Belfast Telegraph

Eamonn McCrystal review: Spontaneity of live show ruined by TV cameras

By Terry Blain

Cookstown-born singer Eamonn McCrystal, now resident in Los Angeles, returned to home turf on Saturday evening for an extravaganza at the Grand Opera House, celebrating the music of Northern Ireland.

Television cameras were on hand, recording the event for the American PBS network, where it will gain coast-to-coast exposure. That to some extent compromised enjoyment of the evening, which was regularly interrupted by a floor manager telling the audience when to applaud, and how loudly, and by repeated takes of certain sections to ensure slickness for the finished product.

The spontaneity a live show needs was further stymied by McCrystal reading his introductions and the song lyrics from an autocue, and still getting them wrong sometimes.

The music was a mixed bag. Inevitably Van Morrison featured, McCrystal crooning along to a jazzed-up version of Moondance, in a Vegas-style obsidian jacket. The beautiful Have I Told You Lately, meanwhile, was tame and neutered in comparison with Morrison's own reading.

There were guest appearances from Wicked star Rachel Tucker, Brian Kennedy, and Keith and Kristyn Getty, who contributed a rather over-produced arrangement of In Christ Alone.

May McFettridge contributed irreverent Belfast banter, and sang The Hokey Cokey and The Teddy Bears' Picnic.

I wonder what the Americans will make of that?

Three stars

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