The Corrs Talk On Corners UK Tour

Fairfield Hall - Croyden, England - 24 March 1998

Corrs Ticket

Concert Review   © 1998 Russell W Elliot

Last Updated: 10 May 1998

About two years ago on business in Manchester, I came across the 11 March 1996 issue of Time magazine with a byline article about the resurgence of Celtic music; the large photo of Enya caught my eye. I became quickly immersed in the article that introduced The Corrs to me.

That weekend after a very quick preview of their premier album Forgiven, Not Forgotten at our local CD shop, I became hooked on The Corrs and their stunning blend of traditional Irish tunes with upbeat progressively popular melodies. We've wanted to seem them perform live since then and despite a glorious holiday in Ireland in 1996 while they were on tour there we couldn't connect with them. Finally we were able to get terrific seats in Croyden's fabulous Fairfield Hall for the 24 March 1998 concert, which was the last date of their first UK tour. Simply stated, it was a great show; most likely it's the best concert we've ever seen.

The Dublin-based support group Picture House came to the stage a few minutes before 8:00PM to open the show. We were fortunate to be right outside the concert hall entrance during their sound check and could hear just how good they would be. With lead singer Dave Browne -- that to my ears gives the band a sound reminscent of REM -- they played a nice mixture of ballads and more upbeat songs. Dave's entertaining commentary between the songs enhanced their act. He worked hard to warm up the audience by getting us involved. It worked. Quite a few of us thought enough of them to buy their singles at the interlude. Their album Shine Box is worth a listen.

With a canned introduction playing on tape, The Corrs came to a darkened stage shortly after 9:00PM. The 2000-seat house was packed and people that had bought standing room tickets lined the walls of the venue on either side.

Applause and cheers began as Caroline led the way and took her place on the drum platform. Sharon came next and took her spot on the left hand side of the stage. The two supporting guitarists and Jim came along next. Finally Andrea came to the stage but remained facing the drum platform until the lights came on. The music for "When He's Not Around" began. Andrea then began to sing and we knew right away that we were in for the concert of a lifetime.

The Corrs Live
Sharon (fiddle), Caroline (drums), Andrea (vocals) and Jim (keyboards)
Photo by Brian Rasic

Mere words can't describe the feelings evoked by their performance. Not since seeing a video of October Project had we seen a band with such presence. They are consummate performers, professionals in every way, and entirely captivating. No words can do them justice. And we're likely not alone with these impressions. Indeed, every concert venue on this UK tour has been sold out, including London's Royal Albert Hall.

The three sisters are drop-dead gorgeous but that's just a bonus. These are extremely talented musicians and the result of their hard work is evident in the live performance. Although their second album departs slightly from foundation laid in their first, the live performance melded the styles of the two albums into a coherent whole. A balance of pumped up traditional music coupled with popular melodies shows the true range of the artists. My only regret is that they didn't play "Heaven Knows" which has been my favourite track of theirs since I first heard it.

Although we were unable to snare a Croyden set list, here's another one that we were able to get from the crew (for Northampton 23 March 1998). We didn't take notes so can't attest to the accuracy of it for the show reviewed here, but we're pretty sure these are the songs they played. It's a good cross section of what the band does and the transitions from one song to the next worked very well indeed.

Main Set:
When He's Not Around
No Good For Me
Love To Love You
Erin Shore ~ Forgiven Not Forgotten
Joy Of Life*
What Can I Do
The Right Time
Queen Of Hollywood
Dreams (Fleetwood Mac Cover)
Instrumental ~ Haste To The Wedding*
Only When I Sleep
Hopelessly Addicted
I Never Loved You Anyway

So Young
Toss The Feathers

* unreleased track at the time of this concert

Although the album versions of these songs are terrific, the live performance in many cases is even better. An excellent example of this is "Forgiven, Not Forgotten" which with the additional acoustic effects was substantially better performed live on stage. It is a testament to the artists as well as their stage crew and engineering staff. Many of the other songs were equally well enhanced and even when some of the songs that are not my favourites were played I was intrigued by the positive acoustic changes and visual enhancements made for the live show. This was an extremely well produced show from all respects, including the clean staging and the crisp lighting which were both superb.

A special treat during the show was The Corrs' wonderful performance of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams." Andrea informed us that their recording of the song will appear on the forthcoming Tribute album with tracks performed by various artists entitled Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Earlier in the tour Mick Fleetwood performed the song with them on stage at The Royal Albert Hall.

It is impossible to visualise Caroline's percussion work until seeing her live. She has tremendous energy and could very well be one of the best percussionists performing today. She is equally comfortable with the kit as she is with traditional instruments. We were treated to a really good view when she came down from the drum platform during one of the instrumentals to play the bodrahn. The intensity and range of her hand movements as well as the rhythmic accuracy and sheer power througout the show are second to none. She is a real star.

Andrea is the frontispiece of the band and her stage performance is quite dramatic. It is extremely difficult to take your eyes off her at any time during the performance. Her tin whistle playing was spot on and watching her mix singing with playing was fascinating. She knows exactly how to maintain your interest at all times, bopping around the stage in her own unique style, yet she works well with the other musicians, especially her sister Sharon who plays a mean fiddle. It was Sharon's birthday, and at a point prior to one of her solos, the audience sang a round of Happy Birthday to her. She blushed, giggled and thanked the audience; the subsequent wolf whistling made it difficult to begin the solo but finally the excitement died down and she was marvelous. She is a terrific musician and the featured solos showed off her capabilities quite well.

The Corrs - See Them Perform Live!
Andrea Sharon Caroline Jim Corr
Images © 1998 AVP Ltd - Photos: Lars K Mikkleson

The Corrs are a fabulous live act (****) and must been seen to be truly appreciated. A documentary has been produced by RTE (Ireland) on their rise to fame and a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall was aired on BBC on St Patricks Day. These will likely be shown again so watch out for them. If you can catch The Corrs live, do it. They are definitely worth a long journey.

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