jakub | April 7, 2023

DAMIEN RICE, ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL, AT THE O2 APOLLO, MANCHESTER UK, 15TH MARCH 2023


 

 

WORDS AND IMAGES DESH KAPUR

 

I was beyond excited, I am heading into Manchester O2 Apollo to see Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice, for one of his only two live UK dates on this tour, how lucky am I?

Damien Rice rose to fame nationally and internationally with his debut album “O” back in 2002: he is independent to the core, releasing his records and touring on his own time scale.

When I arrive at the venue, which is sold out completely, touts are trying to buy and sell tickets and even at the exorbitant price they are quoting people are still buying them, I don’t condone this, but it is indicative of how special a Damien rice show is.

As I make my  way into the Apollo, I am greeted by a minimal stage setup, adorned only with two standing light, a handful of guitars, a piano and it was all seated, I have been to cover gigs at the Apollo on so many occasions, but never when it was all seated, it looked so different

The venue is full now and as the crowd eagerly await the man they have come to see, I hear excited murmurs all around me, “ what will the setlist be” I saw him on his last tour and he was amazing” I think you get the idea. And all the time the excitement was growing and you could almost taste it.

Then Damien takes the stage, armed only with his trusty acoustic guitar, the lights are dim and the crowd after the initial cheers, shouts and whistles have grown quiet, as a hush of anticipation settles in the venue, it sends shivers down my spine. The thing about Damien Rice is he has this art of making the biggest shows seem intimate, like he is only singing to you. Clothed in a beanie, slacks and loose fitting shirt, his dress code for tonight was as relaxed as he was. As one of my friends pointed out, he actually looked a bit like Moxy from the hit TV show, Auf Wiedersehen Pet,  I mean that most nicely. and if you know you know.

 

 

From the first notes of the first song, a brand new track called “I stepped Out In The Rain,” the  performance was electric. The Irish singer-songwriter, took the audience into the palm of his hand and gently held them there for the whole of the show. Wow, from start to finish of his performance he gave everything, laying it all bare. He is so immensely talented and the sound of those achingly beautiful acoustic guitar melodies fill the venue. As he strummed his guitars with so much love, power and rage, I am truly surprised he is not changing the strings after each song. Those beautiful haunting vocal tones are the kind that reaches deep into your soul and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. What a night, what an amazing performance, I am truly blown away.

The Highlights of the set for me were the mirror ball bouncing light all over the venue for “Astronaut,” the ever so tenderly brilliant “The Blowers Daughter,” and “Volcano.”  where Rice divided the audience into three sections, each one singing a different vocal track during “Volcano’s” finale. It sounded amazing and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end again. My favourite track was “Cannonball,” with the whole venue singing the chorus with him was very special.

Finishing the night to a much-deserved standing ovation, this is a show that will live long in my memory, thank you very much Damien Rice

 

 

SET LIST

1/ I stepped Out In The Rain

2/ Delicate

3/ Older Chests

4/ I Remember

5// Accidental Babies

6/ Coconut Skins

7/ Volcano

8/ Cold Water

9/ Amie

10/ 9 Crimes

11/ Astronaut

12/ The Professor & La Fille Danse

ENCORE

13/ Cheers Darlin

14/ The Blowers Daughter

15/ Cannonball

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOLLOW DAMIEN RICE

WEB SITE

 

 





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