My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Ronan Keating has the Time of his Life in Wellington!

I had been keenly looking forward to Ronan Keating’s visit to Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre since the tour dates were announced several months ago, and this weekend, my anticipation was finally satiated as Ronan brought his Time of my Life world tour to Auckland first, and then Wellington for two nights.

Not even a slight delay between the warm-up set from support act, Ciaran McMeekin in order for Ronan and the band to be able to enjoy the annual Sky Show fireworks display in the adjacent harbour could dampen my spirits, and the band was soon rocking into the opening number, Time of my Life.

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Although at times the vocals were lost within the sound mix of the instruments, the extensive setlist was a journey through the last 23-plus years of Ronan’s life in music.  From the ever-popular Lovin’ Each Day, to the poignancy of Landslide and Breathe, there was something for everyone to enjoy (although perhaps not the gentleman beside me who had clearly been dragged along by his more-of-a-fan wife – heh heh!)

Snippet from Ronan singing “Breathe”

Of course it was also entertaining to be treated to stories and anecdotes which Ronan shared with the audience along the journey through the concert, including joining him “in his kitchen” for a brief break-down set of songs, including a tin whistle solo which Ronan was impressed that after 67 concerts across the world since August, the only audiences that applauded the tin whistle were the New Zealand audiences!

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The “break down” set in which Ronan invited us into his kitchen where he wrote a lot of his latest album, Time of my Life

Of course, the biggest crowd favourite, When You Say Nothing At All, towards the end of the show, brought everyone to their feet with delight, and from there, the concert finished with a crescendo, through Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl and Life is a Rollercoaster.

After a brief pause in which Ronan and the band left the stage after the “fake last song,” and the audience continued to applaud, chant and clap, the band reappeared and, to the delight (and probably annoyance of the two Cantabrians I was seated beside!), Ronan emerged again wearing a signed Hurricanes rugby jersey and holding the Super Rugby trophy aloft (the Wellington based team, the Hurricanes, were the winners of this rugby tournament this year).

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Ronan went on to thank members of the Hurricanes’ team for making his song, When you say nothing at all, so popular this year after he visited with them when their visits to Sydney, Australia coincided earlier this year, before signing off the show with the always-meaningful One More Song, and The Long Goodbye … in which Ronan seemed to promise that he would be coming back to Wellington again soon!

We’ll hold you to that, Ronan, but thanks for making the trip this year and for sharing your music and your story with us in New Zealand again; you make the world smile and that’s what is needed right now!

Short snippet of my favourite song, If Tomorrow Never Comes

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Why CDs can’t be lost …

Because if I didn’t have a CD, I wouldn’t have been able to have this momento now of the memory and privilege of hearing Paul Potts singing live this week:

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(Although, in saying that, even a recorded voice onto a CD disc in no way compares to hearing that same voice, live and unaffected by anything manufactured, in front of you!)

But anyway, I was given two tickets for myself and a friend to attend one of Paul Potts’ concerts as he toured around our country.

I was most impressed that we didn’t have to sit through a “support act” as is usually the case with these international artists which visit our shores, and the show started on the dot of 7.30pm as Stewart Macpherson, the promoter, introduced us to Mr Paul Potts!

We did, actually, have a “special guest” joining Paul Potts for the concert, but the setlist was arranged in such a way that it felt like you weren’t left sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for the headline act to come back out onto the stage again.

And Anna Hawkins was an incredibly able “special guest” too!

She won me over completely with her rendition of “She moved through the Fair” and the duet of “The Prayer” she performed together with Paul Potts will stay in my mind for a long time to come!

I think my favourite Paul Potts solo performances were “Il Gladiatore” and “Time to say Goodbye,” but you can’t go past a good “Nessun Dorma,” can you?!!  And that was a stunning end to a wonderful show!

Thanks to Ticketek NZ for selecting me the front-row seats to enjoy the occasion, and thanks to Anna and Paul for having such tremendous vocal talents and for sharing them with the world!

And if you’re still unaware of who Paul Potts is, join with the other 123,000,000 viewers and enjoy his first audition tape at Britain’s Got Talent 2007:

 

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Blog Challenge: Day 30 – my favourite song

Day 30- Your favorite song

I think I’ve already mentioned this earlier in this Challenge … but the song is so GOOD, that it’s worth mentioning again anyway 😉

My favourite song of all time is definitely You Raise Me Up.

Westlife version of my favourite tune

I think I first heard it about 15 years ago, and fell in love with the melody … not to mention the lyrics … immediately!

You Raise Me Up was written by Rolf Lovland and Brendan Graham in 2002 and released on the Secret Garden album titled “Once in a Red Moon.”

