The Black Family concert in Michigan
Author: Amandine 
Date: 2001-8-13  

Marjie and I met Toni and Nele before the show at Conor O' Neil's pub for a drink, we were both taken with there wonderful accents, and I felt that we hit it off straight away, they were so much fun.

The doors opened at 6:30pm for the 7:00 show. so we left the bar at 6:30 ( as it is just next door) -- The queue at the door went all the way down the street and round the corner!!!

We only had unreserved seating for the first concert, we found a seat to the left of the stage which had a pretty good view. Although the poor man sitting next to me was behind a large pole which he had to peer round for the entire concert.

The set for the first half of the first show was

  1. Liza Lee
  2. Peace Must Come
  3. This Love
  4. Bansha Peeler
  5. No Frontiers (Shay told a story which he repeated with hand gestures in the second show as it was kind of hard to get- He said in breeding in his family had led to a growth of the ears toward the front of the face, and when his father married his mother {{ Mary added " and my father"}} they were all worried about this genetic defect showing up in their first child. So when he was finally born his aunt went to look in at hime and came back and told his father, Kevin, and the rest of the family, "Kevin's nose, No front ears, and I see Kevin in his eyes")
  6. Nigel
  7. Alabama (this was such a fun song)
  8. Will ye gang
  9. Perambulator (Michael did all the actions to this of the pram tipping and pointing at his nose and head!) (this is taken from Mary's cheat sheet- I have the original)

I had never heard any but Perambulator before. And no Frontiers, doh. Alabam was really lively, and the Perambulator made us laugh. The family work well together, they appear to really enjoy sining together and they make a very entertaining set- which surprised me in a way as I was afraid the brothers might steal the show, but I was wrong.

The weird part was when Mary introduced the accordian guy...? and the whole family just left for the duration of Bansha Peeler. Mary told us all how she loves singing with the family, just as they all left her to sing No Frontiers alone- she pointed it out which made us all laugh. Mary was grinning and laughing most of the time.

The 2nd half of the first set went

  1. Colcannon (Martin described how they had been taught this as kids by their auntie Francis)
  2. All the lies (Francis wrote this for a friend whose partner had left her, to tell her there would be someone better. She sang this alone and it was very beautiful)
  3. Motorway
  4. Sweet liberty
  5. Sky Road (Francis dedicated this to all emmigrants, when i heard it in the second show of the same night, it made me cry)
  6. Pat's Tunes (New compositions by Pat Crowley- noone had figured out a name for them yet- all wonderful)
  7. Song for ireland (Mary told us that she never gets away without singing it in America, in both shows the applause after this song was enormous)
  8. Buddy Tannen
  9. What a time

The encores were

  1. Here's a Health
  2. Down Our Street (The audience joined in)
  3. Fare Thee Well
  4. and Molly

Between the 1st and 2nd shows we met mary in the Ark bar, she signed my ball cap with love and i gave her a necklace I made- she said it went well with her outfit-and she wore it for the 2nd show- Marjie asked how she was as she had been ill when we last saw her in March. I am afraid she might still be unwell as she avoided talking about it. We had a wonderful talk, she seemed very relaxed.

In the second show we got seats with Nele and Toni in the front row. We were so pressed up against the stage it was kind of embarrasing to be that close while they were singing, but they kept smiling at us so I felt more OK about it after the first few songs-

The only set changes were in the 1st half 3,5 and 8 were changed to Will ye gang, This love and No frontiers ( change of order) and in the second half they added Alleluia.

They asked us all to join in the chorus of this love. " This love will carry, this love will carry me, I know this love will carry me..." Francis led but the whole family joined in. Toni, Marjie and I held hands as we sang and Mary and Francis were both smiling at us. Martin dedicated Sweet Liberty to Marjie for her birthday.

Martin talked about their house in Charlemont Street where thye had a grocers and then martin had a bike shop, but which is now a motorway, and related it to the motorway song, in which they sang with great joy about the cabbages and peas- but i felt a little sad for them.

My impressions of Shay- he is a very nice person- obviuosly the eldest , and a little of a show off, as he was posing throughout the show - we met with him in the bar at o'Neills where he sat and talked to us after Mary had got her coat on to leave. I sang Colcannon with him, because I had been teeling him that i got so carried away in the second show when mary held her stomach and Martin asked " are you dying?" ( jokingly) and they all alughed and carried on singing, that I joined in too- real lous for a line before i caught myself- so he let me sing iw with him in the pub- he said i have a nice voice.

In the bar after the show we were waiting for mary to come in. nele had gone backsateg and asked her what she was doing and she ahd said we should meet her in the pub and she would buy us a drink. Well she came in the back and we went in the front- we thought she would never come in till I scouted the bar and found them all. We were to shy and respectful to go over but Mary just walked right up and said "pull up a chair and join us".

We sat in a corner table of their alcove for a while, as mary was eating, and then she came over nicely and told Nele to move over and took a seat.

She talked to us for ages andit was a laugh, she asked us about ourselves and our lives- she is well caught up on all of us. She asked about you, Petra and she remebers Jordie. She told us about her middle cild Danny's first gig- which she decided to go to at the last minute as she had missed his commuinion and some of his birthdays- being in march- around st patricks day and having engagements- so she flew up to dublin and drove some way but was stopped by sheep in the road and tractors and arrived at 8.05 five minutes after the start- he was shocked and delighted.

She says her favourite color is green, her eyes are green, and her hair is frizzy and Francis has extensions. She is going to make a double CD- one CD of the collection 2 and one cd of tracks with other people such as Joan Baez. She says she like's janis Ian's song " Mary's eyes" but her eyes are really green, but not much rymes with green that's nice.

We really got more than we expected and we are delighted with the experience. we left the bar at 2.45pm and hugged mary goodbye.

She says Kettering was cancelled as they didn't get enough money, but they still ahve to go there to catch a plane. Francis looked very tired as they were just off the plane themselves and the sound-check had been the rehearsal- It was even more amazing just how wonderful they were.

That's all for now, Take care, Amandine.