The Kelly Family – comeback in Dortmund

The Kelly Family is back! The concert, the comeback of the singing family was announced as THE comeback of the year and it definitively wasn’t exaggerated.

It is absolutely THE comeback of the year. A huge four days party.

The comeback announcement

On 4th November 2016 news about a Kelly Family comeback were suddenly going around. I was just at a concert and at once got messages from various people, who know that I love the band. I of course was a little confused at first. But indeed there was a new facebook page, where it was confirmed with the announcement of a big concert at Dortmund Westfalenhalle. It’s where the family band made their break through over 20 years ago they wanted to perform together again after all these years.

Being a big Kelly Family fan since October 1995, I’ve been longing since the last tour, so about 10 years, like many others for this Moment. The band never broke up officially. After father Dan Kelly died in 2002, they backed out more. Each band member went its own way, started their own families and dedicated themselves to own projects.

Conflicts in a band can be sometimes difficult. Imagine how it must be in a big family band, where the Family members suddenly don’t agree and get along anymore privately… Who still followed the Kellys all the years, watched their doing and Events, knew that some siblings played concerts together again. Even some small tours were formed, where I sadly couldn’t take part. But now and then single family members mentioned that a getting together couldn’t be ruled out completely and especially in the last two years the hope for a comeback was growing.

And boom! There was the announcement of the concert. At least I haven’t been totally surprised. Though I hadn’t expected it yet at this time. After the first concert was sold out within shortest time, two more were added. According to the principle “we do it right or we don’t do it”, we bought tickets for all three Shows. That there was going to be a tour in 2018 wasn’t known yet. We wanted to take with us, what we could.

After tour announcement some sold their tickets again, because they wanted to go to a concert closer to them. On site tickets for only € 10 were sold so. It never was an issue for us. We had to take part at the comeback.

The band

Differently than hoped not all the siblings are taking part: Jimmy, Patricia, Angelo, Kathy, John, Paul and Joey are again back on stage together.

Especially the absence of Paddy is surprising, as he had mentioned on TV only about a year before, how much he was wishing for a comeback. Also the youngest female member, power woman Maite, isn’t taking Party. Both are successful in their solo Projects, do have own families and are concentrating on this now.

That Barby, who is suffering from a psychical illness won’t take part, should have been clear to everyone. Instead brother Paul, who has been touring with the family band mainly in the 70/80 and was back for some projects every now and then, is with them.

Of course we were thinking about, even a little worrying, if that might work this way. It was certain, that it won’t be like back then and so I tried to get this into my head. Not that I was going to be disappointed.

Off to Dortmund: journey and accommodation

The journey by train was quite pleasant. We have missed our connecting train in Cologne due to some delay, but even with many delayed and cancelled trains, the journey on went well. A possibility would also have been a flight to Düsseldorf, from where it would have taken about 45 mins to Dortmund then. But because we weren’t really saving a lot of time, we decided for the train. Just sitting down and off we went. On our home journey we even had a direct train from Dortmund to Zurich.

We spent the nights at Hotel Novum Excelsior, that obviously turned into a fan hotel during this Weekend. Many fans could be met there. And because BVB played against Bremen on Saturday, even football fans settled down at the hotel.

It was a superb hotel. It was only a 10min walk from the train Station, with a metro station and big Shopping street directly next to it. The taxi from Westfalenhalle to the hotel also was only about 12 Euro.

The main rehearsal

On Thursday evening after our arrival we actually only wanted to have a look at the arena. We had heard that already 2 days early the first fans have been standing in front of the arena. If that was true? So we went to have a look.

Indeed there were an incredible lot of people standing in front of the arena. Obviously an event took place. Until I remembered: Wait! Didn’t the club concert, for which Media Markt Germany has given away tickets, take place this evening? In Switzerland you couldn’t take part. But as we were there now, we just had to be part of somehow!

So we did was about 15-20 other fans did before us: We simply asked for some spare tickets. They told us first it wasn’t possible, but that we just should wait. So we were standing there for about an hour. Then, Media Markt our heroes: About 15min before the concert started they let the 15-20 people in after all.

