Saturday 9: Bye, Bye Blackbird
No Way to Delay That Trouble Comin' Every Day

The Chieftains

Wednesday night we saw a wonderful, terrific, fantastic concert by The Chieftains! I am really, really glad it was on Wednesday, because everything in Philly shut down in response to the corona virus on Thursday!


This concert was part of The Chieftains 58th anniversary and Irish Goodbye tour. Both Joe and I have loved them for years, but neither of us had ever seen them live. So it was now or never, and we chose now.

The evening began with a video montage of the Chieftains throughout the years. When that ended, the band came onstage. When they were settled, Paddy Moloney (the chief Chieftain) said, "I wouldn't believe a word of it!" Immediately after that bon mot, the music began. And oh, what sublime music it was!

The main members of the group are Paddy Moloney, Matt Malloy, and Kevin Conneff. Paddy is the leader; he plays elbow pipes and tin whistle. Matt Malloy plays flute. Kevin Conneff plays bodhran and sings in a glorious tenor voice.

Joining them were a bunch of other musicians, including Tara Breen and Nathan Pilatzke on fiddle, Triona Marshall on harp and keyboards, a guitarist whose name I can't remember, and Alyth McCormack on vocals.

But the fun didn't stop with the band! During one number, Tara Breen stood to give a fiddle solo, and then she did some great Irish dancing! And then Paddy introduced Cara Butler, who did more amazing Irish dancing! And then Nathan Pilatzke joined his brother Jon onstage and they did more spectacular Irish dancing! (I really do not understand how their lower legs stay attached to their knees.)

Then Paddy brought on the Philadelphia All-City High School Choir, a great group of very talented kids, the Philadelphia Police & Fire Pipes & Drums corps in full highland dress, and a local group of Irish dancers in very sparkly dresses.

All of the musicians and dancers were extraordinary, but I truly loved the tunes from the core band. All three original members were featured, and Alyth McCormack's rendition of Foggy Dew brought both of us to tears.

So farewell, you Chieftains, and may the wind always be at your backs!