of the six vocalists had the opportunity to showcase their vocal excellence. Emmet Cahill started with a haunting solo of Isle of Innisfree which was followed by Keith Harkin and the group singing Now We are Free. Ryan Kelly sang Carrickfergus and was followed by Neil Byrne singing Carolina Rua.
After a rousing welcome to the Abbotsford, Gordon Donaldson dedicated this concert to Canadian singing icon Rita McNeil. He did an amazing version of Rita McNeil’s Working Man – her homage to the coal miners of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The crowd responded with an extended ovation.
Keith Harkin sang “Rosa” while silhouettes of his goddaughter Rosa dancing were played across the faces of the standing stones.
Then came Star of the Country Down, Kati, a solo by Colm Keegan and a rocking version of The Boys are Back in Town. Donaldson followed with Grand Affaire.
The first half finale was a superb ensemble rendition of the anthem My Land.
The second half opened with the Rocky Road to Dublin. Then came Man of Constant Sorrow and Hunter’s Moon, an original song performed by Ryan Kelly. These were followed by Galileo, Edge of the Moon, Song for the Mira, Spanish Lady, and a mournful rendition of Tears of Hercules by Keith Harkin. Ryan Kelly followed that with a boisterous rendition of the rock classic House of the Rising Sun.
After a slight pause, Keith Harkin and Colm Keegan come onstage with their guitars and asked the audience what song they were going to sing next. Without even a note being strummed, a lady in the audience yelled Sounds of Silence. Their version which followed had the whole audience humming, singing and swaying along.
Perfect, Life with You, Always There, and Turning Away followed.
Backed by the eight piece Celtic Thunder band featuring strings, guitar, percussion, whistles, pipes and guitars, the group is also joined onstage by the tours musical director David Munro, playing keyboards.
The band had a chance to showcase their skills by playing Lonesome Boatman Into Reels.
The show closed with the six vocalists in kilts and singing a rousing rendition of Ireland’s Call. Many in the audience stood and sang along.
After more than two hours, the audience finished the show with a standing ovation for a superb performance by the singers and musicians.
Celtic Thunder – Mythology will play in 16 cities in Canada. Look for them in a Canadian city near you in the month of September. After that they play in a further 45 cities in the United States.
With additional contributions by Carrie Wachsmann.