It was the concert of one of my current favourite artists. The concert I was looking forward to for a while and for those keeping score at home, the concert I insulted Neil Finn for.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. Damien is an amazing singer/songwriter but I gotta say, after seeing James Taylor a few weeks earlier I couldn’t help but get picky with Damo.
My first criticism relates to playing to your strengths. Damien Rice’s success is mainly due to his quiet acoustic playing and his great voice and lyrics. His best songs are the ones where it’s just him, his guitar and his voice. Unfortunately Damien obviously likes to think of himself as a bit of a rocker. Alot of the songs he chose to sing were full band numbers covered in guitar effects and feedback. They were still good fun for the most part, it’s just that when he did strip back and sing his ballads alone on guitar or piano, they easily outshone his attempts to “Rock”.
Second issue I had: I think Damien just got a new voice effect toy for Christmas. This effect that he switched on and off all night made his voice sound scratchy, like an old radio broadcast. At first it was interesting but after a while it became simply annoying as we all just wanted to hear his lyrics clearly instead of heavily muffled and dripping in feedback. I’m all for experimenting with new sounds, but it was clear the crowd was into it.
Final issue: Damien, mate…old pal…dude…we paid 60 odd American dollars for your concert and we know you only had 2 hours on stage. Why did you decide to play extended jams on EVERY damn song that night? I love a good jam session, but when you play the exact same thing for over 15 minutes, it gets kinda dull for the listener. This aint the Grateful Dead my friend. I’m sure you were having a blast, but you obviously thought you were back in the garage at home and forgot we were there listening. When you told the crowd that you are in the mood to jam tonight, did you notice that the reaction was a bit sombre? We didn’t come to watch a jam mate. No offense buddy. Don’t hate me, I’m just giving it to you straight ok?
I’m gonna forgive Damien Rice for his shortcomings that night because when he was good, he was INCREDIBLY good. I enjoyed the show, but I could see that with a bit of tweaking and a little less self-indulgence, it could have been absolute magic. I still love ya bud.
– Posted By Adam