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It’s showtime!  

 

If you’ve been following this blog, you might know that the summer of 2018 was our summer of concerts.  Since I recently bought tickets to three more shows and have one more that has been planned since February 2018, I can safely say that 2019 will continue on the concert theme.

Some months ago, I noticed an ad on Facebook for the Irish Folk Festival.  This is an annual tour that celebrated its 45th anniversary this year.  Every year, bands that play Celtic music travel through Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Benelux.  And yet, even though this festival is almost as old as I am, I somehow never knew about it until I saw that Facebook ad.  Since I was on a roll buying tickets for shows, I decided to pick up a pair for Bill and me.  They were comparatively cheap.  I think I spent a little over 80 euros for two tickets and we sat in the second row.

Thanks to all of the big name acts we’ve seen this year, there were a couple of times I actually forgot that we’d bought tickets for this show.  I set up a reminder on Facebook, just so we wouldn’t forget to attend.  I’m so glad we did manage to catch this festival.  We had a wonderful time!

Last night’s show started at 8:00pm at the Stuttgart Theaterhaus, located very close to Robinson Barracks.  Bill and I have passed that Theaterhaus a few times, but this was the first time we ever took in a show there.  It’s a very nice venue.  Next door, there is a restaurant that we would have liked to try if we’d had time.  Unfortunately, we were caught in hellacious Stuttgart traffic and arrived at the venue about an hour before showtime.  The restaurant was very full and we didn’t think we’d have time to eat.  However, there were a couple of bars open and they did have sandwiches and candy available.  We each had a beer.

The theme was the hope for Ireland’s reunification after Brexit.  The lineup included several acts that I had never heard of, but I left the venue with several new CDs that I can’t wait to plug into my Celtic music mix.  We had the pleasure of being entertained by: Joanna Hyde & Tadhg Ó Meachair, Christy Barry & James Devitt, Ailie Robertson’s Traditional Spirits, and The Outside Track.  The show lasted a solid three hours with one twenty minute break.

Bill and I left as they were doing the last song, because it was already 11:00pm, and he gets up early for work.  The mostly German crowd was on its feet at the end.  They enjoyed the show as much as we did.  We saw more than one person wearing a kilt.  I was sorry Bill hadn’t worn his!

Below are some photos from last night’s show, along with a little light commentary.

It was just starting to get busy in the Theaterhaus when we arrived.  I was marveling at how nice it was.  I wish we’d had the chance to go to other shows during our time here.  Maybe we’ll have another opportunity at a later date.

 

Some information about other planned shows.

I got a kick out of this giant sign for the toilets.  I didn’t get a picture, but next to this lit up sign, there’s an Andy Warhol style graphic depiction of toilets.  That’s one way to make sure theatergoers know where to go when they have to go.

 

The venue has quirky decor.

 

My goofy husband, being a good provider.  He bought peanuts and crispy M&Ms so I wouldn’t get too hangry.

 

I’m always intrigued by graffiti and stuff people leave in bathrooms.  Here’s a statement on the evils of prostitution…  Prostitution is legal in Germany.

 

Our view before the show started.  A German couple sat next to us and asked if we were from Ireland.  We admitted to being Americans, albeit with lots of Celtic heritage.  The couple seemed surprised we’ve been in Germany for four years and are moving to another German city.  They wondered if we would eventually go back to the USA.  I’m sure we will at some point… but then again, maybe we won’t.  Time will tell.  I noticed they didn’t come back after the pause.  I hope we didn’t offend.

 

The local concert promoter was a German guy who wore a green suit covered in shamrocks.  He reminded me a little of Steve Martin before his hair went completely white.  I almost expected him to have an arrow through his head, the way Martin used to about 40 years ago when he did stand up comedy.  I understood some of what the guy was saying and noticed he had a good sense of humor.  The performers spoke a little bit of basic German, but the rest was done in English.  I noticed most of the people around us understood English perfectly well.  Once again, I regret not studying German in school instead of the six years of Spanish I took.

I did not take any photos during most of the show, nor did I do any filming.  Having performed on a stage myself, I understand that photography can be distracting, especially when people use flash.  Also, I think it’s rude to watch a concert through a cell phone screen.  I did get a few photos at the end of the show, when the excellent performers were doing their finale and taking their bows.

 Ailie Robertson, playing harp, seemed to be the evening’s bandleader.  She performed first with her band, Traditional Spirits, and explained how her music was about the making of whisky in Scotland, particularly in splendid Islay, which Bill and I have had the good fortune to visit twice.  After the pause, she joined her band, The Outside Track, which consists of almost all females and includes members from Ireland, Scotland, and Canada!  The lady in the sparkling green dress is lead singer, Teresa Horgan, who also served as a great bandleader and has a stunningly beautiful voice.

Mairi Rankin, the beautiful redhead from Cape Breton, Canada dancing front and center, was absolutely enchanting as she played her fiddle, sang, and danced.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  She had a wonderful stage presence and seemed to really enjoy her work.  I was drawn to her and probably would have loved to have had the chance to chat with her after the show.  She has a very friendly and kind aura.

 

A close up of the dancing!

Mairi is joined by Joanna Hyde and a guy named Cillian O’Dalaigh.  Cillian had fabulous hair and played flute and guitar and danced and sang.  He was another one I was drawn to watch.

Taking a bow!

The rest of these pictures are a little repetitive, but I’m including them for the curious.  It really was a wonderful show and the house was packed.  The tour continues tonight in Ravensburg and ends on November 17th in Hamburg.  I would definitely recommend getting tickets to any of the upcoming shows or planning to see this next year.  I see that they stopped in Mannheim and Frankfurt earlier in their tour, so if we’re still in Germany a year from now, we’ll have to make plans to attend.  It was time and money well spent for us!  And frankly, I was a little jealous because I wanted to be on stage, too… and I wish I had kept studying music when I was young.  Oh well…  At the end of this post, I’ll include a video I did of one of the songs we heard last night.  Yes, it’s me singing.

Well deserved accolades!

The song on this video, which includes pictures from Capri and Amalfi, is “Get Me Through December”.  I originally heard this done by Alison Krauss and Nova Scotia native and fiddle player Natalie MacMaster, but it was also performed last night by Teresa Horgan and the rest of The Outside Track.  I may have to do this one again today…  By the way… I would love to see Natalie MacMaster and her fantastic family play in Germany.  Maybe someday…  This version is mine, and the arrangement is similar to the one done by Alison Krauss and Natalie MacMaster.  Last night’s version was done in a lower key, but was no less ethereal.

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