Way Too Many Thoughts About Damien Rice

Damien Rice

ATTENTION: This is a music post that is not about Matt Nathanson! Shocking, I KNOW.

No, today I write about another singer/songwriter who takes up a giant chunk of my heart: Damien Rice. I (along with everyone else, it seems) have been a fan of Damien’s for going on 10 years now. I never dove into his music like I did with Howie Day or Matt Nathanson, but he was always there… in the back of my heart and my mind… singing ‘Delicate’ and ‘Amie’ and ‘Elephant’ and ‘Volcano’ and so on and so on and so on.

With so much time passed since his last album (9 was released in 2006), my love for him settled into that comfortable, bittersweet love you get for things you loved that are gone. Clearly Canadian, Vienetta, Shinylicious lip gloss, and Damien Rice.

Around the first week of September, Damien Rice suddenly released a new track. I’m sure this wasn’t sudden to some people, but it certainly was to me. I was immediately obsessed.

Obsession became jubilation when he announced tour dates. Obsession to jubilation to frustration when I saw that he had booked ONE tour stop not on a coast.

The Chicago show became my new obsession. I thought about it constantly and enlisted Kelly and a music-loving co-worker to help me get tickets.

I should probably back up a bit here and explain that I… well, I’m a spoiled brat. Hello, only child/oldest grandchild. I get what I want 99.95% of the time and that percentage is generously low. So when tickets went on sale, I was nervous but deep down I assumed I would get them because, duh, I get stuff. I was (overly) devastated when I did not get tickets. When tickets went on sale to the general public (2 days after my birthday, OF COURSE I would get them this time!) and I didn’t get those, either… well, let’s not go into how I behaved.

In addition to throwing that big fat crybaby hissy fit, I adopted a kitten that night. Mostly (the kitten) filled my heart and my days and my bed (she’s a total bed hog), but she couldn’t fill the void left by not getting Damien Rice tickets.

It was like suddenly Damien Rice was all I could think about, but listening to his music just HURT. I wasn’t used to NOT getting what I wanted, and it physically hurt. I have a wonderful life full of wonderful people and wonderful pets and a wonderful job with wonderful co-workers but all I could think was that I DID NOT have Damien Rice tickets. (What a brat, right?)

Fast forward to Monday when I listened to a radio show interview Damien had done with BBC Radio and Damien announced a 2015 tour. I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought (still wounded from my last ticket attempts, ugh) until Tuesday morning (4amish because I don’t sleep), when I got the email with my pre-sale code. My pre-sale code for the pre-sale. My pre-sale code for the pre-sale that started LITERALLY 33 hours after the email was sent. You know, the appropriate amount of notice to come up with $200 for concert tickets.

Thankfully, my mom is the f’ing coolest and she told me she hadn’t bought my Christmas present yet so if (if if if if if) I could get tickets, she’d get them for me as the best Christmas present EVER.

I’ll spare you the ridiculousness of the pre-sale and suffice it to say that I GOT THE FREAKING TICKETS! Indianapolis went on sale first so I’m seeing Damien Rice in Indy! (On a Monday, but that’s fine.)

It feels completely surreal and I’m more in love with his music now than ever. I’ve already looked up past concert reviews and set lists, in case you were wondering how crazed I am. I’m hoping the excitement plateaus at some point. If not, I’ll absolutely have a Damien Rice lyric tattoo and/or an ulcer by April.

I leave you with this, in case you are reading this and not familiar with Damien Rice. Please, please, please get familiar.

“I wanna let go and know that I’ll be alright…”

I’ve been writing this in my head for nearly 48 hours but it’s still not coming out easily. All I can think is how seeing Matt Nathanson perform live is bittersweet. Sweet when you’re seeing him and so, so bitter when it’s done. I’m half-seriously contemplating moving to San Francisco JUST so I can see him perform live more. I know that sounds a bit over the top but… well, maybe I can try to explain.

Matt Nathanson at Festa Italiana - 07/20/13

Matt Nathanson at Festa Italiana – 07/20/13

The first 6 rows of the bleachers were blocked off for radio VIP winners, so we got the 7th row, directly behind the barricades. When the show started, the tallest guy in the joint stood in front of me (of course), so I chose to stand on the bleachers with everyone else around me. I was basically eye level with Matt straight in front of him. Now that I think of it, I probably should have felt awkward but I was all wrapped up in the moment so it never occurred to me.

That’s the thing I love best about live music (particularly Matt Nathanson) – it pulls me out of my own head and into a moment, which is something that ONLY happens for me in the presence of live music. It’s the ONLY time I feel comfortable and free. I feel like very spiritual people must feel when they go to church. I feel inspired and weightless and like this moment is the only thing in the world. The fact that I’m standing with some of my best friends… in the same space as Matt Nathanson and his talent and lyrics and banter and passion and truth… it’s all that matters. So when it ends, for a couple of days, I feel almost empty. Awkward and clumsy and heavy and back up in my own head all the time.

Thankfully, after a few days the post-concert blues go away and I’m just me again, but I still crave those few, fleeting moments at a live show when I’m just a PART of something bigger and everything makes sense.

If you’re reading this (thank you!), I hope it makes sense. If it doesn’t and I sound completely over-dramatic or pretentious, then I hope you find the thing that makes you feel this way… whether it’s running or hunting or knitting or skiing or deep sea diving.  If this does make sense to you, I hope something in your stomach or mind tugs when you read this and you think “Yeah, I know that feeling…”. And if so, I’d love to hear what makes you feel that way – leave me a comment!