I definitely never thought this would happen. I mean Damien Rice is…it’d be pointless to go into all the great things about him because honestly it’d be difficult to say something bad about him. Something that always made him stand out to me is how he’s capable of utilizing his personal flaws and imperfections to create these amazing songs that are so distinctively his, it’s an eye-opening thing for a human being to see: a person showcasing troubles in their lives but making even the most mundane aspects of life seem beautiful…it’s just something that’s dumfounding if you try to wrap your mind around it. This is something that’s very particular of Damien Rice’s music and makes me (and I’m sure anyone who’s ever listened to him) wonder how anyone can be that honest and personable with themselves. We live life wearing many facades, sometimes to the point where we forget who the real ‘me’ is yet here is a guy armed only with his voice and a guitar exposing the barest form of himself as he possibly can, and not for ticket sales, accolades, or a new car but he does it because he needs to do it; his voice exposes that dire need to be expressive. So with that grew a strong desire to see him live, and over the years that desire has only grown stronger because how could it not? I needed to see how that honesty, that humanity, that powerful emotional output of Damien Rice….I needed to see how it would translate in a live setting, to see if it even could translate in a live setting.
My chance to experience him live came in the form of an unexpected show at The Box in the lower east side of Manhattan. Yes, after eight years away Damien Rice has returned to the world of music, armed with a new album that will undoubtedly become a touchstone for many as the years go on. I can honestly say that I’ve never in my life felt such passionate anticipation for a show, that aspect of the evening will stay with me for the rest of my life. Once we were inside the venue it was almost like an invisible, yet tangible sensation that swept across us all: the realization that what we were about to see tonight was going to be truly special. And once Damien Rice emerged onto the stage that feeling was proven to be more than accurate. I don’t know why his demeanor surprised me but it did. Here is a man that everyone, literally EVERYONE finds to be the pinnacle of perfection in terms of music yet he had the demeanor of a simple/modest man, shy even. There were moments where I could see that having a crowd in front of him perplexed him, and that the modest attentiveness that he was given only surprised him much more. But I also saw happiness on his aged face. I can’t recall an instance where I saw someone in physical form and just by a glance I could tell that they had been through a lot emotionally. But make no mistake, that didn’t make Rice appear weak at all, in fact it only made me respect him that much more: for him it was clearly important to present the most purest form of himself and he achieved that not just with his looks but with his incredible voice. Once he began playing his body looked as though life had re-entered it and you could see him utilizing that feeling throughout his set. The most beautiful thing about this show is that I could tell that Damien Rice needed to be on stage singing almost as much as his fans needed the opportunity to see him sing, and that contrast was a significantly beautiful thing to witness. Enjoy my photos from the show below.
Be sure to check out the video for Damien Rice’s latest single, I Don’t Want To Change You, which will be in his next album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, which comes out November 10th.
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