Sunday, March 18, 2012

Review of "An Evening of Irish Rock" - Jeans 'N Classics & The Green Bay Symphony Orchestra

Last night my wife and I attended the Green Bay Symphony's production of "An Evening of Irish Rock," which was preformed in conjunction with the rock band Jeans 'N Classics.  Jeans is a touring band that specializes in cooperative production of rock songs with orchestras, and has been doing so for years.  They travel North America, and have developed programs that have focused on music from artists like Sting, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and, like much of last night, U2. 

The evening started out with rousing production of Riverdance by the orchestra to fully set the Irish tone for the evening, and shortly thereafter the ensemble shifted into Thin Lizzie's The Boys are Back in Town.  Michael Shotton, the male lead singer, hit the stage with an energetic gusto did his best throughout the night to get the audience to let its collective hair down a little bit.  His voice was very strong, and styling very close to Bono, so the U2 songs that were presented were very well done. 

However, for my money, female lead vocalist Kathryn Rose stole the show.  Her vocals on Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U (included as Sinead O'Connor's cover of it made it a classic) and Cranberries' Linger were outstanding, and on Van Morrison's Have I Told You Lately, incredible.  Her voice is smoky, sexy, and her treatment of what could be argued as a tired song breathed wonderful life into it.  She's an outstanding vocal talent. 

What really made the evening for me were the songs in which the orchestra was able to really augment the traditional cover.  A couple great examples of this included a surprising Vertigo, The Unforgettable Fire (for my money, the best song of the evening), and Where the Streets Have No Name. 

The ensemble closed with Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For which turned into a nice sing-along.  It was a great way to close the event. 

I did not know what to expect last night, and came away very impressed and entertained.  I also came away looking for Kathryn Rose's material on iTunes, where I found a nice assortment which I'll be downloading later. 

Great stuff.   

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