DISTANCED DAN 'When we get back to doing shows we're not going to be out there hugging and greeting everybody,' says Daniel O'Donnell
Fans will miss out getting up close and personal
Daniel O'Donnell has told how he fears he'll no longer be able to get up close and personal with his devoted fans in life after Covid-19.
The Irish superstar is famous for spending hours doing meet and greets with his adoring followers after his concerts.
But, in a wide-ranging interview, Daniel, who will be 40 years in showbusiness next January, tells the Sunday World: "I don't know when I will ever return to that kind of contact. When we get back to doing shows we'll still have to be very aware we're not going to be out there hugging and greeting everybody who comes to the shows.
"The contact with the audience is something I will miss. I have always enjoyed meeting them and getting to know them and hearing their stories.
"To get back to being on stage and seeing an audience in the theatre sitting there side by side in front of me would be a great start. If we can get back there, not having close contact with them for a while will be okay with me."
The 58-year-old crooner, who is set to release a self-titled new album on October 16 and perform a pay-per-view live concert online on November 1, also reveals that he's currently quarantining alone at his rural home in Donegal following a business trip to Tenerife.
"Majella is staying with her mother in Dungloe for the moment," Daniel tells me. "The rule is that you have to isolate for 14 days, so I have another week to go."
How is the cooking going? "Oh it's no bother, sure I just read the instructions on the packets. Jamie Oliver has nothing to worry about," he laughs.
"I then intend to go to the UK to promote my new album, and when I come back I will quarantine for another 14 days. "
However, Daniel says that, like all grandparents, Majella and himself have been missing the contact with their beloved young grandkids, Olivia and Archie, and he fears that there will be no traditional family Christmas.
"It's hard for children to understand why they can't come to us. Olivia, who is only five, said to me, 'Gaga, when the sickness is over you can come and stay with us.' She calls it 'the sickness' because that's what she's been told it is.
"We don't know what Christmas is going to be like this year. I can't see the restrictions being relaxed because the virus doesn't take a holiday."
However, the iconic entertainer acknowledges that his life in lockdown with Majella at their Donegal home, which was famously given a spectacular makeover by celebrity architect Dermot Bannon, has been enjoyable.
"We're very fortunate because of where we live," Daniel says. "We're in the country, we have plenty of scope around the house, and we have a good big garden. We set flowers and took away gorse bushes that were smothering everything, and we ended up with a forest of wild flowers.
"So we passed the time fine and we spent a lot of time doing things we probably would never have done. The good weather was a benefit early on when we were in the severe lockdown.
"We weren't badly off, other than the fact that I couldn't do concerts. But I did do regular performances on Facebook Live from the house."
Daniel's band and crew haven't had any work since the entertainment scene was shut down in March, so on November 1 the singer will perform his first ever pay-per-view live-streamed show, featuring two hours of his best-loved songs, from the Millennium Forum in Derry.
"All profits after expenses will go to the band and crew," Daniel says. "I'd love it to be a great payday for them because this is such a tough time for people in the entertainment business. We were the first to close down and will probably be the last to open up again."
- Ticket reservations to watch Daniel's concert online on November 1 are now available to purchase for €20. Check www.danielodonnell.org