I arrived in Tucson Monday night after my grand Grand Canyon adventure. It was two days of glorious weather and spectacular vistas. I think I walked more in those two days than I have in the last two years. I took literally hundreds of pictures (one of the advantages of finally going digital) and even though it's impossible to truly capture the grandeur of the Canyon in a two-dimensional image, I'm happy with what I got. Especially since I don't know when I'll get back. The train ride to and from the Canyon was equally grand. I splurged for the Parlor class and rode in the open-end observation car on the back of the train. I use the phrase “in” loosely since I spent almost the entire time out on the platform. Delightful weather, wonderful traveling companions, and real scenery. It's the only way to travel in my book.
Finally it was over and I headed for Tucson late Monday afternoon. I've driven on a lot of interstates over the years, but I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff is now officially the worst one I've ever had the misfortune to travel on. I flew into Phoenix on Friday and the trip north to Williams was baffling. Don't Arizona drivers know how to drive up a hill? On every significant hill, and there were many, traffic would inexplicably slow to a crawl. The return trip was even worse; it took me 2 hours to go 15 miles. It's a good thing I wasn't on a schedule. OK, that's enough complaining. As Bugs would say, “On with the Show!”
It seemed like forever since my last show in Philadelphia but it also felt like I just saw the girls yesterday. It's funny how easy it was for the excitement to turn to contentment. After finishing my tour within a tour at the end of July on an extreme high note it was back to a normal show. But, like all of my recent shows, I was not alone at this one. We gathered for dinner around 6:00 at the Cushing Street Bar which, despite the name, is an upscale little restaurant. They were also just about the only place open, even though there are quite a few other eateries in the convention center area. Tink, Edith and I arrived separately yet simultaneously with Dwight and his friends. Tink's nephew, Ryan, who's not yet a Celtic Woman fan joined us even though he wasn't going to the show. We did our best to “convert” him.
After dinner we walked to the venue. Unlike last year, this time the show was in the Convention Center arena. In the M&G line someone told us that there were apparently too many complaints about the loud drums and that's why they moved the show. It was a “half house” show and was nowhere near a sellout. The floor appeared to be sold out but none of the side bleachers were full, not even the lower sections. I was a little disappointed. The light crowd translated into light energy, too.
I was in the second row just to the right of center. Tink, Dwight and company were front row but over in the left section. Edith did not have a PBS ticket and was back on the crowd somewhere. While waiting for the show to start I chatted with my neighbors. This would be their third show, all in Tucson. They asked many questions and I answered them all. At one point they called me a “walking Celtic Woman encyclopedia.” Guilty as charged and I hope that's a good thing.
People always ask me why I go to so many shows, including my seatmates tonight, and the reason immediately became apparent. The lights went out and candles began appearing on stage, accompanied by three ethereal voices. Soon a fiddling frenzy joined the trio and magic journey had begun. I will never get tired of it. As usual, Einstein's Theory of Relativity is ignored as time speeds up and the journey is finished. Wait, what happened? It can't be over already?
Just a few comments on the show itself. It was one of the worst for lighting that I've seen in a while. One of the spotlights was about ¼ the brightness and one was about ½ the brightness they should have been. It made the stage appear very unbalanced. Add to that the fact that they still can't turn them on and off at the right time or point them in the right place and it makes for a very distracting performance. I hate to keep harping on this but they proved in Erie and Wilkes-Barre that it can be done right. The sound was great for an arena.
Tink had told me that both Lynn and Lisa were having voice troubles at previous shows and I noticed a little of that tonight. Lynn made a few subtle changes to My Lagan Love to make it easier on herself and Lisa sounded just a little hoarse. I hope that they both get a chance to rest their vocal chords and get back to normal soon. Chloë and Máiréad must both be drinking the same pure caffeine juice because they were both on fire. Chloë was bouncing all over the place and Máiréad was stomping her feet like it was a hoedown! Máiréad did 10 spins, gave Des a kiss on the cheek at the end of At the Ceili, and hip-butted Nick three times during i. Chloë let out a big “Whoa!” after hitting that note at the end of When You Believe. When Lynn asked the audience, during her insult-free introduction to Dulaman, if any of them spoke Irish and got silence in return she said “Shame on you!” and then added “That's OK, we don't either.”
As for My Heart Was Home Again, Lisa and Lynn are getting better and better. I could see tonight that they are both letting themselves become a part of the song like Alex did and I like it much better than earlier in the tour. It's still not Alex, though. I miss her. I really do. Really. Moving on...
M&G time. That beats Miller time any day! Mitch was in a good mood as was Rachel and the ever-delightful Claire. With Lisa and Lynn having vocal issues, I was expecting Máiréad and Chloë but we got Máiréad and Lynn. I took care of some forum business, got a few things signed for myself, including my ANJ program that got Órla's and Méav's signatures on Thursday, and got a few things signed for other members. Like the show, it was over far too soon.
The original review is here.