Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Concert At The Birchmere: Loreena McKennitt

Just a reminder: It's okay to leave comments!

Few forms of art tell stories as well as the old songs and poetry of Ireland and Scotland, and few musicians can bring these to the masses as well as Loreena McKennitt. I attended her concert at The Birchmere last night, and I wasn't disappointed.

Image of the entrance to The Birchmere
Entrance to The Birchmere auditorium
(this is inside where the "Flex Stage" and bar is located)
First of all, if you've never been to The Birchmere, it's a little different. It isn't a huge place, more like a big cafeteria with a stage up front. You buy your ticket (online is best as a lot of the shows are sold out) and when you arrive they give you a number at the box office (in the order in which you arrive). After a while, they start calling the numbers for seating. Advice: get there early.

When you go into the auditorium, you pick your own seat. The tables seat anywhere from 2 to 8 people. The location can make a big difference in your concert experience, so being among the first to choose does help. My party was not among those, but we did all right. Almost immediately, waiters/waitresses come around to ask if you want to order anything to eat. Yes, they do serve food, which wasn't too bad, though it isn't cheap. They come back during intermission for additional orders (coffee, dessert).

Loreena did two shows at The Birchmere. Both were sold out. Accompanying her on stage were Brian Hughes (guitar and bouzouki) and cellist Caroline Lavelle (cello, recorder, and "squeezebox"). There was also another fellow that joined them on the fiddle briefly, but I did not catch his name. Loreena said he is often found selling their merchandise at the shows, but tonight he was helping them out on stage.

The show was in two parts (or three, if you include the encore). The first part was heavy into Celtic history and a lot of stories concerning here travels to Ireland and other places where the early Celts lived. She also included readings and music from a play she worked on (though didn't bring to fruition) concerning Irish history.

The is one note I'd like to add. Near the beginning of the first part, Loreena explained how distracting it can be for people to take photographs while they are playing. She did, however, play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" for a short while asking everyone who wanted a picture to take it then. There were lots of laughs and lots of pictures taken. I tried, but my photo do not come out well. I did get a picture of the stage before the show started (below).

Image inside The Birchmere for Loreena McKennitt's performance
The stage for Loreena McKinnett's performance

The second part of the show was more music and less history than the first half. Towards the end, she performed several of my favorites including The Stolen Child and The Bonny Swans. And yes, when performing live, she sounds just like she does on her recordings. The acoustics there were actually quite good for this type of performance, though the guitar was a little loud at some points. It was interesting to watch Brian Hughes play as he was sometimes using more than on instrument during a song, once for only one note (or effect, if you will). It all went off without a hitch. Caroline Lavelle also played flawlessly (or so it seemed to my limited musical knowledge), and added her voice to the mix at times.

So, yes, it was a good concert!

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feels free to post a comment!
Note: All comments will be moderated and will not be shown unless approved. Inappropriate comments will be removed.