Daniel O’Donnell performing his Welcome Back Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Saturday 10th September 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Returning after an extended break away from the music business to spend some quality time with his wife, Majella, quite possibly the nicest man in the industry was back at The Royal Concert Hall last night, and it was as though he had never been away.

Making this appreciative audience feel like they were all his old friends who have accompanied him on every step of his 33 year career, and with his gentle Irish lilt he had them immediately in the palm of his hands. With his gentle voice and charismatic stage presence, the show just rushed by as he covered everything from his breakthrough hit, Stand Beside Me, to the must do song, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.

With support from his new eight piece band of multi instrumentalists, there were such treats as Tipperary Girl and Whiskey In The Jar. With the audience hanging on his every word, they listened to his personal stories and laughed at his Irish jokes. He talked, he sang, he danced and he joked during a show that lasted three hours.

A back screen showed tributes to Hank Williams and his close friend, Cilla Black. There were also clips of his time on Strictly Come Dancing as he joked about his two left feet. After the interval there were mass sing alongs to such delights as Sweet Caroline, I’m A Believer and (Is This The Way To) Amarillo. Ably backed on vocals by Irish country folk singer Mary Duff, herself a veteran of over twenty albums, the treats just kept coming.

But it was Danny Boy and an encore of the heartfelt and brilliant, How Great Thou Art, that had this audience on their feet in appreciation.

O’Donnell never gives less than perfection on stage whilst at the same time remaining modest and unassuming. But he is like Marmite in that you either like him or you don’t, but this audience showed which camp they were in as they stood to give a well deserved ovation to this consummate performer.

It is an absolute testament to the man that he made time to have a few words with everyone who had queued at the stage door afterwards, and did not refuse anyone a selfie or an autograph. He was still there when many had gone home to bed and that surely must be the appeal of the man who could teach younger artists a trick or two.