Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brief Critique of Atlanta Show

After writing a full-length Celtic Woman review on my family's blog, I was still on cloud nine and was not in any mood to critique it. But, after a few days (and a few small yet nonetheless embarrassing mistakes at work), the mood has passed on, though what I have to say is nowhere near as harsh as the "Songs from the Heart" DVD.

As I said in my other review, the candles used at a few points during the show reminded me more of an attempt to be like Anuna (who uses candles at times during their performances), which I don't give as a compliment. The lighting was not as annoying as my first show, where I felt like I was being blinded, but I thought they could have made the colors a little more subtle and not so bright.

The song choices, I thought, were good yet interesting. I think Celtic Woman was paying attention to fan reviews that said the new show was far too slow with not enough lively tunes because they sure made up for that, adding "Orinoco Flow", "At the Ceili", "Granuaile's Dance", "Mo Ghile Mear", and "Spanish Lady." It was a smart move on their part to add some variety. I liked Alex's new solo "My Heart Was Home Again" and thought it really showed off her voice so that she doesn't look like "the Orla stand-in with Lisa's voice yet the simplest songs out of all the girls". The new group piece was amazing, and I loved how they combined three (or four) songs into one, which is a very Irish thing to do. I wasn't disappointed that "True Colors" and "O America" were not in there, as I'm not fond of either, so pretty much I enjoyed all the songs performed.

However, that being said, I did have one major issue with one song: "Dulaman." I expected "Carolina Rua' to be performed; I like "Dulaman," but to me it's a Meav song while "Carolina Rua" is a Lynn song. If it's because of a supposed copyright issue or something similar, like is being claimed, I find it completely stupid and nonsensical; if you don't have the copyrights for it, then why do you perform it on a tour, then for a new show, release it as an Amazon-only download for both song and video, and then completely remove it from the new tour? It doesn't make sense to make fans all excited about it when it's performed on the "Isle of Hope" tour and performed at Powerscourt and then not release it at all, especially because I've seen that it's a fan favorite and there has been much disappointment over it's "disappearance". I could rant about this, so I'll just shut my mouth and get off my soap box.

Another disappointment at the show to me was Chloe's voice. When I first discovered Celtic Woman back in January of 2006, Chloe's "Walking in the Air" was what captured my attention, especially when later I found out she was only fifteen at the time of the recording; I was amazed that someone so young could sound so beautiful, with a sense of youth yet maturity at the same time. However, as I've noticed over the past few years, her voice and performances have not been as well-done as in the past. What I heard earlier this week sounded like (as another reader put it and which I agree with) Mariah Carey or an attempt at the R&B genra. It's completely out of line with her Classical voice, and I find it is very weak. The motions she does on stage, both at the live recording and what I saw live in Atlanta, were meant to convey emotion, but they did not seem real. Her voice used to sound so young and yet mature (much like Hayley Westenra), but now that has passed into lacking its original power. I'm not sure if Chloe is consciously doing this on her own accord or if management or the musical director is pushing her that way, but it does not sound good on her. I find her earlier performances, even if she looked stiff during them, to sound more powerful (I'm thinking of "To Where You Are", one of my favorites by her, as well as "Nella Fantasia").

Back to the positive. The girls looked like they were having fun that night, and I think Mairead was simply on fire. The show, as a whole, looked a lot less commercialized than what I saw last March, which was a big plus. I also enjoyed the girls speaking to the audience and using microphones on occasion, which made it seem a little more intimate and less like a show. I'm positive part of the show was lip-synched, but I'm actually puzzled about how much, as the microphones slightly threw me off. I did thought I heard two sour notes from Alex during "You'll Be in My Heart," but that song seemed live to me.

All in all, I enjoyed this show much better than the DVD and better than the show I saw last March.