SUE WILSON - The Scotsman
CELTIC CONNECTIONS OPENING CONCERT: COMMON GROUND
GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL
With a sell-out crowd in attendance and a massive all-star line-up onstage,
the 15th Celtic Connections got off to a near-perfect start, in a concert that
delivered fully three hours of richly rewarding, frequently spine-tingling music.......
The mainly song-based setlist furnished a succession of contrasting highlights,
from Karan Casey's heartrending a capella rendition of the traditional love lament
Jimmy Whelan to Dempsey's magnificently impassioned, rock-fuelled incantation
The Masai; Thile's sensitive, soulful reworking of Burns's Sweet Afton to
Bloom and Scott duetting on the latter's modern-day aisling ballad
Sunny Sailor Boy – with Casey, Fowlis and Talbot on backing vocals....
ROB ADAMS - The Herald
...There were contrasts, too, such as Luka Bloom rabble-rousing an ensemble that
outnumbered a rugby team in a kind of Pogues-with-polish routine shortly before
Karine Polwart introduced stark murder balladry with a fine Dowie Dens of Yarrow...
DEBBIE KORITSAS - Folkscene LIVE!
...It was one of the most varied and nicely balanced gigs I've been to in a while -
you didn't know what to expect next. It also had an incredibly relaxed feel about it.
The balance between instrumentals and songs was excellent.....
I loved hearing Luka Bloom sing for the first time ever - excellent!
Julie, Karine, Kate, Heidi, Mike Scott all sang fabulous material too...
An excellent first night at Celtic Connections!
NORMAN BISSELL - HI~Arts
...On the other hand, the singing of Luka Bloom, Kris Drever, Damian Dempsey and
Waterboy Mike Scott was altogether of a more upbeat and humorous nature.
Luka Bloom mischievously introduced his 'You Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time'
from the ground-breaking 'Bringing It All Back Home' album/film with 'as the actress
said to the bishop', and Mike Scott gave us a hilarious song about a wild wedding
in which the best man was killed by the bride’s father, she finished up bald, and
her sister became a nun.....
It is the sharing and borrowing of tunes and the new combinations of players and
singers that musicians love about these get-togethers and this was nowhere more
evident than in the two uplifting encores where Luka Bloom sang 'Sunny Sailor Boy',
which he first heard from Mike Scott at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin back in 1991 and
has been singing ever since, and Scott in turn borrowed the Irish Aisling tune
‘Mo Gile Mear’ (my bright hero) to lead all 25 performers and most of the audience
in a spirited rendition of 'Will Ye No Come Back Again'...
CELTIC CONNECTIONS - WHAT HAPPENED | Jan 21st 2008
Mike appeared at the gala opening of the Celtic Connections festival in
Glasgow on 16th January, sharing the stage with Julie Fowlis, Sharon Shannon,
Luka Bloom, Karine Polwart, Kate Rusby, John McCusker, Karan Casey, Damien
Dempsey and many other artists. The sold out concert, titled Common Ground
and held at the Royal Concert Hall, included Mike’s performance of two
unreleased songs, The Wedding and The Wyndy Wyndy Road (a new lyric
to a tune by Scottish musician Phil Cunningham). For the encore the whole
ensemble performed Sunny Sailor Boy, with lead vocals by Luka Bloom and Mike,
and Mike’s rearrangement of the Scottish classic Will Ye No’ Come Back Again?,
set to the air of the great Irish song Mo Gile Mear.