Friday, November 9, 2012

Mack's Review of Armagh Concert

Mack is a great Libera fan from California USA. We call him Mack, but he is known to many of us as LiberaGrandpa. He got to attend his very first Libera concerts in Northern Ireland and wrote a review about concert #1 in Armagh. Reviews by concert newbies are always the best! Thank you, Mack, for sharing with everyone! :D

I am a newbie when it comes to Libera in general and in going to their concerts. I only found out about Libera a year ago last September. The Northern Ireland concerts were my first concerts. I tried to attend 3 previous outings, but for one reason or another it was not to be.  So fourth time’s a charm.
I arrived in Belfast, No. Ireland on a Tuesday evening. It was cold, but not extremely so.  I had reserved a car for getting around. I had planned to drive down to Armagh from Belfast on the day of the concert and then return to Belfast, as finding suitable local transportation was almost impossible. Little did I know that just trying to find my hotel was going to be an ordeal. I kept going in circles for 2 hours, with my destination at one point, just a block away, little did I know….lol. I finally saw a police car behind me. I just stopped in the street, figured I’d screwed up big time, flagged them forward, and said, “Hi, I’m lost.” I told them I was trying to find my hotel but couldn’t. They were great. They booked me, threw me in jail………oh wait, that’s fiction. They were great and told me to follow them. They made a couple of lefts and said, ”There’s your hotel. Enjoy your stay.” I was saved.
After a night’s sleep, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. local time and couldn’t get back to sleep. At  7a.m. I had  breakfast then walked over to St. Peter’s Cathedral where Libera would be singing the day after tomorrow. I later came across Yorkie and Paul who were staying down the street from me. We went to a local establishment and talked for quite a while. Yorkie has a wicked sense of humor, and Paul is no slouch either. Great craic, as the Irish would say. We met up later with Patrick, his nephew, Francois and Furby. Off we went to find dinner. We ended up at a TGI Friday’s, an American chain restaurant! I came all the way to Belfast to eat American food… I had a blast listening to everyone’s stories.
Concert day in Armagh. I had been looking forward to this. Who will the lads be? Will Josh be there like in the Channel Islands? If he is, will he have a solo? What will the song set list be? All kinds of questions ran through my mind. At 10 a.m. we headed out. Patrick did a great job of leading, I had no trouble following. Then we ran into a traffic jam. No problem, it’s early. After a few detours, we parked at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and met up with Tony and Bernard. We took pictures inside and out. Sam Coates, Jonathan Barrington, Steven Geraghty, Ian Tilley and a couple of others were busy working hard to get the Cathedral ready for that night’s concert. We left them to their tasks and headed to town for some lunch. When we got back to St. Patrick’s, Yorkie and Paul joined us. We went inside the Cathedral, as it was quite brisk outside. At 4 p.m. Sam told us they needed to lock the doors, so out we went into the cold, cruel world.
There were nine of us in the queue and then John showed up with Yuki & Mummy-san. It got colder. Yuki, Mummy-san and Patrick’s nephew sat in a car to keep warm. By 6:00 p.m. it was extremely cold. The doors opened just before 7:00.
It’s “Showtime”. The audience had grown to about 200 inside. They pretty much filled the center pews all the way back. I was second pew, center aisle, right side. Patrick was to my right. I was one happy camper, considering who I was sitting with. The musicians came out, a string quartet from Ireland, then Steven G, Ian Tilley and Simon on percussion. Then Robert Prizeman came out. It got quiet. The lights dimmed, and Cassius made the welcome announcement and prohibitions on recording devices of any kind. Then the shadows began to move as the boys made their way out on that cold marble that was the stage for the show. The music started, lights came up and there they were. JOSH was in white robes! I had died and gone to heaven. Will he have a solo? Only time would tell.
