Damien Rice at the Opera House on May 22

A review of Damien Rice at the Opera House on May 22, 2007

, Editor-in-Chief

Irish troubadour Damien Rice shined brightly at the Opera House on Tuesday night with a repertoire of passionate tunes of melancholy and hopeless love to the delight of his faithful Boston audience.

The County Kildare native opened with the building anthem of “Volcano.” Rice’s set was a great sampling of his catalog with selections split from his debut, O, and his most recent release, 9, as well as a handful of b-sides. “Me, My Yoke, and I” highlighted his booming vocal abilities that ranged from gentle harmonies to passionate screams throughout the evening.

The stage setting fit the performer perfectly. Candles adorned the modest stage with a simple backdrop and ambient lighting that grew with each crescendo, providing a powerful and dramatic experience.

Rice was quiet for the opening minutes of the set, only saying a simple “Thank You” after the third song. However, as the night progressed he became much more talkative, providing whimsical tales and introductions to the meanings of many of his tunes. One of the interesting aspects of Rice is his ability to be so frank in his songwriting with sexually taboo lines in songs such as “Woman Like A Man” and “The Professor & La Fille Danse” (both b-sides, with the latter having the Irishman sings a few lines in French).

“Coconut Skins” was one of the best moments of the night. Rice and his band shined rhythmically as each member took a moment to participate in percussionist jam/duel. Rice closed out the main set with a completely acoustic rendition of fan favorite “Cannonball” that ringed beautifully in the acoustically superior venue.

He returned for an encore of “Delicate” and “The Blower’s Daughter.” Rice ended the night with a comedic rendition of “Cheer’s Darlin.” It was more similar to a scene out of a movie as Rice drank from a glass of wine while intentionally slurring his vocals at various moments before stumbling off stage.

Much has been said about the departure of his musical partner Lisa Hannigan, who is working on her own material in Ireland. While her beautiful accompanying vocals were missed, it also allowed Rice’s skill to rise with a renewed passion. Rice also used a good amount of technical vocal effects throughout his set, but almost all were well timed and added to the harmony of his band.

Before leaving the stage, Rice informed the crowd he would be back in September, though no official dates have been announced yet. There were rumors he would perform at the revamped Irish Connections Festival in August but it appears that those plans have fallen through.

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