Roscommon date for Aonghus’s tribute to much-loved star
You can hear the genuine emotion and love in well-known RTE personality Aonghus McAnally’s voice as he chats to the Roscommon People about his stunning and bewitching tribute to Christie Hennessy.
Aonghus speaks with emotion of a gentleman who was not only his – close friend, – but also one of Ireland’s most iconic singer-songwriters – the late, great Christie Hennessy.
We caught up with Aonghus as he was preparing to bring his critically acclaimed show ‘Celebrating Christie Hennessy – The Platinum Collection’ – currently on a hugely successful 26-venue nationwide tour – to visit the Rossies at The Roscommon Arts Centre on Thursday, 14th of December. (As I write, tickets are still available).
“It’s been a very successful show, and it’s been an emotional journey for me. I find once I put on that guitar I feel a connection and I feel the audience is also connecting. It’s an honour to be keeping Christie’s spirit alive,” said one of the most recognisable faces and voices in the country, whom readers of a certain vintage will remember from d’telly as entertainer/broadcaster/musician and billiards player. Indeed Aonghus has been a part of our lives for over 30 years as host of TV’s ‘Anything Goes’ and my own favourite, ‘The Lyrics Board.’
For the past three years this versatile performer has been Joe Duffy’s Liveline show’s series producer as well as presenting Late Date on RTE Radio 1.
So where does this multi-skilled all-rounder get the time to fit everything in?
“It was important to me to do the show and for me it’s a privilege to honour Christie. You know it’s not just a case of me impersonating someone like (for example) Roy Orbison; audiences get the emotion in me. And we touch on Christie’s illiteracy; you know he left school without learning to read or write and yet he wrote all of these wonderful songs; and one night a woman approached me after the show and hugged me and said ‘that was my story you told.’ You know some people have actually come to see the show several times. One woman travelled from Cork to Dublin to see it a second time and that makes me so proud.”
Christie, who gave us such unforgettable and timeless classics as Messenger Boy, (which outsold U2), Jealous Heart, and All the Lies That You Told Me, tragically lost his battle with cancer on December 11th, 2007.
“On the eve of the 10th anniversary of Christie’s death on 11th December, it’ll be the big one. On Sunday, 10th December, we’re in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, (Dublin) and that’ll be a very emotional night for everyone,” says Aonghus, who adds: “This is deeply personal for me and I feel his presence around me and I’ll certainly feel it (when) performing on the eve of Christie’s anniversary.”
On a more festive note, Aonghus disclosed that he’s actually quite the culinary expert, saying “I’ll be cooking the Christmas Dinner. I’ll be doing a turkey and ham and my sister will be home from the US and having dinner with us. It’ll be a family Christmas, a nice and relaxed afternoon where we will chill and chat, and then I’ll be on RTE radio working as I’ll be presenting Late Date from 11 pm to 2 am.”
However, despite Aonghus getting into the festive spirit, he won’t be donning any funky Christmas jumpers this year, saying “Oh no, I hate them. I’d be mortified if anyone gave me one as a present.”
For fans of Aonghus or indeed the late great legend that is Christie Hennessy, some tickets are still available at the time of writing for the following shows – 8th of December in An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; 10th of December in Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin and 14th of December in Roscommon Arts Centre.