Kelly Family proves to be alive and kicking

At first glance, there is hardly anything Irish about the Irish pop rock-folk band The Kelly Family. Despite the presentation as an Irish-American band, only Michael Kelly was born in Dublin. And it is precisely he that has not been with the family band for years but has its hands full with its solo career. Patricia, Joey, Kathy, Jimmy, John, Angelo and after a long absence also Paul Kelly, all born in the United States and Spain, lived in Spain when they started their career, were signed on a German label and moved to the Netherlands, living in Amsterdam and Volendam for a few years. How Irish, for the Kelly Family who now almost all live in Germany.

At the start of the concert in Ahoy Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where the band performed, it immediately became clear that The Kelly Family was not at all such an old-fashioned family folk band, most people who did not know The Kelly Family, would have thought. From behind a stage-filling canvas, Joey Kelly made the crowd came to scream like he was an accomplished hard rock guitarist. Head-banging with his long fluttering hair, he soloed his rock, with his silhouette clearly projected onto the canvas. Completion is only logical, given that the 47-year-old, like the rest of the family, grew up with music and played and performed from an early age.

The Kelly Family started out as street musicians in the late 1960s and early 1970s. When they were discovered in 1974, the nameless band was called The Kelly Kids, and now, 45 years later, the band is still there, now mainly consisting of the children of Dan and Barbara Kelly. And not only the children, as became clear later this evening. Probably especially for cousin Michael from the United States, who came over with his family especially for the show. And for the beautiful Netherlands, as the band repeatedly recalled in the show.

In the first part of the program, the group performed the successful album “Over The Hump” in full. Including for example also the beautiful song of “Santa Maria”, which was rarely played on stage before the start of this tour and “Once in a While”, which is on the setlist for the first time. This after 25 years, because “Over The Hump” was released so long ago. With around 3 million copies sold, in a series of now 16 studio albums. It turned out that the album was still far from being dated and a complete Ahoy-venue sang along the songs note by note, much to the delight of the Kelly’s.

In the second part of the program, the group presented an anthology of their extensive career. But without John Kelly, who apologized at the end of the first part that he had to catch his plane. This is due to his participation in the German version of “Let’s Dance”, in which Maite Kelly also participated some years ago. As a result, one of the biggest public favorites, sung by him, “El Camino”, was not sung. However, the lovely next generation Kelly, Lillian Kelly, daughter of Joey, which we were allowed to see briefly in the first set during “The Wolf”, performed as a replacement. Not always accurate, but be honest, the girl is only 13 years old. Lillian, not the first of Joey’s children to perform on stage with the family group, proved that The Kelly Family is not close to extinct musically. Together with the children of Patricia, Angelo, and Kathy, among others, the children of Joey are taking care of the next generation of Kelly’s, who are ready to take over from their parents.

The entire stage was used well during the show. Not only by the Kelly’s, but also by the extensive group of additional musicians who accompanied the family. It is doubtful whether there were too few musical Kelly’s, so let’s focus on the chosen class. Class that is certainly also present in the family itself, given the extremely spectacular drum solo that Angelo performed in the second part. He and his brother Joey would certainly not be out of place in one of the many hard rock bands that Germany hosts, although both will remain loyal to the Kelly Family. Fortunately, because where the ignorant will continue to jokingly classify the group as weird street musicians, The Kelly Family proved to those who came to see the band that they had long cast off this yoke.

Then after a long show, in which several members spoke a word of Dutch every now and then, an end came, an encore had to and would come. “I Can’t Help Myself”, “Fell In Love With An Alien” and finally the beautiful and autobiographical “We Had A Dream” made it clear that the band was not nearly finished with the Netherlands. And the Dutch not with The Kelly Family. Is the Kelly Family boring? Not in the slightest moment!

Photos (c) Marcel Hakvoort

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