Damien Rice @ Massey Hall

Damien Rice
Massey Hall
May 18, 2007
With tunes as intense and often melancholy as those of Irish singer songwriter Damien Rice it's difficult to picture how the intensity will come off in a live show. Rice fans at Massey Hall this Friday were not disappointed as his passionate performance beautifully showcased his gently brilliant songwriting.

Switching throughout the night from delicate simplicity to epic intensity Rice started the performance off stepping onto a dim stage lit only by the soft glow of candles opening the show with "9 Lives" also the tune that opens his sophomore album 9. Easing into the song and the show, a soft spotlight slowly began to light up his lone figure on the piano.

He eased into the rest of his set slowly increasing the amount of light and the number of band members on stage, till tunes like "Amie", "Me My Yoke and I" and "Coconut Skins" reached intense highs.

Switching from piano to guitar and from a traditional to a distorted mic throughout the evening, Rice's set plucked songs from his debut album O, an unreleased tune called "Baby Sister" and the classic "Woman Like A Man" and about halfway through the set he even took a break to let cellist Vyvienne Long take lead vocals on the beautiful "Never Leave You".

Still it was the most stripped down tunes like "Accidental Babies" which had the artist solo on his piano and "Cannonball" which Rice performed on his acoustic guitar without amplification or the aid of a microphone but with the help of a quiet backing band that were the night's highlights.

Anyone who may have walked out before the encore missed out on a show unto itself as Rice ended with some cool tunes including "Unplayed Piano" "The Professor / La Fille Danse" , the latter of which was finished off, you guessed it, en Francais. He also saved his first single "The Blowers Daughter", that you may recognize from the film Closer for the encore.

He ended a night of beautiful music with a glass of wine in his hand for "Cheers Darling" metaphorically clinking glasses with the audience till his promised return this September.

Writer: Michelle Garcia

Photo:Michelle Garcia

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