Wicked Picts: Pandora Celtica tour recap

I’m sitting in the comfortable Kansas City nerve center of Underhill Alchemy and Mithros Designs this afternoon, watching the sun glisten on yesterday’s snow fall.  All I want to do is hibernate.  Reading all about the Year Without a Summer last night was actually comforting.  I hope you’re safe and warm, too.

Two nights ago, I wrapped up my first shared mini tour with Pandora Celtica.  We had ourselves quite a lovely time performing together at Wicked Faire in NJ, and then meeting up for shared concerts in Memphis, Conway AR, and the Kansas City area.  Each show was different, we had a great turnout everywhere, and we all parted ways with heartfelt hugs and smiles.

I get to perform with Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps again over the next two Saturdays, in Nashville and in Little Rock respectively.  I’m looking forward to those, and glad to have some rest periods in between!  I may not yet be recovered from running around with Pandora Celtica.  To that end, read on for my tour recap, dedicated with love and joy to Arjil, Requiem, ShadowCat, September, Rubiee, and Nessa, as well as our host families, coordinators and fans.

"Which camera do we look at now?"  Nessa, ShadowCat, me, Rubiee, Requiem, and September

“Which camera do we look at now?”


Arjil and I found ourselves on rather more of an epic quest than we’d planned.  We awoke to find that our flights to Wicked Faire in NJ, scheduled for that afternoon, had been cancelled.  This is what happens when Chicago-Midway is under a snow-nado watch, and rightly so.  We made it safely onto our new flights, but had to fly into LaGuardia instead of Newark that evening.  If you know your NY/NJ geography, you know that this meant for a long evening.  Two shuttles, one very spendy cab ride, and two hotel room attempts later, we were at last installed at Wicked Faire HQ: the lovely Doubletree Somerset.  Heads hit the pillow at 4am.


After sleeping in like a champ, we made our way down to the first floor to help Rubiee and Susan load in all of their goodies for the Dryad Tea booth!  Mmmm, tea.

Rubiee's Giant Teacup

Rubiee’s Giant Teacup

Shortly thereafter, the rest of Pandora Celtica arrived safely, and we all jumped in to arrange and set up the shared band vending tables.  All of us had concerts that evening, and we joyfully shared and compared setlists.  Sound check was a breeze, and the CircuitSIX crew were incredible to work with.  We all got dialed in with sound and lights shortly after Ego Likeness had done the same- what a pleasure it was to hear these badasses, even just a little!


My first concert that evening was bliss.  The crowd was a delight, and they gave us their full attention.  Pandora Celtica backed me up en masse for “Firebird’s Child” and several other numbers, and Arjil got up to sing with the lads and me on “Glashtyn Shanty.”  The secret is officially out- he’s not allowed to say he’s “not a singer” anymore!

Later that evening, Pandora Celtica had their first set on the Lobby Stage- perfect for them and their fun repertoire to be able to grab a big crowd as people wandered through!  I got to jump up and sing with them on “Exile”, “South Australia”, and more.  Next came the Righteous Blackguards, who are fun-loving scamps and musical pirates of the highest order.  Our event producer, the wonderful Jeff Mach, once described their sound as “a lot like Pandora Celtica, but drunk!”


PC continued rocking the house a couple of hours later, with an unplugged concert in the Library.  Our host Cello Mike was a sweetie, and the crowd urged the band to sing long past cutoff time!  Talk about being well received.


Our biggest day at the event, with two PC shows, one SJ show, and a Q&A session for both bands!  PC rocked the Mirabelle room in the afternoon and evening, and I dragged them up to sing with me again in the ballroom for my birthday concert!  A wonderful time was had by all.  My crowd was super responsive, and as soon as my show ended, I got to jump down and join the crowd for a rocking set by Frenchy & the Punk!  Birthday perfection!

I had the good fortune to share dinner with some of the girls in the band and some good friends, and then it was back to the site for my Q&A.  Fans new and old quizzed me about songwriting and begged for more music, which I was happy to sing!  We closed out the evening with another gorgeous Pandora Celtica set, and I allowed myself to be pulled up on stage once more.  No complaints.


