Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Damien Rice ...

Tonight was the long-anticipated Damien Rice show at The Vic, the second of two sold-out shows.

Kelley turned me onto Damien's music this year. I adore him. I wonder how he managed to elude me all these years.

Word had it that Damien runs a tight concert. People don't talk or mill about. People sit in their seats and listen. Kelley and I sat on a banquette, not folding chairs. A lovely bit of luck.

The Swell Season was the opening act, which is really Glen Hansard of The Frames and a woman whose name I don't remember. Glen is good friends with Mike, who is good friends with Jay, who is good friends with me. So there was a chance - a slight chance - that Jay'd be able to get Kelley back stage to meet Damien.

No luck on that front.

But you can't miss what you never had. (Or can you?)

A Sun-Times critic really slammed Damien in a review of last night's show. Tonight, Damien said that he was in a weird mood last night. Maybe that accounted for some of the reviewed weirdness. But tonight was decidedly unweird. Tonight was fabulous. He played lots of songs I knew (even though I don't have his second album and so don't know the songs on it) and they sounded great, like the album cuts, mostly, which is what I hope for. I don't want to hear some crazy avant-garde experiments standing in for the songs I know.

But hands down, the most spectacular moment of the evening came toward the end of the show when Damien stepped to the front of the stage and sang "The Blower's Daughter" without his mic. It's a beautiful song that starts out very simply and softly with only his guitar, then a cello comes in underneath him and it starts to build. I was captivated. The entire audience was dead silent. It was the most intimate concert moment I've ever experienced. Exceptional.

As for Glen, who joined Damien onstage for the last tune, he's a trip. He prefaced a song during his set with, "This is a song about a three-legged dog with cancer on a boat that's sinking. I'm an optimist!" And he told the story of the song that he wrote lying down, drunk, in a field, and started to sing it, then stopped short and positioned his mic near the floor, saying, "The only way to sing this song is lying down." So he did. He kept his ankles crossed.

Jay and Mike should be out with Glen right about now. I just texted Jay, "Havin fun?" We'll see if he replies.

In the meantime, if you don't know Damien Rice and/or The Frames, do yourself a favor.


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