The Market Place Theatre, Armagh - Monday 4th Dec ’06

Betty Connolly......
Wonderful night in Armagh last night. The Marketplace Theatre is a lovely venue, only holds about 350 people. No bar inside theatre, so no drink, so no comings and goings during the show. Brian had everyone's undivided attention from the moment he stepped on stage. The front two rows aren't the best for seeing the stage...bit of a 'crick in the neck' situation, so they were mostly empty. We were seated on one of the side galleries (seats 2 and 3, so the view of the stage, and Brian, was wonderful. Totally uninterrupted and very close. There was a lady on her own in seat 1, and when we got talking before Brian came on, she told me she was 91 and was at the concert on her own.!! Brian's oldest fan, I wonder??. So hello to Ellen, very nice to talk with you.

Still sporting the beard (James too), blue jeans, white shirt and 'that' black jacket. Brian and James treated us to a more melancholic set than usual, but no complaints from me, including 'Better Man', 'Raglan Road', 'The Island' (beautiful), 'Silver Hearts', 'First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', 'Margaret Barry', 'Carrickfergus'. Also 'Destination' and 'Go With My Heart' from 'Homebird', 'Crazy Love'-'Have I Told You Lately', 'Captured'-'Marble Halls', 'Message In The Box', amongst others, and encored of course with 'You Raise Me Up'.

I love Brian singing 'Marble Halls' and would love hearing the whole song. He commented that the 'choir' was sounding very good, if a bit shy!! Bit of a problem with tuning during the show, but the 'ever-ready' Fred came to the rescue with a spare battery for some bit of gear. Lovely backing vocals from James. Brian explained that he grew the beard when he was filming in Norway for a show to be aired during January, in an attempt to keep warm!! Another theory, he said, is that it's in honour of George Best (or Ronnie Drew, if he lets it grow a bit longer)...!

Speaking to Brian after the show, and remarking on the more melancholic set, he said that he hadn't been feeling well all day with a tummy bug, but being the true professional, one would never have guessed from his performance that he was anything other than 100% fit. Not having heard Brian live for some months, I'm always again surprised at how mesmerising his voice is...now of course I can't wait for the next experience. Castleblaney on the 30th Dec. I hope. A very-soon-to-be-repeated experience.