Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Damien Rice Gig Review (Hammersmith, London 28 March 2007)


Why is it that the things you look forward to the most are often the most disappointing? The older I get the more I think you should keep your expectations low. That way when something IS good there's greater potential to be pleasantly surprised.

Take New Year's Eve for example. When I was younger I always used to really look forward to NYE but I can count the number of truely great NYEs I've had on the fingers of one hand. In fact, on the fingernail of one finger. On the other hand you can go to a totally random party in the middle of the year where you don't know anyone and you're expecting to have a terrible time and it turns out to be one of the best parties you've ever been to.

I'm waffling of course but what I'm trying to say is that the Damien Rice gig last night was a bit of a disappointment.

Three reasons why I was looking forward to the gig:

1) I LOVED his first album and the B-sides album (although I thought the second album '9 Songs' wasn't as strong)
2) I'd seen footage of one of his gigs on Channel 4 and it looked amazing
3) Two of the people I went to went to the gig with had been at one of his gigs 2 years ago and raved about it

Three reasons why this gig was disappointing:

1) No Lisa Hannigan. Despite Damien's attempts to fill in her parts it just felt like there was something missing. Lisa was missing and that robbed some of the songs of their beauty and balance.
2) Some of the songs turned into overblown w*** fests. By that I mean DR totally overindulged himself musically and a four minute song inflated into a ten minute noise explosion. DR may have found it rewarding but most of the audience were left perplexed (and waiting for the next song)
3) There are some gigs you go to where you feel like you're watching musical magic. Last year, for example, I went to see Tracy Chapman (I've been a big fan since I was 13) and when she played 'Fast Car' it was like every hair on my body was standing on end. It was sublime. When Eddie Vedder sang 'Alive' at Reading I felt waves of energy and emotion rush through the crowd. Admittedly here were moments in the DR gig that blew me away with the raw intensity and anger (such as 'Woman Like a Man') but there were no real moments of unashamed beauty despite DR playing an unplugged version of Cannonball right at the end.

Don't get me wrong - it wasn't awful or a bad gig by any means but I'd expected too much and when the music doesn't distract you from how sore your feet are or how much your back is aching (we were standing) something is wrong.
Photo copyright Damien Rice (probably).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

photo copyright of Robbie Fry actually...I've seen Damien play 14 times and its been amazing everytime just because of his energy on stage..I've only been to smaller more intimate gigs, maybe that's why? I dunno