Loreena McΚennitt (27/6/2019) Odeon of Herodes Atticus – English version

If the memory of an “adult over forties” does not deceive me, it was the first “non rock/metal” concert I would attend. Of course, this couldn’t have been in a more ideal and beautiful place, than the Acropolis of ancient Athens.

Gates were about to open at 8 o’ clock and the queues already long. Nevertheless, the entrance flow proved to be really satisfactory. Sun was about to “anabdon us” and the wind had brought the high temperatures of the day to a mild/bearable degree (even for someone as myself, who considers the air-condition, as mankind’s greatest invention!). The audience looked motley, from older people to some “profound rockers”, a fact that offered the concert a “special colour”.

Ten minutes after nine and while the “amphitheatrical scenery” was “chock-full to the angles”, were stage-visibility was inadequate, Loreena McKennitt and her group of musicians, turned up in front of our eyes.

Loreena, immediately assumed her position behind the keyboards, and “The Mystic’s Dream”,
would trigger a journey to the “land of emotions”, right through different civilisations and cultures. Classic musical instruments were outnumbering and “prevailing upon others” on stage, and she, herself, chose different ones in different songs, as, besides a lyricist and composer, she is a great musician, too.

Thus, with an accordion in her hands, she started “The Star of the County Down”, from “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” LP. Then, holding her harp, sitting at the center of the stage, she greeted and thanked us in the Hellenic language. She had not come for too many words, as she informed us a couple of times during the night, and she was extremely right thinking like that, as her voice charisma and what she had already started offering us, were far more essential, than all the words of the world.

The moments with her harp, proved to be from the prettier and most rewarding of the night, like in the astonishing, “Bonny Portmore”.

“Marrakesh Night Market” followed, to take us to the Northern African shores, in Morocco, with “Ages Past, Ages Hence” successing it, “finding” her behind the piano, for the first time in the night. Her love and sensibility for nature “unfolded” vividly in this certain song, where, with the help of her exceptional musicians, they gave us a beautiful finale, under the sounds of a flute.

In the way her voice was “jumping” and “dancing” (like a childish game), over the notes and musical pentagram, you could not stop thinking, that if you instantly “lost your sight” and recovered it after a while, an elf would appear, coming from “Lord of the Rings” elf’s region and sing in front of you, bringing with her that extraordinary beauty and unearthly voice.

In “Marco Polo”, which followed, three of our country’s musicians, Socratis Sinopoulos, Panos Dimitrakopoulos and Haig Yazdjian, joined the stage, as they had done in her last LP “Lost souls”(2018). They accompanied Loreena in numerous songs, offering them a special tone with their traditional musical instruments.

Before the start of “Spanish Guitars & Night Plazas” they left the stage, until their next (re)appearance. The audience was strictly focused, as if they were in a religious place. The sound, having the vivid synergy of odeon’ s acoustics, was crystal clear. MAGIC, in the making, inside Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and I do not know how much more I will “abuse” this word, as it is, sincerely, the closest definition of what Loreena offered us.

“All Souls Night” and “Penelope’ s Song”, continued the “aesthetic delirium of sentiments”. She communicated to us, how much she enjoyed the place and the fact of performing outside, while odeon’ s personnel, had already begun a “safari” of informing about the prohibition of photographs, partly (probably) due to the already known fact, that the concert would be recorded and produced. The truth is, that compared to other concerts I have attended, the audience has been disciplined enough.

The “dreamy” “Bonny Swans”, leaded us towards the intermission, ending in the completion of an hourly performance, in the midst of a great applause from the audience, of profound satisfaction.
Twenty minutes later, “Full Circle” “opened” the second part, with the team in full lineup, succeded by “The Gates of Instanbul”, and our journey turning easternly.
In “Santiago”, the whole theater accompanied the musicians with a rhythmic applause, while McKennitt seemed to be enjoying it, behind her accordion. Mind was travelling once again, from the Highlands of Scotland, to Ireland, Tolkin’ s Middle Earth and back to the Mediterranean Sea, in a non-conventional and unnatural route. The violin solo, completed the song in a fantastic way, returning the most warm “feedback”.

She continued with “The Dark Night of the Soul”, in an equally vivid, “sentimental backdrop”, before “Manx Ayre” and “The Lady of Shalott”, “popped out” of her harp, giving us two moments of artistic, unworldly beauty. The concert came to an end, in the company of “The Old Ways” (M-A-G-I-C-A-L) and “Lost Souls”, with her charismatic voice, continuously “giving birth” to strong emotions and undescribable “pictures of sound”, offered to the audience.
Before the last song, ten years after her last concert in our country, she talked about Greece, the concert place and the legacy which is appreciated, as she characteristically said, in a simple and sincere “lectical intervention”. Thanking us, once more in our language, she left the stage, earning, as expected, a standing ovation.

The audience, strongly demanded an encore and earned two, in fact, with “Tango to Evora” (covered by Haris Alexiou as “Nefeli’s tango”) and the emblematic masterpiece, “Dante’s Prayer”. In this last song, we had the most appropriate finale, as besides the previously contributing musicians, she was accompanied on stage, by famously known guitarist Pavlo Simtikidis (of Greek origin, born and living in Toronto) and Evanthia Reboutsika with her violin {having recorded numerous soundtracks (amongst other songs), for Hellenic and non Hellenic movies}, warmly welcomed by the audience.

What the attendants of the sold out concert in Odeon of Herodes Atticus lived, is something unique! Enjoying this certain artist live, is a “once in a lifetime” experience (which I would strongly recommend), especially in this certain theater, considering the acoustics, the surrounding environment and its history and most certainly, regardless of your standard musical preferences.
Loreena McKennitt is undoubtedly a charismatic performer! A voice that provokes you in her live performances, to close your eyes, dream, fall in love, live! To draw pictures in your mind, to travel instantly or for a few moments, to find out, that beauty in life can coincide in “contradictory” elements/situations, as an ethereal, adolescent voice of a “fairy”, in the body of a mature, descent and magnificent lady.    
Thank you, sincerely, Mrs McKennitt!

Loreena McKennitt setlist :
The Mystic’ s Dream
The Star of the County Down
Bonny Portmore
Marrakesh Night Market
Ages Past, Ages Hence
Marco Polo
Spanish Guitars & Night Plazas
All Souls Night
Penelope’ s Song
The Bonny Swans
Full Circle
The Gates of Instanbul
The Dark Night of the Soul
Manx Ayre
The Lady of Shalott
The Old Ways
Lost Souls
Tango to Evora
Encore 2
Dante’s Prayer


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About Σταύρος Βλάχος 53 Articles
Γαλουχήθηκε στα πρώτα “μουσικά βήματα”, όντας μαθητής Δημοτικού, μέσω του “Headbanger’ s Ball”, του (τότε) μουσικού καναλιού MTV. 30 χρόνια μετά τις τότε πρώτες του “πειρατικές κασσέτες”, μία εξαιρετικά ευχάριστη συγκυρία τον οδηγεί στο σαγηνευτικό “χώρο” ονόματι Rockway. Με το “εν οίδα ότι ουδέν οίδα” γνώμονα, με σεβασμό στη δημιουργία μουσικών στιγμών, θα αναζητά και ανακαλύπτει συνοδοιπόρος με τους αναγνώστες, ονειρικά, “μουσικά μέρη” και “ηχοτοπία”, που θα δίνουν ομορφότερη όψη στην καθημερινότητά μας, ώστε να γινόμαστε μέσω αυτής, ευτυχέστεροι και καλύτεροι άνθρωποι… Andiamo amici!