Rovers come back bigger, better

The Irish Rovers will be returning to Penticton March 7, the first time the band has played in the city since 2011.

John Reynolds and George Millar of the Irish Rovers at the Cleland Theatre in 2011.

John Reynolds and George Millar of the Irish Rovers at the Cleland Theatre in 2011.

The last time the  Irish Rovers played Penticton,  tickets for the Cleland Theatre performance sold out faster than anyone expected.

That was in 2011. For their next visit, on March 7, 2015 they’re better prepared for an enthusiastic Penticton response.

“The last time they played Penticton, the show sold out in a flash but we didn’t have a spare day to add the second show. This time we do. If this show sells out quickly, we’ll add a second,” said Jennifer Fahrni, the band’s PR manager.

This time around, she said, the show will be bigger and better, with all the players from the band’s recent recordings, which include some of Ireland’s top players.

It may also be the last chance to see the Rovers in person. After 50 years of entertaining, the band is finally thinking of hanging up their travelling shoes.

“This may be the last time touring in Canada as we’re saying farewell to the Rovin’,” said Fahrni.

The 50th anniversary tour celebrates those five decades of music and fun, along with the release of a triple CD set, The Irish Rovers, 50 Years, which will be available at the concert. The tour has already been selling out at stops along the way and getting great reviews with their mix of hits, rollicking jigs and reels, plus stories from their years on the road.

Having a good time is what it’s all about, said George Millar during the Irish Rovers last visit to Penticton, a founding member of the band and still their principal songwriter, Millar said there is no special message on the Rovers’ stage, other than life’s a bit short, so let’s enjoy our two hours together.

The band was founded in Toronto but first became known on American TV in the 60s. As guests on The Tonight Show, The Smothers Brothers Show, Mike Douglas Show, The Virginian, The Dating Game (Millar actually won the date), they gained experience before hosting their first of three television series The Irish Rovers Show in the 70’s. At that time, fans enjoyed their early hits like  Black Velvet Band, The Unicorn, Whisky on a Sunday and Wasn’t That A Party.

Tickets are on sale now for the Penticton concert at the Cleland Theatre.