I don’t know if it’s the traditional Irish tune in the melody, or the inspirational lyrics that Brendan Graham wrote, but there’s just something about the whole “package” that inspires me and lifts me up.  I was immensely impressed the year that Russell Watson recorded and released the song on one of his albums … and even more impressed when I was privileged to actually hear him sing it live when he toured New Zealand a few years ago!

When I heard that my favourite band, Westlife, were planning to record and release the song as well in 2005, I think I actually cried, I was so blown-away that they would lend their amazing vocal abilities to such an amazing song!  Needless to say, it soon became my favourite track on the “Face to Face” album and favourite part of any concert of theirs I was privileged enough to see live.

If you have never heard the song, or even read the lyrics, and you are feeling sad or depressed about anything, I totally suggest you find a recording somewhere and just sit back and be encouraged 🙂

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

You raise me up… To more than I can be.

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Sixpence for your thoughts?

Last month, I had a strange prompting in the back of my mind … well, it was more like the front of my mind, really … to have a search on Facebook to see if the band known as Sixpence None the Richer had been up to anything recently.

The last I remember hearing anything from their direction was lead singer, Leigh Nash, and guitarist/songwriter, Matt Slocum, undertaking a bit of solo stuff for a while, so imagine my delight when I read:  “Sixpence None The Richer has a new album, Lost in Transition.  And it had been released just a week earlier on 7 August this year!  There are some things not having an income won’t stop and I will always be able to find a few spare dollars to buy a favourite artist’s music 🙂

I haven’t been disappointed either … I can’t even decide which track on the album is a “favourite” either; they are all uniquely amazing and musically fantastic to listen to … from the relaxed tones of Failure, to the upbeat and uplifting sound of Give it Back (not least because Matt Slocum plays some great guitar through the tune!) … to the positive vibe of the Be OK … all 13 tracks feel just like the Sixpence of old, and yet, there is something extra from the last time I heard anything from this group back in 2002 (Divine Discontent).

If you’re a fan of a slightly different pop music sound, or just want to enjoy a great record, give Lost in Transition a listen and let it “take you where you want to go” (as the lead song on the album, My Dear Machine, encourages us to do!

www.sixpencehq.com

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Memories of a Westlife fan …

Okay, so in case you’re reading this blog post and you’re not aware yet that Westlife is one of my favourite bands in the music scene, this June the 23rd is actually going to be the last time the group will ever perform either live or in a recording studio together (There, I said it – kind of feels weird seeing that written down in black and white, as it were).

I just thought I’d take this moment away from my usual witty, informative and fascinating blog posts (heh heh!) to think about what this band has meant to my life over the last 14 years … yes, that’s right folks; Westlife, believe it or not, have been “boybanding” (I made a new word!) for 14 years!  Kind of fitting really, as it goes nicely alongside the 14 number one singles the band has had in the UK music charts over the years!

Anyway, aside from the music of course, which I have always found to be uplifting, encouraging, cheerful and inspiring (sometimes all at the same time!), I have had many happy memories over the past few years, seeing new places and meeting new people, and I have a shared love of a music group to thank for it!

I’ll never forget my first Westlife concert, when they finally decided that the South Pacific was actually quite a fun place to be and so the young men brought their 2007 “Love Tour” to Australia!  As well as being the first time in this magnificent city, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Victoria for the first time, as well as the rest of the Aussie Westlife Force:

Skip forward only a year, and this time Westlife decided that New Zealand deserved to hear them sing live also and I was blessed to have a second row vantage point for their show in my own home town:

        

Another unforgettable night!

And I know it sounds incredibly reckless and silly, but given that it was the 10 year anniversary celebration of the band being together, I decided it was high time I visited with friends (who also shared a love of Westlife!) in the United Kingdom, and managed to coincide it with a visit to the Emerald Isle for a sold-out, 85,000 capacity, Croke Park stadium gig in Dublin!

I still pinch myself that I spent a weekend, just strolling through the cobbled streets of Dublin (somewhere I’d dreamed of visiting for years!) and the weather was perfect too, for the record – beforehand, everyone told me that it always rains in Ireland and so my chances weren’t high for a fine time 😉

I now have a new favourite place to just sit and enjoy the sun and take a moment at St Stephen’s Green also – wish it wasn’t so far, so I could just pop across each weekend! Ha ha!

Of course, this has only just whetted my appetite for the need to see more of my ancestors country, not to mention, their neighbours in Scotland, and so hopefully one day, I can add that to the list of memories brought on, in part or in full, by a band named Westlife!

  

Thanks again Westlife (Kian, Nicky, Shane, Mark and Brian) for 14 fabulous years of fun, friendship and lots of craic along the way!

And of course, thanks to all the friends I have met along the way – who have enriched my life, and brightened my days and made me the person that I am today!

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