Thursday 3rd - Friday 4th June 2010
(The initials in the title after Celine Carroll spell Amsterdam)
As for spelling ....
Think Netherlands, think artists and Van Gogh and Rembrandt will appear somewhere near the top of your list. So when the Dutch received another fine artist into their midst , it wasn't too difficult to forge a connection with one of the above. Mr Rembrandt was renowned for such beautiful use of light when creating his pictures. Celine created Such a Beautiful Light,which is now an integral part of her musical tapestry.
Overlooking the River Amstel , within a paintsplash of the Rembrandt Museum , Mulligan's Bar witnessed the first live Celine Carroll performance on the European mainland.
Mulligan's is an Irish Pub where musicians are invited to play and the public enter and depart freely, as opposed to a music venue with a bar where people pay and stay to see musicians perform. So with a pub it is almost certain that the audience at the start of the gig will be a somewhat different one than that at the end. A quick glance at the setlist it may appear that some songs were repeated, but a closer examination will reveal that different instruments were played the second time around. It may be also worth noting that at an average gig you will probably get to hear about 12 songs plus an encore. Celine's performances contained an unprecedented 28 songs on the first evening and an even more astounding figure of 37 on the second night.
The 65 song epic got under way somewhere between 9 and 9:30 when Celine addressed a healthy , somewhat chatty, gathering comprising a balanced mix of both new and established Mulligan's customers.
The discomforts of a humid evening were more than compensated by a perfect pint of Arthur's finest coupled with the sight and sound of Celine stood singing against a dusk-time display of the dominating sun descending over the 'dam.
All was not entirely perfect, however. There was the inevitable pub chatter causing occasional disruption to one's aural pleasure, but that is par for the course. Something a little more irksome was about to disturb proceedings. A electrical glitch was beginning to perform an increasing number of simulcasts over the PA system.
After many traces through Mulligan's wiring web the finger of blame was beginning to aim towards Celine's guitar. Her disappointment was clear to see over the fact that her prized instrument had fallen victim to Aer Lingus baggage handlers. After all, this was just the first day of a 5-date tour.
When Daisy Lady eventually signalled the time to put her suspect strings to grass, she hopped over to the piano to console herself with a beautiful delivery of Elvis Presley's Wonder Of You. Somehow this crisis seemed to focus the attention of those who weren't so previously and a couple of songs later the entire pub were singing with her on I'll Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.
Her piano set closed with Apologise , once again dedicated to yours truly. This song seems to gather more in sentimental weight each time she sings it.
A welcome sigh of relief greeted the arrival of a replacement guitar, and just when all appeared to be settling into an all round cozy state , with an attentive audience and an interference-free sound system , an eccentric yet pleasant individual decided to entertain us with her dancing skills, her entrance was rather aptly timed as she joined us during Standing On My Own Two Feet Again.
The surprises just kept on coming , whilst still reeling over this chick's (turkey to be closer to the point) jigging skills , Celine threw in her own surprise. Nothing surprising about a couple of Beatles songs , but the debut appearance of her Ukelele certainly was.
The evening's entertainment ended with the opener from her current album , You're Every Beat Of My Heart. An entertaining and most definitely eventful evening came to an end in the early hours of Friday morning. But just before we headed back to our hotel I bumped into a couple of blokes at the bar. One of whom had salt 'n' pepper coloured shoulder length hair and the other was a little more follically challenged. To the latter , I jokingly called him Christie Moore , while the former chipped in with a comment "And I'm Rick Parfitt". Little did I realise at the time that there was a certain relevance about this encounter.
And so to Friday.... Friday afternoon... Our relatives came over from Den Haag to say hello and catch up on a few missing years over a meal. Sadly, it was revealed that they had to return before the start of the gig, and they really would have loved to hear Celine play live. No problem for Celine, she promptly played a 6 song set on acoustic and our relatives headed back for home armed with 2 CDs, beaming smiles and a promise to attend at least one of Celine's gigs on her next scheduled tour of the Netherlands in November.
From a fan's viewpoint Friday evening didn't get off to the best of starts. The offices were empty , and in customary fashion the weekend started down at the pub. And for a group of about half a dozen , occupying the chairs and tables immediately in front of Celine, this was the case. Totally oblivious to the finer points of common etiquette and the realisation that several people had travelled considerable distance to support and appreciate our musician, this obnoxious group were convinced that the sounds of their enjoyment should be set to maximum volume.
The professional entertainer's motto is , The Show Goes On, and rather than let this minority spoil the night, Celine played with ,as well as to them. In an act of an equal pretence of interest she asked them what type of music they liked. One asked for a Cranberries song while another replied, "He just likes cheesy songs".Returning the wit, Celine replied that she didn't know too many Jesus songs , but I'll dedicate the next one to you,and reeled off Plastic Jesus Sitting On The Dashboard of My Car. Such a pity there wasn't a banjo close to hand to deliver the song in its fullest splendour.
