Riverdance, the Irish hard-shoe sensation that took PBS viewers by storm, underwent its second incarnation with Live from New York City, a 1996 performance filmed at Radio City Music Hall. While most of the attributes f... more »rom 1995's Riverdance: The Show remain--the dazzling ensemble choreography, Bill Whelan's energetic score, and the New Age-y view of Celtic mythology--the most significant difference is at the top, where Colin Dunne replaced bombastic lead dancer Michael Flatley. Though lacking Flatley's bravura, Dunne is a superb technician who works well with Flatley's former co-lead, Jean Butler. Flamenco dancer Maria Pagis returns, as do the Riverdance Singers (formerly known as Anuna) with soloist Katie McMahon and the orchestra with fiery fiddler Eileen Ivers. About a half-hour longer than the 1995 original, Live from New York City expands upon the second act's theme of the Irish leaving their homeland for other parts of the world. "Lift the Wings" becomes a set piece for the people who are saying goodbye (it's hard not to miss the original's solo voice of Aine Um Cheallaigh), and a new song, "Heal Their Hearts," is a showcase anthem for bass Morgan Crowley. In the most engaging new number, "Trading Taps," a trio of Irish dancers faces off against two urban American tappers. While much of this follow-up show will be familiar to those who know the original, it's different enough to be enjoyed on its own terms. It's also more stylishly shot, but that's also its biggest drawback--frenetic editing that allows only brief glimpses of the dancers and leaves the viewer dizzy. --David Horiuchi« less
Nancy W. from CHARLOTTE, NC Reviewed on 1/12/2011...
Amazing although I must say seeing them live is of course much more profound.
Which is better RD or LOTD? Hmmmm
C. A Baker | Santa Rosa CA United States | 08/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let me just say this, I am an Irish dancer, have been dancing with some modest success off and on for 15 years or more.
I've even performed in a mini Riverdance/LOTD type show. Affectionatly called Puddledance. :-)
So here goes: I like both shows, I also like both dancers (i.e. Colin vs. Michael)
Yes MF probably has/had more skill than Colin. However Colin is a much less ego-centric person and is IMHO easier and at times more enjoyable to watch.
I appreciate what MF has brought to both shows, however I find Riverdance a better overall production and here is why;1. The costumes do not look like some tacky combination between the worst of Irish dance competition wear and a Vegas showgirl show. They are simple, subtle and work well with the dancing. (Have you seen Feet of Flames and that ridiculous cape they made Dair nolan dance with!! Or the UGLY catsuit they put the Gypsy girl in..oh god the list is endless...)ANY show knows you need to have appropriate costumes to carry off the theme fo the show. I wish someone had told MF that. 2. As much as MF is/was a brilliant dancer and is a pretty good coreographer he spends way too much time in the world of ME ME ME and does not show even half the joy Colin shows when he is dancing. Nor does he let his co-stars shine too brightly, lest they dim his own star. I really do like the man folks but it is so OBVIOUS. And I am sorry just becuase the man has done so well does not give him an excuse to be so arrogant that is not OK in my book at all. Humility will get you more acolades than arrogance.3. Riverdance is more well rounded it doesn't go over the top, it shows you a good mix of what Irish dancing is, what it can be and shows how it compares and contrasts with other forms of Dance. That in and of itself makes it a bit stronger than all the MF shows combined.4. Colin vs. Michael is just silly, two different men, two diffent skill levels. And honestly Colin does more actual "Irish" dancing than Michael has done in ALL the shows combined. MF style is more a hybrid of Irish and US Tap dancing with WAY too much posturing and goofing around without as much real dancing going on. So the fact is does Colin make mistakes? Yes, of course he does, Irish dance is VERY difficult dance style in many ways it is as dificult and requires as much training as Ballet. But it is even more complex than ballet and every single Irish dancer in the world has bad days and good days. Unfortunatley sometimes those bad days happen at the wrong moment, i.e. The Grammys.
So anyway while I enjoy Mr. Flatley's shows Riverdance is a much stronger show without him and as a whole is a better example of the best of Irish dancing. Regardless of the he said/she said debate over who contributed what, Riverdance had its vision MF had another so they separated. MF was never technically "fired" he refused to go on until the issues was resolved the way he wanted and they couldn't reach a middle ground, it happens all the time folks. And personally I'm glad it did, because we got a whole new group of shows that may never had exisited if MF had stayed with Riverdance. I like both as I said, I just think Riverdance is a bit stronger than the various LOTD shows.
Now if we could just re-train camera men to properly film these shows it would be lovely!!!!"