The concert took place at Westfalenhalle 1, where the official concerts took place the upcoming days. It was the main rehearsal. Someone was mentioning about 1000 people – winners, friends, sponsors – that could take place. Us among them. We were allowed to choose our seats ourselves and so we sat down in the very front, sideward along the catwalk. These were FOS (front of stage) seats. But we were standing the whole concert.

I had met several members of the Kelly Family before, but concerning the concert of the whole family: My whole life I have never been as close as on this evening, this weekend. Even not every thing was working out yet and not all of the effects have been shown, we’ve been absolutely overwhelmed and could barley believe it:

The Kelly Family is back!
Our very favourite band is back again!

There was a total photo and filming ban. If you only wanted quickly to send a text message, the security woman immediately ran over. This was only for the rehearsal show though.  To the main concerts you could bring pocket cams and take photos.

We’ve been so bowled over it all, the next day we couldn’t even remember with what first song they had started the concert. Or generally the exact setlist. If I only would have had pen and paper with me… 😉

The fans

Latest in the morning of the first concert day the first fans started queuing. They arrived not only from all over Germany but from whole Europe: Switzerland, Austria, Poland, France, Portugal, Spain or from the Netherlands. They came from everywhere. Everyone from small children to grannies was there. Many also came with friends, they met years ago because of the band. The doors opened 2 hours before show start. Only on the first evening they were 30mins delayed.

Everywhere you found old and selfmade t-shirts, Kelly flags, selfmade posters and banners. The fans organised flash mobs in front of the arena. Bringing guitars some started Kelly songs and encouraged everyone to join in. As there was various press and TV stations around sure incited. There was even a SAT 1 reporter with blonde wig. The fans didn’t care too much or just rolled eyes. The interview with the Kellys he gave away with though. thihi.

The Kellys let their old tourbus that was standing at the techniques museum Speyer, put in front of the arena for the comeback weekend. Of course this was a super fan highlight and the centre and meeting point before and after the concerts.

Already before admission the atmosphere was fantastic. It was very quiet and peaceful, no hysteria. No comparison to back then. Even admission did pass quietly and pleasantly each time. You could see everyone became older. Yes, sure it was also because there were mainly seats and only a small part standing, but not only. You could feel the anticipation and enthusiasm. Especially in the first evening, but it went through the whole weekend.

Shortly before concert start the first fans also started to create good vibes in the arena and everyone went along: Mexican waves, cheering and signing, Kelly chanting lasting for minutes. Partly it continued from the middle of the 20min break on again. And during the concert then… you could sense and really feel: The fans have been waiting for this day, this weekend, all these years.

Especially on Saturday night the singing and partying continued after the concert with the press in front of the arena.

The concerts

Lights went off and the intro movie started. The Kellys told in it about the formation of their comeback. They were telling, how the siblings came together again and why they held the comeback concerts at Westfalenhalle  [Video here].

Like already 23 years before they started their comeback concert with “I Can’t Stop The Love”. We didn’t only get surprised by the additional musicians, who were standing on stage with them, but also the colourful, blinking LED wall on which “I can’t stop the love” kept flaring up big.


Suddenly 10 years younger again

The mind said “you are too old for fangirling”. But hey, latest with the second song “Why Why Why”, when suddenly huge fire fountains rocketed high, the audience really went wild, it switched off and you suddenly somehow felt 10-20 years younger again. It just had to be celebrated properly.

The Kellys are back! It felt like a dream. We had seen the show the day before though at the club concert, but this was with now about 10’000 spectators and even more effects a totally different feeling, a whole new level.

The Kelly Family played a great mix of all their hits. Well, logically only a fraction of it, as otherwise they would have played an 8 hour concert like Angelo mentioned Sunday afternoon in front of the arena.

With songs like Patricia’s “First time” it became quieter, goosebumps moments overcame us. But you got such goosebumps moments all evening long, whether in the heat of the fire fountains or with the beautiful sea of lights along the smooth tunes of the Kellys. Additionally the voices of the band members have matured over the years.

