Peter Corry

Last night I witnessed, or rather: heard a horrible thing. I found it so disturbing it has taken me a full day of recovery, but I think I am now able to purge my trauma in a post.

The tragic thing is that I could have avoided exposing myself to this auditive torture. I saw it coming a mile away, when my mom told me she won tickets to go and see “Celtic Rhythms, a night of Irish song and dance featuring Peter Corry”. I didn’t know who Peter Corry was at that moment, but if the words “Celtic Rhythms” had somehow failed to set off the tackiness alarm just yet, the description of Peter Corry’s talents definitely sealed the deal: “Peter Corry’s warm vocals take you on a journey through history, the customs and traditions of his homeland, past gods, druids and magicians.”

Anyway, after reading that I pretty much knew what I was in for. A theatre full of claphappy wannabe-Irish, being treated to a superbly marketed mishmash of Irish music culture. Sure enough all the elements were there. Pretty colleens and strapping youngfellas in crushed velvet outfits doing some Irish dancing. Video footage of rolling green hills accompanied by a voice over talking about the mystical myths of the mythological mysteryland that is Eireann. A cast of (thankfully very capable) session musicians, including a Polish drummer who was supposedly “representing the growing Eastern European population in Ireland”. Two jolly aul Irish fellas named Mick & Mick who took care of the drunk-singalong-songs. All of this was quite enjoyable, even if very predictable. The musicians were good, I particularly enjoyed their solos.

However, the one thing I was severely underprepared for, was Peter Corry. I had no idea just how slick and nauseatingly sacharine he sang, nor could anything have prepared me for the incredible extent of his self adulation. The man is obviously passionately in love with every last fibre of himself, from his gelled back hair past his ruffled manblouse and black velvet coat, down to his shiny dancing shoes.

He would occasionally swoop onto the stage, spotlight firmly fixed on him, and introduce his next song with a little story full of, err, heartfelt emotion. “Are there any fathers in the audience? What about mothers? Anyone who’s both? [insert Peter laughing at his own hilarious joke] Well this is a song from my new album and it goes out to all the parents and grandparenst out there, it’s a little song for the children called… [dramatic pause] lullaby”

Worse than singing his own dime a dozen soppy songs, was the fact that he violated several beautiful traditional Irish songs with his Broadway musical approach. All drama and vibrato. He made sure not to miss a chance to tug at the heartstrings during his renditions of Danny Boy, Carrickfergus and Song For Ireland, sucking every ounce of sincerity out of them.

But wait, the horror didn’t stop there! Peter had another little surprise for us. “A while ago I was invited to be one of the celebrities dancing on an Irish show called Jigs ‘n Reels, and I made it to the final!” He stood at the front of the stage with his arms spread wide as if to say “Cheer for me, I am magnificent!”, however he only got a mild clap out of the audience. “Would you like to see a bit of me in the show?” (hardly any response), “Well I’m going to show you some footage wether you want to or not”.

After watching the video he jokingly said “But don’t worry, there’s absolutely no chance of me doing any dancing here tonight…”. He then seemed rather shocked to discover that the Dutch onlookers took this remark in their stride rather than standing up and shouting “Oh please please Peter, please show us your sexy dance moves!!”.  So he was then forced to ask the pleading question “Ehm… or would you like to see me dance?”, followed by a polite little applause to make the total awkwardness of the moment go away. And then he danced. Obviously not nearly as good as the professional dancers on stage, just adding to the utter embarrassment of it all.

I can’t say I speak for everyone in the audience last night. There were definitely others who weren’t exactly having the time of their lives (the woman next to us gave the ultimate lukewarm repsonse when her husband asked her what she thought of the show: “Well, it’s not so bad that I want to leave immediately…”), but there was also a number of people clapping and singing away all night. I’m not sure what kind of enjoyment they were getting from it all, but I just hope they actually go and visit Ireland someday so they can see the real deal. There’s nothing quite like walking into a pub in the middle of nowhere when a spontaneous session starts up and the locals play and sing their favourite songs. Well, provided there isn’t an all singing all dancing B-list musical star among the locals that is… 

If you must, watch Peter Corry in action by clicking here.

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