Wednesday 22 November 2017

Review: Declan O'Rourke and the RTE Concert Orchestra at the National Concert Hall

Declan O'Rourke and the RTE Concert Orchestra, National Concert Hall, Dublin

Declan O'Rourke
Declan O'Rourke
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

One of the nicer Valentine’s Day traditions, rather than corny Hallmark cards and supermarket dine-in deals, is a romantic concert.

Low in Islington's Union Chapel, London, and Neil Young in the Grand Rex in Paris on February 14 are two personal favourites. Closer to home, Irish troubadour Declan O’Rourke fronts the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for a bit of swoon some date night fun.

O’Rourke takes to the stage beaming, as he loves the overture that has been specially composed for him. His warm and emotive voice immediately wins over the audience, and the orchestra makes his delicate songs sound more expansive and special.

“I got into trouble with my wife for booking a gig on Valentine’s night,” O’Rourke jokes. “So I booked a table for two. Then, I found out she didn’t like snooker.”

It’s a great gag, which I think originally belongs to Patrick Kielty, and sets the tone for an entertaining and relaxing evening. O’Rourke dedicates ‘Children of ’16’ to John Sheehan of the Dubliners, who is in attendance.

The crowd join in wholeheartedly for a great version of ‘Love is the Way’ before the interval. Special guest Saoirse Casey, who is Paddy Casey's daughter, joins Declan for a duet in the second half. O'Rourke calls Cssey “one to watch.”

O’Rourke also premieres a terrific new song entitled ‘The Magic Road to Anywhere’. It shows Declan has plenty more magic left up his sleeve, and this fruitful orchestral collaboration that has been going on for nearly decade is a great night out, regardless of whether or not it’s Valentine’s Day.

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