Clannad @ The Concert Hall at NY Society for Ethical Culture (10/2/2012)

I’ve mentioned my wanting to share the occasional “other” music review with the readers of my side blog because I do periodically get to see things that fall outside of my normal criteria as the PiercingMetal Master and Commander. You see, while I do tend to make room for Progressive Rock over on that site, there are sometimes cases where you see a performance that does not fit in at all with your standard theme. Despite this, the group still merits some thoughts and the sharing of any of the images that you snared.

Such would be the case with the Irish group Clannad whose music while never completely followed over the course of my life, has always managed to bring a smile whenever it was heard on the radio or when surfing around the Internet. The group actually is rather famous and when Skeleton Pete said he was going to the show, I decided to see about attending myself.

clannad, clannad concert photos

The show would be held at The Concert Hall, located inside the NY Society for Ethical Culture and readers of my PiercingMetal.com site might recall how I have been to this space for the group Renaissance a few times already. I would actually be planning to see them here in a couple of weeks, but that is a story for another posting.

clannad, clannad concert photos

Being the casual fan found me hitting this show without much knowledge about what to expect outside of really pleasant and passionate melodies, so I checked in with Pete to find out when the group had last performed in this part of the world and I was surprised to learn that it had been almost twenty years since a proper US tour had been done. Having been to The Concert Hall in the past, I did agree that this was a perfect setting for their presentation.

clannad, clannad concert photos

Since I don’t often do the concert review pieces here nor have the same setup as I do for PM.com, I’ll be tossing you my thoughts as the photos get presented in the posting. I think that will work out the best for this particular narrative.

clannad, clannad concert photos

For those in the unaware, the group Clannad was formed in 1970 over in Ireland in an area called Gweedore. A part of County Donegal. They were a huge hit for the fans of Folk and Celtic music and broke big in 1982 with the theme from a series called “Harry’s Game”. The group is made up of siblings Moya, Pol and Ciaran Brennan along with their uncles Patrick and Noel. At one time their other sister Enya was involved in the group but she quickly followed her own career outside of the family business.

clannad, clannad concert photos

Thanks to the group’s Wikipedia and official site, I learned that they took a ten year hiatus back in 1997 and returned to action in 2007 to do some touring and map out recording plans to bring their sound into today’s ever changing music marketplace.

clannad, clannad concert photos

The concert tonight was listed as being on for 8pm, but when my show companion and I arrived at 7:45pm we found them already onstage and in the third song. This kind of stuff annoys me since I absolutely hate being late for a performance. Especially when its something new. Fortunately we were seated quickly and without incident.

clannad, clannad concert photos

The sound of the band was wonderful and Moya Brennan was delivering some truly beautiful notes. The groups musical director for the night seemed to be her brother Ciaran as he was not only playing guitar and singing, but also tooling around on a Powerbook that was mounted on a stand onstage.

clannad, clannad concert photos

There was a good level of band to crowd interaction between the songs but when a number was being played it was absolute silence as the audience sat mesmerized by the sounds being directed at them.

clannad, clannad concert photos

One of the most appealing parts of the set for me was how everyone sang along and really made this stuff sound all the more “big”. Once again I felt that this particular auditorium was a great idea for the show.

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

Moya had a harp setup for her as well and this added to the mix in a positive fashion. I don’t often see the instrument used in the shows that I frequent so found it a wonderful surprise. It added to the hypnotic nature of many of their songs this evening when she needed to use it.

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

Most of the songs from the first set were being sung in their native Gaelic but I could not tell you how much the body of this part of the show came from any particular work. I did manage to capture photos of the sets which I have for you later in the narrative so perhaps you can share with me if you like 🙂 I did learn later that the song “Something To Believe In” was a collaboration with Bruce Hornsby.

clannad, clannad concert photos

“Two Sisters” closed out the first part of the program tonight and it was a very lively song that found the audience participating with the group. Before it began Moya instructed us on where to sing along and gave us not one but three different phrases to remember. Whew. I did my best and had a lot of fun being a part of the action. I’m sure everyone else did as well as many stood and danced as this song brought us to the close of part one of the show.

clannad, clannad concert photos

After a short break the group returned and kicked into their second set. This one appeared to have all of their major public hits and a lot more of the tunes were listed in English as opposed to Gaelic sounding titles so I will assume they were from later in the bands catalog. This set featured a medley of songs from “Robin (The Hooded Man)” from their 1984 album “Legend” and this was also used for a television series called “Robin Of Sherwood”. I think I might need to look that show up on Netflix since I always loved the story of Robin Hood.

clannad, clannad concert photos

The second set also featured the theme from “Last Of The Mohicans” and “Harry’s Game” which I guess are cited as the songs by Clannad that “everyone knows”. It’s safe to say that the times that I have heard the group via the mediums mentioned earlier it would have been these tunes but I already said I was the newbie in the venue. I was still having a splendid time and that is all that counts in the end.

clannad, clannad concert photos

So much of the music of Clannad is haunting in its overall sound and it was touching some folks in the crowd around me. There were more than a couple of times where I saw fans clutching at handerchiefs and wiping their eyes based on the emotion that the tunes brought out of them. Wow. That always impressed and amazes me.

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

Closing up I will say that this was a wonderful night of music and good company which for me just makes the whole experience a lot better. The show itself was not a sold out event and that surprised me just a little bit since it had been so long since the group had paid us a visit but therein lies the problem. The crowd that once might have actively sought out this kind of show might be at the stage of their lives where they just don’t attend this kind of stuff even if they would like to. I have experienced this before and its not a reflection on the group at all. This next image is the last in the proper concert photos but don’t worry I have those set lists that I promised a few paragraphs up and some other images that I thought you might enjoy.

clannad, clannad concert photos

First Set: Na Buachaillí Álainn, Maire Bhruinneal, Crann Úll, Coinleach Ghlas An Fhómhair, Eleanor Plunkett/Fairly Shot of Her, Tower Hill, Mhorag’s na horo Gheallaidh, Something to Believe In, A Mhuirnín Ó, Buachaill Ón Éirne, An tÚll, Two Sisters

clannad, clannad concert photos

The Second Set: Newgrange, Éirigh Is Cuir Ort Do Chuid Éadaigh, dTigeas a Damhsa, Robin (The Hooded Man) Herne/Ancient Forest/Lady Marian/Action, In a Lifetime, Dúlamán @Info[bass and drum solos], I Will Find You, Closer to Your Heart, Theme From Harry’s Game, Teidhir Abhaile Riú, Nil Se’n La

clannad, clannad concert photos

Here’s some of the groups technical gear. I do this with all of my Metal show reports so I guess that old habits die hard. Bear with me alright?

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

Now here is a little bit of the merchandise that was on sale. A couple of nice tee shirt designs to choose from for sure and a photograph to be signed at the meet and greet held after the show. I didn’t stick around for that I am afraid.

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

clannad, clannad concert photos

If you enjoy Irish music in general or just find the Celtic style of some appeal, you cannot go wrong with a collection of Clannad’s greatest numbers. Here is a link on Amazon.com to help you along in your exploration into their highly influential melodies.

Official Website: http://www.clannad.ie/

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