The fans still know each single word. Everyone started all the moves, clapping rhythms or shouting for all the songs automatically. They sang inbetween the lines and a huge choir sounded.

The Setlist

The complete setlist, with over 30 titles (!!), was during all three days like this:

  • Intro movie
  1. I Can’t Stop The Love
  2. Why Why Why
  3. First Time
  4. Imagine
  5. Because It’s Love
  6. Come Back To Me
  7. Red Shoes
  8. No Lies
  9. An Angel
  10. Loch Lomond (Scotish Traditional by Paul)
  11. When I Was In Town
    Accoustic Set:
  12. Hecho La Ronda / Ares Qui
  13. Une Familie c’est une chanson
  14. Swing Low
    -BREAK-
  15. When the boys come into town
  16. Nanana
  17. Keep On Singing
  18. Father’s Nose
  19. Please Don’t Go
  20. Drum solo
  21. Fell in love with an alien
  22. I can’t help myself
  23. The Wolf
  24. Cover The Road
  25. We Got Love
  26. Only our rivers run free
  27. O’Keefe’s (Irish slide)
  28. Wearing of the green
  29. Who’ll come with me
    ENCORE-
  30. Good Neighbour
  31. Take My Hand
  32. Brothers & Sisters
The Kelly-Feeling

During “Imagine” huge wormlike balloons fell from the ceiling and kept jumping through the audience. With Angelo’s “Because it’s love” a heart appeared on the LED wall. Also with “No lies” appeared a suitable graphic. Once live recordings were shown, then music videos of the songs or other pictures. Once flowers shaped confetti came down, for “Wearing of the green” we got a matching green confetti rain.


A lot was very new and unfamiliar. Kelly Family with pyro, balloons, a huge LED wall and all the confetti? No, we haven’t known this before. With it came a matching lightshow. Soon I had the thought: Uh, do they really need this? But latest with the second show we were already used to it and I was especially happy about the mega confetti rain. Still we weren’t less overwhelmed with the second and third concert.

Even all the worries have been in vain. Yes, a lot was new, but still everything remained the same. The feeling, this Kelly feeling was immediately there again. It felt like they’ve never been away. That Paddy and Maite have been missing, didn’t even really strike. As a long term fan you with the two of them back, but the band isn’t reliant on them being there at all. The seven siblings played a fantastic concert even without them. The singing parts simply were shared differently, whereby great new song versions arose.

„An Angel“, what of course couldn’t be missed, was a perfect example for. Everyone got his part. It was so beautiful how fans sang along and created a sea of lights. It felt fabulous to sing along to songs like “Fell in love with an alien”, “Cover the road” or “I can’t help myself” again.

During the whole concert some things out of the history of the Kelly Family was commented and they remembered the beginning of the family band with a wonderful acoustic set consisting old songs like “Hecho la ronda/Ares Qui”, “Une familie c’est une chanson” as well as swing low. The show was super variable.

And thereby Jimmy was quite standing out from all of it. He was totally celebrated by the fans. He got such an incredible voice, a fantastic stage presence and swept the audience totally away.

Highlights and emotions

My top 3 highlights of the concerts were

  • Angelo’s drum solo, wherefor he even got pulled up into the height and there was a firework in the end.

  • When the arena was trembling during Joey’s “The Wolf”.

  • The duet of Patricia and Jimmy for “Please Don’t Go”

Especially during the first evening the duet was so incredibly emotional, powerful and intense. On this evening not only the fans were totally overwhelmed to have their band back and to see them live on stage. Also the Kellys themselves were partly speechless and moved to tears due to the reactions of the fans and the whole atmosphere. It was when Patricia was crying in Jimmy’s arms whilst they were dancing at the front of the catwalk during the song.

Also Joey, Patricia and Jimmy have been dancing together during an instrumental Irish piece that was going ahead of “Wearing of the green”. It was super funny. They brought so much energy into the show.

