Diandra Şovăilescu takes in Passenger’s show at the Hammersmith Apollo.
It is rare that an artist manages to create a moment that transcends his craft. It is even more infrequent when that moment perfectly captures the various social, political and cultural trends of its day. What is truly remarkable is that Passenger not only produced such a moment – he narrated a two-hour long tale to such an exceptional soundtrack.
If there is one thing that makes Mike Rosenberg (aka Passenger) special, it is his ability to use music as a means of storytelling. As he beautifully put it while revealing the inspiration behind Traveling Alone, songs are meaningless if you don’t understand the story behind them. His music encompasses a wide range of human experiences, and encourages the audience to relate to the stories behind his lyrics. If there was a true purpose to assign to music, that would be the ability to communicate to both mind and soul. Through his insightful lyrics, Mike manages to not only convey romantic feelings such as love and deception, but also concepts like self-worth and authenticity, issues most of us struggle with at some point in our lives.
The adventure continued in the lively country tone of Anywhere, a beautiful and unexpectedly happy song about devotion and the power of boundless love. At this point, even those who had been quite disheartened by waiting two hours for his arrival – myself included – started singing, cheering, and dancing along. Passenger had us eyes-closed, lost in the moment.
What struck me was the way he instantly engaged with the audience, making the moments in between songs invaluable to the overall performance. His witty remarks and sometimes critical comments opened ground for another highlight of the evening: I Hate. Passenger intelligently adapted it to reflect disputed opinions on the recent Brexit and US election events, among others. London laughed and cheered.
In a self-deprecating joke, he admitted to being well aware of the fact that everybody mainly knew him by the famous love song Let Her Go. However, the concert was not merely one drawn-out build-up to that particular song. Instead, every moment had its own artistic culmination, from the joyous performances of Anywhere, 27, and I Hate to the solemn Beautiful Birds and Somebody’s Love lullabies, to the personal spin of his Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone cover.
The entire show was very well put together. Passenger had a great band by his side that made the experience intimate and unique. I expected a calm – or sad – ambiance, but was truly surprised by the slight difference between the songs I listened to in their original form and the ones I heard on stage. Perhaps the reason behind this was Mike’s smooth alternation between happy and sad songs. Either way, their first-hand experience definitely enhanced my understanding of Passenger – both the artist and the man.
Finally, my personal experience with the show was a very positive and pleasurable one. Being part of a varied audience of all ages and nationalities confirmed that Passenger is not only appreciated for his lyrics, but also for his artistic search of a deeper meaning in music.
Passenger will continue his Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea Tour around the world. Tickets can be found here.
Featured Image: Wikimedia