Performances and Artists
Acclaimed Irish Group Brings Top Musicians, Singers and Dancers of the World to Vegas
When Las Vegas audiences see world-renowned Irish group The Chieftains on stage at The Smith Center on February 22, they can expect to see “the full extent of what we do,” promises founder and frontman Paddy Moloney.
That means more than instrumental performances alone by the vastly talented group, beloved for its traditional and contemporary Irish music across its 55-year career.
The concert will also feature electrifying performances by top-level step dancers, including acclaimed Canadian duo Jon and Nathan Pilatzke, plus Irish step-dancing champion Cara Butler.
Scottish singer Alyth McCormack will croon haunting and heartwarming melodies, and a lively pipe band and Las Vegas choir will also take the stage.
“You won’t have time to blink, let’s put it that way,” Moloney says of the packed program.
The concert could even be compared to a Riverdance experience – fitting, as Michael Flatley actually danced during The Chieftains’ concerts for seven years before he founded Riverdance.
“He never gave me 10 percent for that, unfortunately,” Moloney says with a chuckle.
A Global Phenomenon
The Chieftains have actually taken the stage with many of the world’s greatest entertainers.
That’s why the upcoming concert will also include a multimedia show of the band’s incredible history, including being the first Western group to play on the Great Wall of China, and performing with legends like Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Van Morrison and Paul McCartney.
“I think it’s the solidness of the music and that the sound has crossed to so many people,” Moloney explains of the group’s pervasive fame. “It’s been great to get support from fellow musicians of different genres, even Roger Daltrey from The Who. I didn’t know, but he was listening to The Chieftains even back in the ‘70s.”
The concert will also feature a video from the International Space Station, of astronaut Cady Coleman playing one of The Chieftains’ flutes in space.
“We actually play along with it,” Moloney adds.
Still In High Demand
Even after more than half a century of performing, The Chieftains are in constant demand for concerts across the globe.
This included a special concert for the empress of Japan in November alone.
“I’ve never taken anything for granted,” Moloney says. “I’m always very nervous going on stage. It can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s a special event.”
His favorite concert, he adds, remains The Chieftains’ very first concert at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1975, when the group packed the 5,272-seat house.
With the success of this concert, Moloney convinced his fellow musicians to go pro, he says.
“That concert was very emotional,” he says. “I had to persuade these guys and their families, ‘Let’s give this a shot and go to the United States.’ I had great hope and confidence I could make this happen, and my dreams came true.”
The Chieftains performed as part of the 2017-2018 season.