When I was in Ireland with 12 relatives and friends in 1999 some of us went to the Davern Tavern in Cashel on a Monday night because Irish music was advertised in the window, and . . . well, I've seen the Rolling stones four or five times, beginning back at the Royal Albert Hall in 1966, with Ike and Tina Turner opening for them; and I saw Patti Smith at The Boarding House in San Francisco; and I saw "Madame Butterfly" at the Paris Opera House in 1960, "La Boheme" in Venice in 1961, and "The Queen of Spades" at La Scala in Milano, also in 1961; at Cobo Hall in Detroit I saw Rod Stewart when he was just an opening act -- for Three Dog Night, for god's sake, and my all-too-cool friends and I walked out when Stewart was done and they came on; and I saw Merle Haggard at Buck Lake Ranch in Indiana; Tammy Wynette at The Melody Tent in Hyannis; I saw Andre Watts play with the Philharmonic in Berlin; I was at CBGB's in The Bowery when punk was happening; twice I saw John Mellancamp in Montreal; I saw John Lennon at Chrysler Arena in Ann Arbor; I saw Sinead O'Connor at The Hampton Beach Casino in New Hampshire; Jimi Hendrix in Detroit; The Byrds in Ann Arbor at Hill Auditorium; and, also at Hill Auditorium, Tina Turner again when she was still with Ike; I saw Gordon Lightfoot at Tanglewood; I saw Allen Ginsberg playing his little accordion thing-a-ma-jig and singing (?) to a packed coffee house in Ann Arbor . . . I could go on and on . . . I saw Skeeter Davis in concert in Lansing, Michigan, when I thought her cross-over hit "End of the World" was the most heartfelt beautiful-sad song I'd ever heard (was it the first song to be #1 on both the country and the pop charts?) and then I had dinner with Skeeter after the concert thanks to a good friend of mine being President of her Fan Club; I saw Emmylou Harris in Northampton and her voice was so pure and holy that the event seemed like a religious experience, and tears streamed down my cheeks when she sang "Goodbye" . . . I've seen a lot . . . but that night of Irish music in Davern's Tavern in Cashel was the best night of music in my life -- the songs, the musicians (led by a guitarist named Mick Mackey) and the atmosphere and the half-and-halfs, all a perfect blend.
Now, though, I'm all about The Celtic Woman ... I saw them again this last Wednesday night at the Providence Theater in Providence, Rhode Island, after seeing them in October at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. That first time I got to go backstage to meet the fiddler, Mairead Nesbitt (she's a niece of Flo, my friend in Ireland), and Mairead seems like the most gifted person imaginable: beautiful, amazingly talented, sweet as can be.