I was also happy to get to give a HUGE shout-out to my friend and concert sponsor, Cucina Aurora.  Dawn is my favorite Kitchen Witch, and I absolutely recommend her tasty cooking oils and products.

SUNDAY FEB 23 2014

Today I gleefully attended my first Tea Duel, courtesy of the beautiful Ursula Whiffenpot!  Cookies and tea were dribbled and devoured, and the competition was fierce!  Dryad Tea is, of course, the perfect tea for dueling.



This was followed immediately and perfectly by the final Pandora Celtica set of the event.  I wasn’t supposed to have any concerts on this day, but PC found a way around that!  We did our first group performance of my song, “Red’s Lullaby”, and the crowd was very pleased!

All of us went out for a celebratory dinner that evening after the booths and goodies were all packed up, and we said a temporary goodbye, knowing we’d meet up again in a few days.

MONDAY FEB 24 2014

Arjil and I flew gratefully home, with only a slight delay this time.  Thank goodness.


Arjil and I straightened up our woodland paradise in preparation for the arrival of a horde of Colorado fae!


Arjil and I drove to Memphis, arriving in the afternoon to meet up with Pandora Celtica once more, safe from their drive from New Jersey to Tennessee!  Brave souls.  BBQ was had, and then we headed over to the lovely Neshoba Church to get ready for our next shared performance!  My Memphis phamily made a strong showing, and we all had a blast!  I have a feeling that the Festival of Souls crowd hasn’t seen the last of Pandora Celtica.  Not at all.

PC live in Memphis!

PC live in Memphis!

After the concert, we all piled into our colorful caravan and headed for home- my home, that is.  We tucked ourselves in at Punchy O’clock, looking forward to the coming day of rest.


Sleep was had, leisure time was had, tasty food was had courtesy of Arjil’s mum, and even ice cream was had later!  Arjil and I took great joy in letting Pandora Celtica relax and flop in our woodland paradise, all of us reading books and catching up with online stuff and taking a walk through the forest on the property, exploring and resting.  In the evening we ran off to Little Rock for errands and ice cream, and then came back for a group viewing of The Secret of Kells.  We folded up soon after, and all was well.

FRIDAY FEB 28 2014

The last day of the month, and our second-to-last shared concert!  Before heading into town to get set up at The Locals, we made a house call to sing to Arjil’s grandmother Miss Jo.  She is always the best audience you could wish for, and the band was glad to get a chance to sing for her and to thank her for the visit.

Our concert that evening was packed to the point that The Locals ran out of chairs!  I was thrilled, considering that this was the first chance I’d had to give a concert, with friends or otherwise, in my new home town.  Our hosts Hector and Sandra were pleased as well.  It was so good to have so many friends, fans and family come out to see us!  In addition, the beautiful Renée Janski graced the stage during my set, with her sexy new six-string fretted violin!  She and I also performed “Beetz In My Salad”, just the two of us, for the first time ever!



My dance teacher and friend Melissa Steele was in attendance, and she pulled me aside to make sure it would be all right for her to get up and dance.  I told her “YES, PLEASE!”  The answer is ALWAYS yes, folks, if you’re wondering if it’s okay to get up and dance at my concerts!


This day marked our last hurrah, for now.  We dragged ourselves out of bed (ok, I was dragging; not sure about anyone else), packed up, and hit the road for Kansas City to play a house concert at our host Rhodri’s lovely home.  The weather got a little tricky on us just before we arrived, and we weren’t certain we’d have any physical audience at all.  To tell the truth, I was half hoping that everyone would stay home and keep clear of the sudden ice and snow.  Once again, our people surprised me and surpassed my expectations.  We had quite a good-sized crowd, considering the weather, and at the last minute, I set up a live stream for the concert online- thanks to Rhodri for the use of his internet connection!

The concert video is archived on my UStream channel.  Feel free to go and watch us if you missed it!

Disclaimer: this was set up at the last minute, so lighting and sound may be a little less than perfect.  Also, the first minute or so is NSFW, as Arjil was telling a joke. 😉

Video streaming by Ustream
Photo credits:  Andrei Freeman, Rubiee Tallyn Hayes, Melissa Steele, and me. 🙂