Thanks Kellys

Throughout the concerts fans kept holding up thank you signs. I have read that a fan even has brought 5000 of these thank you sings to spread.

Besides the band received on the first evening gold by their record company for their new album “We Got Love” [have a look here]

It was beyond beautiful and absolutely terrific!

Many technical mistakes

Well ok, to be honest: Not all of it was exactly super terrific. Because there were actually quite a lot of technical mistakes during the four concerts. That there wasn’t everything working perfectly yet during the Media Markt concert, the main rehearsals, was comprehensible. That’s why they did the show. But especially during the first two official concert evenings there were quite many slip ups.

The sound often wasn’t that good and you sometimes heard the voices rather bad during loud songs. The recording of the father during “Who’ll come with me” you couldn’t hear on the first evening.

Only on the very last concert evening everything seemed to work out more or less smoothly. The sound was best then. The only bigger mishap was on that evening when Jimmy had to stop “We Got Love” and restart it again, because obviously they couldn’t hear each other and everything was totally out of timing. That wasn’t a big deal though.

Mistakes happen, but compared to the many artists and concerts I’ve seen so far, I felt like there were quite a lot. Especially as I noticed them.

Hopefully it will work out better on tour. But sure, in the end it was broadly ignored and most haven’t been very critical. The happiness about the return of the band was just bigger. I was wondering though, how what would work out with the DVD. They have filmed all the concerts for.

The Kellys very close

The Kellys seemed on this weekend as honest, genuine and close as probably never before. During the shows most band members kept running along the edge of the stage to give high fives. They were all so emotional and super grateful. At the concerts on Saturday and Sunday Angelo jumped into the audience after the last encore. Out of happiness and gratitude he hugged everyone crossing his way.

Joey had announced on facebook, that he wanted to go running again after the concert like back then. Who wanted to join him could wait at the bus after the concert. I guess there was some promo behind. But well, that there were going to wait 1000 people, seemed still to surprise him. In the end only a small group joined him to run a round on the concert area on the two evenings [me not by the way 😉 ]. In the first evening olympia winner Britta Heidemann started the run with him. His 16 years old sun Luke joined him too.

On Sunday afternoon we just arrived at the arena, when Angelo was filming a fan surprise. They gave her three tickets “because it’s TV” he laughed. Well, we guessed so 😉 Afterwards he started quickly “Once in a while” with the fans waiting in front of the bus.

The same evening John came outside to the bus after the concert, writing autographs and taking pictures with fans for over 2 hours. He promised, he won’t go before not everyone had a picture with him. He kept the promise.

Of course fans also have been waiting at the drive of the arena hoping to get a picture or an autograph with one of the Kellys or just get a glimpse on them. There actually were more than people standing at times. More than a wave whilst passing of course wasn’t possible so. But this was relatively harmless. Most fans behaved. Well, except of the few people, who obviously directly jumped into their cars to follow the Kellys. That definitively wasn’t nice!

Next year on tour

Since their comeback announcement lots of press and hater kept saying that they’d do it only out of commercial reasons, cos of the money. That they assuring an income this way, is clear. Even a Kelly can’t just live on love. Besides the music business changed a lot the last 10 years. You have to come up with something.

But wouldn’t the comeback and playing together be a heartfelt wish as well, I doubt that it could work like this. Not after everything that had happened. All these emotions, this feeling wouldn’t have been there like this on this weekend.

It was an amazing weekend. Absolutely overwhelming what was happening not only at the concerts but also around them. Super peaceful atmosphere. Huge euphoria, but no hysteria. Everyone was happy to have their band back.

Next year it will continue with an European tour! I can’t wait for the concert in Zurich and hope to be at 1-2 more shows. After we will see, if and how they’ll continue.

At which of the about 30 European shows will we meet you?

Infos about the Kelly Family you can find on www.kellyfamily.de.
Tickets for the Zurich concert you can find HERE at Ticketcorner.

more concert photos you can find here: Photo gallery: The Kelly Family in Dortmund
Videos are on my Youtube-Kanal

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