A few songs later the ignorant individuals decided it was time to go. They couldn't even wait until the end of a song before their goodbye hugs and Kodak moments, revenge is so sweet when served up cold and they were given the ultimate send off - Show Me The Way To Go Home. A thoroughly enjoyable sing-along for the rest of us.
An uninterrupted Daisy Lady was heavenly but the air of contentment was somewhat short lived. A couple of songs later, mid-way through Heart Of Gold, who should walk through the door but our wannabee Rick Parfitt with Fender Strat in hand. He rested it on stage and ordered a pint of Guinness. As Celine strummed the opening bars of You And I , the simplicity of which makes it so beautiful, he picked up his "axe". As he felt for the strings I feared the worst.
My apprehension was short-lived this guitarist listened intently and complemented Celine perfectly. Little jams at the end of the occasional song resulted in a distinct lift in Celine's mood. She had found herself a great ally and a quality musician. His name, Alan McLachlan.
He played on every song to the end of the show , except one, Bird in A Cage, a special dedication to her niece Michelle who had travelled over from Prague, listened intently throughout and took all the official photographs.
All too soon the show had reached the end , I was so immersed in the final 16 duets that I forgot to take notes beyond keeping the setlist. However, I do recall that the audience participation on O Bla Di O Bla Da reached almost football crowd proportions.
Sweet Heart of Mine drew the curtain on this epic leg of Celine's 5 date tour of The Netherlands and dates are being finalised already for a November tour. I'd love to be there for that one, but if circumstances prevent me from being in attendance I'm confident that there'll be someone else who'll be eager to fill my seat.
So at the closing of two gigs in the Famous Mulligan's Bar in Amsterdam, we witnessed Celine performing with a Scottish guitarist (Alan McLachlan) in an Irish Bar in the Capital of the Netherlands. Numbered amongst the happy audience were her niece and her student friends from Prague, a couple of new Dutch fans from The Hague, a couple who had flown in from England and there were a couple from Germany who would have loved an encore. Add to that a numerous retinue of new Dutch fans, also some Turkish and African fans who met her on later dates of the tour. we have gathered a bit of a World Party. And to coin the words from World Party's epic song, the message is Celine Carroll, and the word is , "Put the message in the box, put the box into the car....." you know the rest !
Finally , well , as for Mr. Van Gogh , if he were alive today, he would have thought twice about chopping his ear off after hearing Celine.
Thursday 3rd June - Part 1
4. I'd Rather Be In Jail Than To Be In Love With You Again
5. Bird In A Cage
6. Slow My Wheels
7. Grey Sky Blue
8. I Believe In Love
9. Better Than This
10. Sweet Heart Of Mine
Thursday 3rd June - Part 2
12. Daisy Lady
13. Wonder Of You
14. Nothing Rhymed
15. Laugh While You Can
16. With A Little Help From My Friends (pub joined in)
18. So Wrong
19. You And I
20. Don't Just Sit And Call Me Honey
21. On The Water
22. Standing On My Own 2 Feet
23. Heart Of Gold
24. I Love You I
25. Sweet Heart Of Mine
26. 'Til There Was You
27. O Bla Di O Bla Da
28. You're Every Beat Of My Heart
Friday 4th June - Part 1
1. You've Got A Friend
2. You And I
3. I'd Rather Be In Jail Than To Be In Love With You Again
4. I Will
5. Stay (Just A Little Bit Longer)
6. O Bla Di O Bla Da
8. Plastic Jesus (Sitting On The Dashboard Of My Car)
9. I Believe in Love
10. Laugh While You Can
11. I'll Never Fall In Love Again
12. Grey Sky Blue
13. Better Than This
Friday 4th June - Part 2
14. Sweet Heart Of Mine
15. Show Them The Way To Go Home (a parting shot for the noisy feckers who decided to go at last}
16. Daisy Lady
18. Don't Get Me Wrong
19. Heart Of Gold
(Enter ALAN McLACHLAN on his Fender, who featured in all the following except No.36)
20. You And I
21. I Love You I
22. On The Water
23. Standing On My Own 2 Feet Again
24. Slow My Wheels
Friday 4th June - Part 3
25. We'll Always Have This Song
26. I Believe In Love
27. Nothing Rhymed
28. This Guy's In Love
29. Danny Boy
31. I'd Rather Be In Jail Than To Be In Love With You Again
32. 'Til There Was You
33. O Bla Di O Bla Da
35. Stay (Just A Little Bit Longer)
36. Bird In A Cage (Solo -Especially for her Neice, Michelle who came up from Prague)
37. Sweet Heart Of Mine