Most viewers may not know that there have been at least three versions of this performance; the original live performance in Belfast; the edited video tape of the live performance that was shown on PBS a number of years ago, and the re-edited version on DVD. The DVD version is by far the worst for reasons I will explain.When the magnificent Chieftains are gone there will probably not be another traditialist group like them again. Theiy are about as near perfect as it is possible to get. And it is almost axiomatic that the Chieftains' management can do no wrong, but they really blew it with this one when they inserted Roger Daltry into the program. Then they compounded it again by not editing Daltry out of the tape to be presented worldwide on TV. Then the error was compounded yet again when for the DVD version they edited out one of the most beautiful, sensual, and lovely courting dances performed by a barefoot young man and woman dressed in old Irish farm costumes, to the lilting acapella narrative accompanyment of Kevin Conneff . Why did they edit out one of the best parts of the concert? .....Why to make room for a mediocre Daltry sequence, that's why.Fortunately, I had taped the PBS presentation on my Betamax when it was presented on TV years ago. Over the years I had always wished the concert would be made available on DVD so I could enjoy the improvement in quality and sound and see that beautiful dance again with improved sharpness and clarity, When I found the DVD on Amazon I jumped at the chance to get it, even though I knew it contained the out of place distraction of Daltry.I happen to enjoy Daltry in rock venues, but he was about as out of place in this concert as Snoop Doggy Dog doing rap, or a break dancer would have been. I actually felt sorry for him trying for a bit of relevance. At one point near the end of the concert when they were preparing to jam, he was given a bodrain (drum) to hold so he could join in,.....sort of. And a couple of times poor Roger would feign "getting with it"; by doing a little low key rock boogeying such as one might see at a club when some dorkey nerd who can't dance is trying to fake it with a few uncoordinated moves on the dance floor. It was truly painful to watch and definitely detracted from the rest of the excellent performances. Thankfully, some of the most pitiful sequences of Daltry were left out of the DVD version, but too much was also left in.Jean Butler, later of Riverdance fame, made several appearances in traditional Irish dress and was superb. Nancy Griffith was even better than she is in her own element of purely American country western. She can not only sing Irish music but she can compose it, as well. Flutist Matt Malloy did a solo that started out lively, then accellerated to an even faster tempo. With his fingers only a blur and you are thinking he is maxed out, he goes even faster. The notes were all there and on key. How the man could breathe while playing so fast is beyond me. Derek Bell, an accomplished musical virtuoso on many instruments did a delightful piano ragtime piece near the end of the concert. Prior to that he did his usual wonderful harp and piano accompanyment, and a xylophone bit as part of a happy little Chinese diddy, played the Irish way. Sadly, Derek Bell, MBE, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in Phoenix October 17, 2002 after a concert and following minor surgery. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam (sympathy to his wife and family)I could go on and on about the other members as well. Daltry, as good as he was with the Who and in Tommy, was a disaster in this concert, the PBS tape, and the DVD. (That's why only one star.) I intend to burn my own DVD using the good portions of the RCA DVD and my Betamax tape, leaving out Daltry and replacing the courting dance. Then I will have a fairly decent DVD copy of this performance.Save your money."
I was blown over
Craig Clarke | New England | 02/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Concert films are by their nature uneven. And if said concert is by someone of whom you've never heard, there is little room for experimentation. Or so I thought when I found out I had won The Chieftains: An Irish Evening in a drawing. Fortunately, like so many times with low expectations, I was proven wrong. This was a phenomenal concert (I found out later that its accompanying album had won a Grammy). The Chieftains are an Irish band made up of Paddy Moloney, Martin Fay, and several others throughout the years (here Derek Bell, Matt Malloy, Kevin Conneff, and Sean Keane). This concert, taped live at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, also features Nanci Griffith and Roger Daltrey on separate songs. The highlights are "The Mason's Apron" where flutist Matt Malloy goes wild during a solo; their adaptation of The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes" (although I felt sorry for Roger trying to rock out during the pipe solo); and the final ten-minute jam of a song I'm not even going to try to spell (it's something like "Rack Amid a Bean Bag"). Dancer Jean Butler (later of Riverdance) also comes on to wow the crowd with her abilities. Chieftains fans have probably already heard this, but any fans of Irish music will find plenty to like here. I'll definitely be watching it again and I recommend it to anyone who loves music and has an open mind. The DVD has no extras to speak of (apart from song selections and an album list), but is a wonderful recording of a moment in time."
Best of the Best with a surprise.
D H | Ft. Worth, TX United States | 04/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a Chieftains and/or Jean Butler fan this is the something you will want to add to your collection. Not only do you get a great performance by the Chieftains, but you get to see a young Jean Butler in triditional dancing clothes before she became the star of Riverdance. The only down side is that you have to put up with Rodger Daltry for a few songs. His rock and roll style just didn't blend well with the Chieftains. The surprise was two lovely songs from Nancy Griffin. All in all this is not a bad show if you can ignore Daltry. His time on stage would have been better put to use if it went to Jean or Nanci."
The Chieftains are treasures/this DVD is a qualified must
S. Haninger | Columbus, Ohio | 07/03/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This one has its high and low points. The overall length, video and audio quality may make this one a hard sell to other than those who just have to have every Chieftains concert. The video seems fuzzy and audio is only OK. Nancy Griffith comes alive in the finale but Roger Daltrey seems to struggle to fit in though his singing energy seems to be able to transcend his commercial rock 'n roll reputation at times. The song "Behind Blue Eyes", though haunting and thought provoking, needs to be removed from this offering. On a more positive note, Jean Butler's few step dancing appearances are the garnishing touch that make me happy to add this DVD to my collection. As well, the Chieftains are at their own best when in live performance. I only wish it was a full 2 hours or longer with more Jean and Nancy. You will have a difficult time finding more polished musicians than the Chieftains. They also know how to make their concerts a really good time for the audience. Add this DVD with some forgiveness."
If You Love Celtic Music...!
David I. Gilbert | Oak Ridge, TN USA | 06/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love celtic music, and the people who inspire the songs, you'll love this video! With special guest Nanci Griffith, who can go wrong? This "folkabilly" as she describes herself, brings a new interspective to Irish music."