Ireland's Brian Kennedy has completed his first rehearsal of the song Every song is a cry for love on stage in Athens.
Before Brian and the Irish backing performers even appeared, the singer could be heard over the sound system performing a series of vocal warm-up exercises, some of them quite unusual! The call was made for their appearance, to which the arena heard his cheerful reply "We're here!" Cheerful, light-hearted and relaxed were in fact the moods that characterised the whole rehearsal, with the occasionalwheeee! noise made over the sound system, much to the amusement of theIrish team.
The man in charge
Brian appeared in a simple jeans and jacket outfit on a simple set, flanked by a male guitarist / vocalist on the left and three backing vocalists (one male and two female) on the right. He was very much the man in charge, being both writer and performer of the entry, and gave clear instructions about the direction of the performance and the stage presentation. After some time acapella setting the sound levels, he gave three full performances of Every song is a cry for love.
Simple but strong performance
The performance, though simple, comes across powerfully on screen as Brian plays the camera expertly, and some spectators in the arena were surprised at how well the song comes across. The lighting underpins this effect, moving across from red, through oranges and whites, to a deep green, which gives the whole presentation a firmly Irish grounding. Brian ends the song emotionally, with arms stretched out the side, eyes closed and face tothe sky.
At the press conference, the collected journalists had a chance to quiz the whole delegation, and one of the hot topics was the revamped backing track Brian and his vocalists will be singing to. The orchestration is now much richer, with a lush string arrangement searing in as the song builds. Brian explained that the new version is a hybrid created from the radio and thealbum version of the song.
You're a star no more
One of the more controvertial questions asked was about the recent Irish You're a star selections for the Eurovision Song Contest. After three consecutive years of increasingly poor results, and failing to even make the final of the 2005 contest, the delegation was honest in saying that the format was ditched in an attempt to revive the country's success rate. Although it was successful in giving young people a chance to enter the music industry, internal selection of an artist seemed like a surer bet for Ireland's 2006 participation, and Brian Kennedy was approached. Brian at first assumed he was being approached regarding the interval act, until RTE popped the question!
Brian accepted the challenge as he likes to take risks, and feels great pride at representing his country. He admits that he can be too critical of himself at times, but loves to spy on what the other countries are up to. He had a very good chance to do that when he appeared at the national final of Serbia and Montenegro, which famously erupted into violence and the eventual withdrawal of the country. Brian uses the experience to prove how the Eurovision Song Contest can never be described as boring;he sums itup in his reaction on that night: "Is this what Eurovision is really like?"
Secret Garden's good wishes
Brian found fame in the neighbouring UK with his track You raise me up, which was released as a tribute to late footballer George Best this year. Asked how he felt to be the original singer of the track, he replied "160 have recorded the song, and I feel privileged to have been the first". He has received a message of support from both the writer of You raise me up, and Secret Garden, Norway's Eurovision Song Contest winners of 1995, with whom he recorded the song.
A collection of 14 brand new songs sung by Brianwill be appearing in shops soon, and fans are pointed in the direction of his official website for more information.
Brian concluded the press conference with an acoustic version of the self-pennedEvery song is a cry for love. His second rehearsal is scheduled for Saturday, and Irish hopes will be riding on his ability to maintain and go beyond the level he has set in today's performance.