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Mythology Takes CT to the next Level
on February 23, 2013
From the first time I saw Celtic Thunder perform on a PBS Special, I've been hooked. As fans, we've heard hints of something new coming, but just whispers about it, and nothing concrete about the direction. When they announced "it" would be in February, I could barely wait. Since it got here last week, I've played the DVD repeatedly. It is obvious that Sharon Browne and David Munro of Celtic Thunder have hit yet another one out of the park with "Mythology." Their talent has been to put the best people that they can find together, and let them do what they do best. Even the Mythology set is new and different - a huge Celtic Cross along with replicas of ancient stones on which appear visions of the past or the future. In an age where everything is run by computers, this whole undertaking represents the best of technology along with a practiced-eye toward what works well on stage.
Two years ago, when they lost two popular members of the group, there was some question about whether or not CT could take the hit - particularly since Ryan Kelly had already stepped back due to what was first described as personal problems, but what was later revealed to be threats made to he and his family by a deranged fan. They proved they could, and with the "promotion" of Neil Byrne, the return of Ryan Kelly, and the addition of Emmett Cahill, proved it well! "Voyage" and "Voyage II" were as strong, if not more so, and the new "sound" was, to me, even better. You wondered how they could top THAT...and along came the whispers of something that was to come..."Mythology." The harmonies on "Mythology" are just incredible, and much of the time you can't even pick out the solo voices in the group numbers. There's also another new performer, Colm Keegan.
Colm auditioned for a future position with the group and their intent was to bring him along slowly. It was a good thing that they had, because Ryan Kelly, "The Dark Destroyer" sustained an injury at home last summer which landed him in a local hospital in an induced coma for 3 weeks. Keegan stepped up and with but a few rough edges at first, has come into his own with "Mythology." Luckily, Ryan healed quickly and although he looks a bit peaked, you won't know unless you look for it. The Deluxe version of the DVD contains an extra CD of the lads showing you the Ireland they love. It's a bit of fun, and it's obvious that they like each other and have good times together. The second part of the Deluxe edition is about the making of "Mythology." It's not the fluff piece that so many DVD's have - it's each and every person who is a part of this effort, showing you just what it is they do - even the wardrobe mistress is shown "dressing" the Rookie, Keegan. Great fun! It's nice to see the mums and grand-mums, cousins and friends, and it is obvious that they are proud of CT - as they should be!
Whenever I've purchased a CD or a DVD, there are usually one or more tracks that I'm not very fond of. That's not so with "Mythology." From the first "Voices" calling you in, everything is beautifully lit, high-energy musical theatre at its best. Colm Keegan's version of "Katie" is almost haunting it's so ethereal, as is "The Edge of the Moon." I only wish I was 21 again - those blue eyes are to die for! Since he first replaced Paul Byrom, Emmet Cahill has made his own of the role of "The Irish Tenor." His "Isle of Innisfree" and "Danny Boy" give you a new look at the Irish Favorites - he literally lives the roles as he sings them, especially with the intro on "Danny Boy".
In "Mythology" you'll see Ryan's return to the role of "Dark Destroyer", but there's another level of feeling there. Perhaps it is due to his fear for his family's safety or it's his reality that life can end so quickly, but in either case, "Carricfergus" "House of the Rising Sun" and "The Thunder Rolls" all have a new dimension to them. I've loved watching Neil grow as a musician and a soloist, bringing us the best of his Irish wit, and the beautiful "Carolina Rua" from his solo album. Keith continues to amaze with cuts from his solo album showing up in "Mythology." "Tears of Hercules" is beautiful - and if you get the CD, make note of the fact that David Foster does the piano accompanyment. George Donaldson does "Scarlet Ribbons" and if I had to pick a favorite, this would be it, because it reminds me of my own dad singing it along with the radio when I was a little girl. "The Grande Affaire" is also a strong number.
The solos on this DVD are all unique, but it's the duets and the rollicking-fun ensemble pieces where Celtic Thunder shines. The band and the dancers get you stomping your feet and clapping to a rollicking "Hoedown" and "Lonesome Boatman into Reels." It's classically-Irish and when you watch Declan O'Donoghue just banging away on his drums and the rest of the musicians having fun too, you really want to jump up and join in. Belinda Murphy has choreographed this show as well - she knows just how to move everyone around on the stage, making it look natural and gay...or moody and touching at the same time. I love "Star of the County Down" and keep humming "The Rocky Road to Dub-u-lin 1-2-3-4-5" - you just can't figure out how on earth they can get all the words in without losing their breath! (If you watch the accompanying DVD in the Deluxe Edition, David Munro will show you how!)
I feel as though I'm gushing...as I write about one song, another one comes to mind. Let me finish by saying that from the first moment you hear "Voices" through to the anthem, "My Land," at the end, you will find song after song, solo after solo and ensemble pieces as well, that you'll have trouble figuring out which YOU like the best. I hope you'll enjoy their performance as much as I have. Celtic Thunder - you continue to be an experience more than just a band, and I thank you so very much for all you've put into "Mythology." It was nice to see your families, and touching to see their pride in you so evident. Can't wait for the Fall Tour!