During their first 2 or 3 songs I was trying to identify the boys, but it distracted me from the show. Others who know the lads on sight have already identified them on other blogs. I am only going to give you my feelings on the songs. Sorry if you were hoping for more. I was totally overwhelmed by the experience of my first live concert. As I mentioned, the first couple of songs I was trying to identify who was who, so I don’t have much recollection of them. They were Dies Irae & Gloria. But on Eternal Light, the sound was heavenly. I was swept away in the joy of their voices and the song. The next song, Voca Me, I tried to go back to identifying the lads singing lead and seconds and so forth….so again, no recollection. Sanctus was next. I stopped trying to identify again and gave myself to the performance. I found myself smiling like a Cheshire cat, and my eyes, for some reason, were leaking. Such a wimp.
Next came I Vow to Thee My Country. I love the way the boys perform this song, and before I knew it, it was over. I was totally absorbed in the performance. Next was Salva, again totally absorbed in the sound. Over. Next was Be Still My Soul. I found myself floating on their voices as if I were a boat at sea on the waves. Loved it. How Shall I Sing was next. I was lost in the song. Over! Interval. I wiped my eyes dry and sucked it up.
During the interval, I asked Patrick’s 12-year-old nephew what he thought of the show so far. He smiled, gave a thumbs up and nodded his head. I asked Furby (Quentin), who was the other concert ‘newbie’, what he thought. He had the same glazed look on his face that I felt I had on mine. We both had enjoyed part one. Andy Winter came out and spoke to a couple of the die hard fans. He turned to me and said, “You must be Mack.” I said “Yes, I am LiberaGrandpa” as I shook his hand. He said “I know that.” WHAT!!!!!!!!!! He knew who I was!!!!!!!!! I was in shock. I told him I had enjoyed his globe trekking tweets on twitter, he chuckled, said "they were fun", and then moved on. A gracious man.
I spoke to a few more people. I asked Yuki and her mom how they liked the first half. Yuki just smiled, and her mom nodded her head. I then asked Yuki the name of a couple of albums that she recommended I buy to add to my Libera collection. I own 5, including SOL – A Collection. It arrived the Friday before I left. I went to the front to see if I could pick up a new one, but alas, they had only brought 2 different albums, SOL, of course, and their Christmas album from last year, as it is getting to be that time of year again. So no new album. But before I buy them through their website, I will wait for the London show. But that’s another story. It hasn’t happened yet…… Stay tuned……J
The second half began. First up was Mysterium. Jude had the solo. Bless his heart, he was trying so hard to get this right, I think he got lost a little. RP stepped into his line of sight and got him back where he needed to be. That flowed right into Orinoco Flow (pun intended), one of my favorite songs including the moves. It is just a show stopper. Well done, lads. Next up, Far Away, another of my favs. It was over before I knew it. I was in awe of the emotion coming out of such a little boy. Powerfully moving. Eyes leaking again, but I was smiling like a banshee too…..:) Next was The Fountain. I got lost in the song, again, over before I knew it. Grateful Heart was next. I remember bits and pieces of the song. I was getting so into their performance I was missing pieces of time. Needless to say, I loved it.
We next had a song where Josh played the piano. I don’t know if he sang with it also. I couldn’t see him as he was behind the other boys during the song. Superb. At the point of the “V” was the only other boy from the Leiden group still singing in white robes, Tiarnan (Josh, of course, being the other one). Sanctissima was next. I remember swaying up and down, left to right with this one. Totally into it. Stay With Me was next. I remember the song starting, and the next thing I knew, Glory to Thee, was ending. Which was the next song? Was it an alien abduction or what? I don’t know what happened. Then they thanked everyone for coming. WHAT! Where did the time go? They made the announcement that the next song was the last song which was Exultate. It was stunning. Everyone was on their feet applauding like mad. We settled down, and they did their theme song of Libera for the encore…….Another standing ovation. We continued to applaud as they waved and filed off the stage. So concludes my First Live Libera concert. I would do it again in a heartbeat. But I had to wait until the next day in Belfast

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