There were three reasons that really enticed me to go to Celtic Crossroads' show. First, as an employee of the Kentucky Center I got a really good deal on my tickets. Two, I like Irish music, so it wasn’t like I was going to a show I knew I’d hate. Three, St. Patrick’s Day is next weekend, so this was my pre-St. Patrick’s Day entertainment. This spring seems heavy on Irish shows with Celtic Crossroads yesterday, Celtic Woman at the Louisville Palace on April 10th, and Riverdance at the Kentucky Center May 16. Maybe I just have not noticed so many Irish shows in the past, but my mind set before the show was along the line of, “Well it’s just another Celtic stage act.” To be honest, I was not all that excited.
When I first walked into the Brown Theatre I surprised to find so many people crowded around the merchandise table. Obviously wondering what all the buzz was, I pushed through some people to take a look at what they had to offer. Out of all the concerts I have seen in my lifetime, this band had the best merchandise setup I’ve ever seen. For Irish music enthusiasts and/or people proud of their Irish heritage, they had shirts that were selling very well, gorgeous jewelry, CDs, DVDs, and some ornate scarves. There were even people, with no intent of seeing the show, walking in off the street just to shop at their merchandise table. I’m sure the fact that St. Patrick’s Day is within a week helped their sales. Everything was also reasonably priced with the highest priced item, that I noticed, was a hooded sweatshirt for $30. I walked away with $50 worth of goodies.
Before seeing the performance I was a bit worried the show was going to border on cheesy with dancers with big curly hair and leprechaun images projected. American tourists can be spotted a mile away, and I feel sometimes groups cater to that stereotype. Thankfully Celtic Crossroads did not. The performers were very genuine, unique, and respectful in performing their own rendition of our music. The minimalist stage design and lighting of the set were also quite tasteful and very appealing, no cheesy projections here.
The show overall was great and exceeded my expectations. The charismatic group of musicians and dancers were highly skilled and performed an assortment of music from Europe. Each musician also rotated between different instruments. The show was also educational as they would explain different forms of the music, where the music originated from, and other cool tidbits of information. My favorite song of the night was Czardas, a popular Hungarian and Romanian dance tune. I had a Romanian roommate for a year who used to play this all the time. This brought back some good memories. Michael played the music with such feeling that I could have swore he went from Irish to Romanian. The tempo changes were energetic, Michael maneuvered through the harmonic passage successfully, and the whole band had this fun energy while they were playing it. All of the musicians and dancers were also kind enough to meet their fans after the show and attend an after party at the downtown O’Sheas. Not only are all the performers very successful and talented artists but also great people.
Please note Anna Blanton is an employee of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.
Photo: Courtesy of the Kentucky Center
Video: Courtesy of Celtic Crossroads