Out and About: The Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando

Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Photo by J.M. Wetherington.

This past Sunday evening, Hard Rock Live Orlando was THE place to be for the kickoff of The Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 in North America. The 3,000-seat venue was sold out with “Thunderheads” (as their fans are called) who were more than ready to hear “the boys”, Ryan Kelly, Neil Byrne, Emmett O’Hanlon, Colm Keegan, Keith Harkin and Special Guest Artist (and former founding member) Damian McGinty do what they do best.

Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Photo by J.M. Wetherington.
Celtic Thunder at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Left to right: Keith Harkin and Colm Keegan.

The two and a half hour concert consists of, as the title suggests, about thirty songs that producer Sharon Browne and musical director David Munro have chosen as “The Very Best Of Celtic Thunder.” Browne, Munro and the group do not disappoint, as there was something musical for all their fans in attendance. From the rousing “The Galway Girl,” to the laugh-out-loud “Seven Drunken Nights,” to the melancholy “Hallelujah,” to the rousing “A Place in the Choir”, Celtic Thunder filled the night with music and entertaining performances.

Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Photo by J.M. Wetherington.
Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Ryan Kelly performs solo.

Highlights of the concert were the boys’ tribute to their friend and fellow founding member of Celtic Thunder, the late George Donaldson, who passed away in March of 2014 (something Ryan Kelly hinted they would do when I interviewed him in January), as well as Neil Byrne’s solo performance of “Noreen”, a favorite song of his uncle who had passed away Sunday morning.

Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Photo by J.M. Wetherington.
Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Keith Harkin performs solo.

The group also entertained with several cover songs, such as “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by fellow Irish group U2, “Desperado”, Home”, “You Raise Me Up,” and Damian McGinty’s performance (in leather jacket, white t-shirt and denim jeans to recall the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s) of “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” by Neil Sedaka.

Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Photo by J.M. Wetherington.

And, because very few reviewers seldom do, I want to give a shout out to the band members; David Munro, Seamus Brett, Davey Bakey, Declan O’Donoghue, John O’Brien, Nicole Hudson, Seana Davey and Laura Durant, as well as the audio, lighting, and set crews who all work together to make the night’s production a wonderful and entertaining event for Celtic Thunder fans. Special shout out to Merchandising Manager Stephen McCabe and his assistant Dudley Browne for how courteously and efficiently they dealt with the absolute mob of people who wanted to buy CD’s, DVD’s, T-shirts and souvenirs from their single table in the lobby.

Celtic Thunder Tour 2015 at Hard Rock Live Orlando. Photo by J.M. Wetherington.

Thanks to Celtic Thunder for the opportunity to see the first show of their tour. It was a great concert and if you ever get the opportunity to see Celtic Thunder perform in person, I highly recommend it!

For more information on Celtic Thunder, including tour dates, visit celticthunder.ie.

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