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40 years at the top Daniel ​reveals his favourite concerts as he looks back over his illustrious career

Looking back today he says that he’s particularly proud of three spectacular shows

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The Rock 'n' Roll show is among the performances that Daniel is most proud of

The Rock 'n' Roll show is among the performances that Daniel is most proud of

The Rock 'n' Roll show is among the performances that Daniel is most proud of

DANIEL has achieved many ambitions in his 40-year career, and looking back today he says that he’s particularly proud of three spectacular shows that he had the opportunity to stage.

The Rock ’n’ Roll Show, Songs of Faith and The Christmas Show were major productions by Daniel that won him both critical acclaim and were a massive hit with his fans

“The repertoire that I have is all interlinked, but it’s quite broad. To be able to make it so broad and still hold on to a wide audience is great,” Daniel says.

“It’s also so great today to be able to look back at my career and see the shows that I had the privilege of doing.

“I looked at the Rock ’n’ Roll Show recently and was reminded of what a fantastic show it was. I had a great team around me to bring it to life.”

The Rock ’n’ Roll Show was Daniel O’Donnell as fans had never seen him before, in an all-singing, all-dancing Las Vegas-style production. And the audiences went wild with excitement.

Devised, created and performed by Daniel, who was backed by a troupe of dancers and musicians, audiences were taken by surprise when they saw the size of the show, with its variety of sets providing a backdrop to the action, and props that included a Cadillac on stage.

It was a high-energy show with Daniel singing non-stop classic songs from his three rock ’n’ roll albums, Daniel In Blue Jeans, The Jukebox Years and Teenage Dreams.

The rock ’n’ roll musical included hits such as All Shook Up, Come On Baby Let’s Do The Twist, Blue Suede Shoes and C’mon Over To My Place.

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Daniel O'Donnell performed the Songs of Faith concert with Mary Duff

Daniel O'Donnell performed the Songs of Faith concert with Mary Duff

Daniel O'Donnell performed the Songs of Faith concert with Mary Duff

It also featured his former touring partner, Mary Duff, who played a major role in Daniel’s career from 1987 until 2019, when she decided to take a step back and do solo projects.

Daniel says they were always a perfect match as singers and performers. “From the very start, Mary and I gelled instantly and our voices blended so well together. Mary is a great friend who contributed so much to my shows and I was sad to see her leave after 32 years.”

Top Irish choreographer Joan Kenny, a daughter of the late legendary stage school queen Billie Barry, worked with Daniel on his rock ’n’ roll extravaganza.

Joan told me at the time: “It has been incredibly easy working with Daniel because he’s got a great brain. He picked up stuff very quickly and he’s a natural as a dancer.

“I can’t take too much credit for Daniel’s performance because he has a natural sense of movement, and when I gave him steps he quickly adapted them to his style.

“As any entertainer will tell you, it’s very difficult to sing live and dance at the same time. So it’s a great credit to Daniel, his ability and his professionalism that he carries it off to perfection.”

Daniel said: “I had a vision of what the stage would look like, how the show would start and what would happen within the show. There is nothing in that show that I wanted and didn’t get. People said to me that it was like a West End experience and that’s what I wanted to achieve for audiences.”

Another show of which he’s immensely proud is the Songs of Faith concert, which was filmed at The Helix, Dublin, in 2003.

The inspirational show, which also features Mary Duff, has a repertoire of multi-denominational hymns and up-tempo gospel and pop songs.

Daniel is backed by the magnificent 70-voice Irish Philharmonic Choir, a 65-piece orchestra, and superb gospel group The Omega Singers.

The other stand-out masterpiece from Daniel’s career is his Christmas special recorded at The Convention Centre in Dublin.

This was like a Broadway-style production with festive sets, dazzling costumes, singing by the fireside and lots of dialogue linking the songs and stories.

Like a ringmaster, Daniel effortlessly weaved his way through the performance with stories and songs that brought the show to life like a movie.

The heart-warming production had a full cast that included Mary Duff, children from the Billie Barry Stage School and the Rathdowney Choir.

It also featured special guests, The Presentation Choir from Kilkenny, and their choral director Veronica McCarron, who were fresh off Britain’s Got Talent.

“Doing that Christmas show at the Convention Centre a couple of years ago was like a fairytale to me,” Daniel says today.

“Even though it was late in my career, to be still able to achieve things that you want, such as that Christmas special, is such a privilege.”

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