February 27th 2003
RAISING THE ROOF IN COWTOWN
Cheryl O Brien
|Old Man Winter's icy fingers mercilessly gripped
the Ft. Worth area early in the week, but the Irish Tenors received a red-hot Texas
welcome from the large crowd at the Bass Performance Hall on Thursday night.
Modelled somewhat after Carnegie Hall, the Bass is aesthetically elegant and acoustically
sound, still managing to retain an ambience of warmth and intimacy. Arnie Roth replaced
James Cavanaugh as maestro and conducted the talented orchestra in a spirited new
When the Tenors finally took the stage, they appeared rested and happy to be working together again. Their eyes searched the crowd sitting in the many tiers of the performance hall, and they seemed satisfied that Texas was indeed a good choice for a concert. Immediately, they launched into "The Star of the County Down", with lots of clowning and at least one healthy "Yeehaw" from Ronan, drawing laughter and a huge round of applause. Following that selection, they sang two songs from the Irish Medley and "The Rose of Tralee". Ronan commented that they know that all Texans think Texas is the capital of this country, and he said, that at least for Thursday night, it was true.
The solos began with Finbar singing an especially moving version of "Maggie". Then, Ronan sang "Scorn Not His Simplicity", after mentioning that the Special Olympics would be held in Ireland this summer. Anthony offered a beautiful rendition of "Lagan Love".
After the solos, the trio sang: "The Courtin' in the Kitchen Medley" and "Isle of Hope". More solos followed with Ronan choosing "The Old Man", reflecting every emotional word in his face and voice. Finbar laughed that they had packed suntan lotion and Ronan had brought his bikini, thinking Texas would be warm. So, he said he would sing the Irishman Jimmy Kennedy's song "South of the Border" to warm things up, which he did with the audience offering unsolicited help on some of the "sounds". Finbar smiled all the way through the song! The mood turned sombre again with Anthony's touching "Terence's Farewell".
Before the intermission, the group sang "Only Our Rivers Run Free" and "Let There Be Peace", followed without pause by a verse from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". real crowd pleasers!
Following the instrumental selections,the second half began with "The Minstrel Boy" and "Spanish Lady". Finbar then mused about singing a Willie Nelson song and offered up an a cappella verse of "Crazy". Amazing in its own right. But, he sang Johnny Cash's lovely "40 Shades of Green" instead. Anthony sang the poignant "Grace" and received an extended standing ovation from the appreciative audience. After cheering on Anthony from the curtain area, Ronan sang "The Town I Loved so Well" beautifully and forcefully. Again, the crowd rose in huge applause.
The beautiful "I'll Walk Beside You" was the next offering from the trio. Then, the "Phil the Fluther Medley" and a new version of "Molly" that had the crowd clapping in no time. The actual concert finished with ""We're On the One Road" and "God Bless America". The three encores, after three prolonged standing ovations, were "Will you Go, Lassie, Go?", "Whiskey in the Jar" replete with "YeeHaws" from Ronan and Finbar, and "Danny Boy". As the final song ended, the Tenors yelled to the crowd, "See you soon!" and Anthony added, "See you in Houston!" referring to his upcoming Texas concerts in April. The Irish Tenors seemed to enjoy Texas, but Texas definitely LOVED them and can't wait for their return!!!