Example for how poor editing can spoil a fantastic show
prakashatamazon | USA | 04/14/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen Riverdance - The Show live performance by Pat Roddy and Eileen Martin. But this DVD - featuring Colin Dunne and Jean Butler - is a very good example of how poor editing and lack of video making experience can spoil an excellent performance. Trust me, the makers of this video do not know even the basics of video making and they do not have the faintest idea - what is Irish dance. When Jean is energetically delivering her excellence, the camera is focused on her face or torso! Agreed, she is beautiful, but come on, an Irish dance lover do not see the show to ogle at the performing girls! And that magnificient orchestra playing Bill Whelan's magical scores do not get a good slot in the video either! Radio hall owes a good one to the makers of this video since most the time the hall is shown from a long angle leaving the skills of dancers in the middle of the screen as tiny dots! One side of the DVD could have been made as a non-stop delivery of the whole show, and the other side could have had the behind the scenes and dancer's biographies. Flipping over the DVD in the middle of the show is frustrating! I am looking forward for a better version of this DVD. Hopefully they make another one as Riverdance is back on live in New York now!"
Sometimes the original is truly the best
email@example.com | Seattle, WA | 04/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A far cry from the static monstrosity the show has become on Broadway, the original Riverdance with Michael Flatley and Jean Butler is unbeatable. Colin Dunn may be a skilled performer, but no amount of championship titles can make up for the fact he lacks Flatley's presence and command of the audience. This production of Riverdance is the only one you need - forget Riverdance: The journey and the Radio City Music hall nightmare. This is Riverdance the way it was meant to be, before the producers drove Flatley away and stole his creation. The can claim credit all they wish, but Michael Flatley proved where the true passion for the dance went when he bravely formed his own production of Lord of the Dance and later, Feet of Flames. The current Broadway Riverdance show is fine for making the producers money and appeasing the tourists, but they cannot deny the passion and fire of the original is gone. The only thing worth watching the Broadway cast for is the added solos of Maria Pages and the newer modern tap routines. But there is no beating the original production, with it's passion and fire that truly embody the spirit of the Celts. Between Bill Whelan's gorgeous score and Flatley and Butler's unequaled talents leading a fabulously talented cast, this is truly an example of a great idea that should never have been tampered with."
Buy this version!
P. Lozar | Santa Fe, NM USA | 06/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen both versions of "Riverdance," with and without Michael Flatley, and I think this one is far and away the better. His successor is a terrific dancer, in a rather self-contained style, but he lacks Flatley's gusto and his rapport with the other dancers and the audience (compare the duos with Jean Butler in both versions and you'll see what I mean). Flatley always looks as if he's enjoying himself, and he throws himself into every performance with passion and enthusiasm -- even after many hundreds of shows, it's not "just a job" to him! Ms. Butler is superb: she can be light as thistledown, or stomp out an intricate rhythm in tap shoes with the best of them.
As for the rest of the film, I could have done with fewer choral selections, although both Anuna and the Gospel group perform well. I would have liked to see more of the band: as an Irish music aficionado, I was stunned to read the credits and see the caliber of musicians who'd been performing, but the tape didn't give more than the odd 10 seconds to anyone besides Davy Spillane. And I can't imagine why the filmmakers didn't include the tap dance segment, which was, to me, the best part of the New York tape.
But this version has it all over the other in one very important respect: whoever filmed it understood something about Irish dancing. They focused on the footwork, which, to a fan of this dance style, is THE most interesting part. The show was a gigantic hit in Ireland -- and in the heavily Irish communities in the U.S. -- in large part because it took a traditional (sometimes hackneyed) ethnic dance form and turned it on its ear. If it's filmed as just another razzle-dazzle dance show, with no attention to its roots, much of the enjoyment goes out of it -- and I think that happened in the New York version."
Riverdance, moving Celtic music of the past and our time.
Callie | Portland, OR United States | 03/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The editor's criticism of Riverdance is meaningless. Riverdance is truly a phenomenom. I was so impressed by how moving the dances and music are. The dancers never waste any time. They just move from one beautiful move to another. They have a very good dance cast and on the stage they bring life and motion. You can't resist the tapping sounds. The music brings just as much liveliness. The music cast includes piper Davy Spillane, accordianist Mairtin O'Conner, and fiddler Maire Breatnach(before Eileen Ivers joined the show). The music is at times slow and moody, but then it goes on to be energetic and jig like. One of the best parts of the music is the songs. The choral group Anuna, made up of five men and five women, sings so beautifully in "The Heart's Cry", "The Heartland", and the song "Riverdance". The American gospel influence of "Freedom", performed by the James Bignon group portrays the dreams of freedom shared by America and Ireland. The finally at the end with Anuna and the African-American group together is so cute! One cannot ignore the beauty of the song, "Lift the Wings", which I believe helped inspire the Titanic theme(you can't resist that lovely low whistle). All of the music is a great picture of Celtic music, bringing the spirit of the past to our time. At the same time, it has influence from cultural music of Spain, Russia, and African-American gospel. It is folly for one to resist this masterpiece. It is a classic that will last a long time. Even teenagers like myself adore the soundtrack, but one should also get a hold of the video to see the dances. The songs and dances often relate to Celtic legends and mythology, such as "The Countess Kathleen" and "Lament For Cu Chuchaillin". You can not say no to Davy Spillane's powerful uillean pipes! Therefore, be sure to get the original show of RIverdance, which I am pleased to see that as many Americans and Europeans alike have delighted in."