WILKES-BARRE — It wasn’t parade day.
It wasn’t even March, but the spirits of many in Wilkes-Barre were green as Celtic Thunder played the F.M. Kirby Center Tuesday.
Their “Legacy” tour made a stop in the Diamond City to a nearly sold-out crowd. The five lads — Ryan Kelly, Neil Byrne, Emmet Cahill, Michael O’Dwyer and Damian McGinty — who are given the name Celtic Thunder are rehearsed, choreographed and they keep things moving.
McGinty, who played Rory Flanagan, an Irish exchange student on “Glee,” is back with the group and the newest addition is Michael O’Dwyer.
“I’m blown away by Michael,” Cheryl Kabana, of Hometown, said. Agreeing with Kabana were Darleen Wood, of Montrose, and Angela Armato, of Binghamton, N.Y.
Both Wood and Armato have been to “countless shows.” Wood has gone as far as Toronto, Ontario, for the Irish sensations.
The concert’s format reverberated around songs that have spanned their nine-year career and several member changes, including the death of beloved member, George Donaldson. The guys put their powerful Gaelic voices to work on folk tunes, ballads and several ensemble numbers to demonstrate their crowd-pleasing choreography.
While each soloist has their moment, several times throughout the show, the ensemble songs seemed to draw the biggest fan interaction. There is nothing like “Now We Are Free,” a cover from the movie “Gladiator” or hearing the crowd sing along to the pub-worthy tunes of “Seven Drunken Nights” and Cahill’s solo “My Irish Molly-O.”
Notable tunes included the first song Bryne recorded with the group, a love song to “Noreen,” and McGinty’s cover of Broadway’s “Falling Slowly” from the musical “Once.” The Irish standards like “Danny Boy” and “Galway Girl” were executed so perfectly that they charmed men and women alike.
“Hallelujah” and “Take Me Home” poured forth in harmony, like only Celtic Thunder can give.
“They never disappoint,” Kabana said.
The more-peppier tunes had the audience believing they were transported to either a rock show or a comedy act. McGinty’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” had a comedy act intro. The TV star’s “back up singers were missing” and after “hearing them sing in the dressing room” recruited Kelly and Bryne to don wigs and sing the “oohs” and “ahhs” while McGinty made the younger girls swoon, channeling his inner Bobby Darin.
“From the time I started going, Damian was always my favorite,” Sarah Cease, of Hunlock Creek, said noting she’s been attending concerts since the first time Celtic Thunder performed at the then-Wachovia Arena.
The lights made their way around the set and flickered during Kelly and Byrne’s rock rendition of “Whiskey in the Jar.”
“How can you chose between five handsome lads with an Irish accent and a voice that you would dream of singing you to sleep at night?” Cease asked.
The atmosphere seemed to be electrified during the crowd-rousing, get-on-your-feet inducing “Ireland’s Call,” including the requisite kilts.
“It’s very family friendly,” Wood said.
Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko