Saturday, August 21, 2010

The High Kings in Cleveland!! o.O

Most of my friends here on blogger probably aren't familiar with the worlds greatest Irish/Celtic group, and so part of my aim in this blog post is to introduce to you, ladies and gentleman:

{the girls, l-r: Debbi, Anna, Rachael, Christina, me}
{the guys, l-r: Brian, Martin, Finbarr, Darren}

<-- click --->

When *I* was first introduced to THK nearly two years ago I never imagined I'd actually see them in concert, much less meet them - I mean, their from Ireland!

This past Monday proved me wrong...

If you know me or my sister Anna there is no need to explain our perfectly crazy obsession with all things Irish. Of course we don't have an ounce of Irish blood in our bodies, but as the saying goes,
everyone is a little bit Irish.

I don't think that statement could be more true: I'm 75% Italian, 25% Polish, all American, 100% Born Again Christian...
...and Irish in my imagination.

So where do I get my passion for Ireland and Irish music?
Simple. It all started long ago when I saw a video a friend posted of a home school English Country Dance ball...she was dancing to a song called 'Maries Wedding.'

I loved it, looked it up online, have since become an HUGE fan of The High Kings, and my passion for the rich Irish culture continues to grow!

So who exactly are The High Kings?
- watch this video.

{Darren Holden}

{Brian Dunphy}

{Finbarr Clancy}

{Martin Furey} now you know who The Kings are. You love them, right? Right!

Shall I tell you all about the concert? Of course! ^_^

It all happened Monday August 16th when 5 fun-loving friends traveled only about 25 minutes away on a journey to experience one of the most thrilling thrills of their lives!

Since it would take years (and probably bore non-fans in the process) to explain everything, I think I'll go with the hoe-hum highlight-lowlight approach. Sound good? I'll try to keep it all as condensed as I can.

~ before the concert~

lowlight -
The drive down to pick up our friends, who met us part way (they came from Pennsylvania.) My mom and I had plenty of interesting adventures along the way, including a truck blowing its tire into our windshield. Oh, and did I mention a hearse drove by soon afterwards?... o.O

highlight -
Picking up our friends! We had some wonderfully deep theological talks on the way home. Good times!

highlight -
Getting ready for the concert! My sister Anna made all five of us a cute kelly-green cloth flower clip to wear in our hair. Everyone looked adorable, and my friend Rachael even dressed in the colors of the Irish flag. I, naturally, wore my "Irish Girl At Heart" t-shirt. It just seems so appropriate for an Irish wannabe. ;)

highlight -
Turning Memory Lane (THK's newest album) up full volume (ok, not really ;) ) on the drive to the concert. The CD hasn't been released in the US yet, but I was privileged to have ordered it some months ago.
Such fun having my friends hear it for the first time!

major highlight -
Peeking through the main entrance doors of the Irish American Club. Why? first all I saw inside were tables and a few staff workers...then I look through the other window, and a scream escaped my lips - haha, yes, its true! I mean, what else could I do? Darren was standing on the stage! o.O

super major highlight -
Walking past ALL of The High Kings (and waving while trying not to hyperventilate when they waved back,) on our way into the restaurant (directly in the room across from the main hall.) I think it took me at least ten minutes before my heart-rate slowed to normal and my hands stopped shaking.

highlight -
As we ate our meal (while waiting for the guys to finish their sound check so we could enter the main hall,) who should walk past but...Martin! Of course I was across the room getting ketchup for my hamburger, so I nearly missed him. Thats just how I do things. :P

...he stuck his tongue out at Anna. ^_^

Biggest highlight of the evening -
As my friend Christina and I stood taking pictures of The Kings instruments up on stage a woman suddenly grabbed at my arm, excitedly saying that Darren was outside signing autographs, that he was SO sweet, and that I needed to meet him! I followed blindly as she pulled me through the crowd, showed me the door, and left. (Again, thanks *so* much Ginny!)

Christina and I stumbled out the door only to see Darren walking around the corner of the building. He turned once, and I gave him a little wave. Before I knew what was happening, Darren asked if we wanted our "pic-y" taken with him.
This was the result:

Darren was every bit as wonderful as Ginny said. He was very kind, gracious, and made Christina and I feel so comfortable! Meeting him was truly the ultimate highlight of the evening.

Ok, back to highlights...and...I'm not seeing many lowlights so far! ;)

highlight -
Seeing Brian up-close for the first time! He gave us a nice big smile and wave.

~ during the concert ~

highlight -
Following The High Kings out of the restaurant (where we were waiting to snap pictures) on their way into the hall. Finbarr promised we'd get a chance to spend some time with them after the concert, and Darren asked
"well aren't you girls coming in?" :D

(Has anyone figured out who my favorite band member is yet? ;) )

major highlight -
Hearing The Kings sing live! WOW I always thought they were talented when I heard them recorded, but it was a pleasant surprise to find them EVEN better live. They were incredible!

Sorry for the poor picture and sound quality of the following videos!

{The Black Velvet Band}

{The Fields of Glory}
- I was privileged to have this posted to Darren Holdens facebook fan wall!

{Maries Wedding}
- this is slightly different then the version we normally dance too. Again, so sorry for the poor quality!

{part of Caven Girl}

{the end part of As I Roved Out}
- this video is my personal favorite.

highlight -
Standing in the back of the hall after intermission. We had a much better view there!

highlight -
Purchasing THK's DVD!

amusing highlight -
As we girls sang and clapped along with the music one of the staff members took us aside, asking, "which of you is the biggest fan?" Hard question. ;) Later she kindly held our purses and things while we talked with the guys.

second biggest highlight of the evening -
Meeting, talking with, and taking picture with ALL of The High Kings! Each of them were soooo nice, "real" and friendly, the sort of people you could spend time drinking coffee with and just chatting. They spent quite some time with us gals, which was really neat - we actually held up the line to the autograph table! There are quite a few funny stories here, but this post is long enough, and I'm doing my best to keep it short-ish.

{Anna and I with Martin and Finbarr}

{Me and Brian!}

lowlight -
Yes...the end of the concert was a HUGE lowlight (hm...there were only two in this entire post, weren't there? ;) ) I can hardly wait until the next concert...

And there you have it peoples! My very brief summery of The High Kings in Cleveland. B-)


  1. That was such a LOVELY time. I can't wait to do it again. <3 Thanks so much for taking us and letting us stay with you.

  2. How awesome!!!! That is soooooooo neat that you were able to not only see your favorite group, but *meet* them and take pictures and talk and everything!!! That is sooooooo neat! I'm so happy for you!

  3. You lucky girl!!!!! I would love to go one of their concerts! But I thought all of their concerts were in Ireland? But wow,it was in Cleveland! Next time you find one in Ohio tell me! lol, I actually found out about this group on your blog and got their Cd from the Library! I pretty much the only one in our family who is into Irish music. I am proud to say I have a grandma who is 100% Irish!


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