Thursday, June 09, 2016

Damien Rice Live in Singapore

Wow, I'm still in a state of disbelief. Last weekend, I got to watch one of my all-time favorite musical idols, Damien Rice, perform live in Singapore. To say that I am overjoyed that I saw this supremely talented Irish singer-songwriter in concert is a huge understatement.

It seems like I was really destined to see this show. A few months ago, I decided to travel to Singapore to meet up with friends whom I haven't seen in a while and also to buy new cameras (more on this later). After I finalized my travel plans and purchased my flight, I messaged one of my friends and asked him when he was free to meet up. He then told me that my trip coincided with Damien's concert - he was a fan and he knew I was too - and asked me if I was interested to watch. I immediately said yes. He helped sort out tickets for me and the rest is history.

This show was a fantastic treat for his fans as it showcased everything we love about him and his music. He played music from his studio albums O and 9 as well as from his latest album My Favourite Faded Fantasy. He even tossed in a song from his EP/compilation album B-sides. Check out his setlist here. His voice was raw and emotional and soft and powerful. It helps too that he has an incredible range and amazing control, and I think he sounds even better live than on the recordings. His guitar-playing was expressive, explosive and exquisite, and it took the whole audience along a mesmerizing journey through heartbreak and hope.

I don't know what it is about sad music that I find so compelling but this is precisely why I am such a fan. Damien's songs are steeped in pain, melancholy and anguish and hearing him perform them live just made me love them even more. Many times during the concert, he would slowly build a song up into a dizzying and impassioned crescendo - often accompanied by a dramatic light show - before suddenly snapping it back into a poignant stillness, making the storytelling just that much more effective. I'm a huge sucker for that and I loved every single minute of it.

What made this concert even more special was that he performed alone on stage. He did have light, sound and equipment technicians and a crew that made sure things went along smoothly, but Damien was a one-man band that night. No other musicians, no back-up singers. To add volume and layers to his sound, he made use of a looper pedal, allowing him to back himself up. I had never been to a performance like this before and as my friend said after the show, it was a masterclass in solo performance.

Some of my favorite moments that evening: when Damien got the entire audience to sing in harmony and perform back-up for him during Volcano (I was in the section that sang "volcanoes melt you down..."), when he asked everyone to go to the front of the Star Theatre during the encore (I ended up being right up at the edge of the stage and Damien was standing practically within arms reach), and when he ended the evening with two of my favorite songs of his - Rootless Tree and The Blower's Daughter. Here is a video I took of him performing what is one of his most popular and beloved songs (the video is missing the first two lines of the song):

I was so blown away by the concert and the experience that I was practically speechless for several minutes afterwards and I couldn't wipe the big smile off my face. It was an intense and emotionally charged evening and even now, days later, I still feel ecstatic. Damien Rice is a truly amazing and immensely talented singer, songwriter, musician and performing artist. I will surely keep an eye out for any concerts he may have in Southeast Asia in the near future because I absolutely want to see him perform live again.

1 comment:

terence.L said...

I fucking know right. The concept of this tour is perfect, this is exactly what his true fan wanted. no any other, just HIM and his voice. and it turned out more than amazing.

He is really second to none kind of singer. It's a shame no Malaysia organisers appreciate him to held a concert here.