Culture

Review: Passenger 25/1/17

2 February 2017


In the last week of January, thousands came together to see Passenger perform his one and only Melbourne show at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. The weather was on its best behaviour for the outdoor event, and the grounds were covered by those of all ages and backgrounds. Kids were rolling down the hill while the adults skipped to the bar.

Opening the concert were The Paper Kites, who got the crowd singing along and even more excited for the main act. However, the roar of the crowd when Passenger donned the stage was unmistakable, as he began playing “some new songs, old songs and some middle songs”.

Parts of the concert were performed alongside his band, while others were just Passenger’s unique voice with his guitar; a humble reflection of his beginnings as a busker, as well as a brilliant showcase of his vocal abilities.

‘Let Her Go’ was a popular song among the crowd, despite Passenger explaining that new fans are often disappointed as they anticipate ‘Let It Go’ from Disney’s Frozen.

A personal highlight of the concert was Passenger’s comedic nature. Perhaps emphasised by his thick accent, he had us laughing throughout with his random cursing and funny stories about his busking days. I Hate was a crowd favourite, with Passenger explaining “if you don’t sing along you’re a racist” (which is understandable to those who know the song).

Never before have I witnessed a crowd – especially of this size – be completely silent at a music event. However, as Passenger told the story behind one of his heartbreaking songs, ‘Travelling Alone’, which he then performed, the crowd was absolutely silenced. It was wonderful to see the respect the audience had for the meaning of the piece and for the artist himself. As I looked around I saw the odd tear rolling down cheeks in the crowd, which shows how powerful it was to those in his company.

‘Twenty Seven’, ‘Life’s For The Living’, and covers including ‘The Sound of Silence’ were popular among the crowd.

‘Scare away the dark’ was appropriately introduced, as he eloquently explained that “2016 was a complete and utter clusterfuck”, and that if we come together and look out for each other we can scare away the darkness in the world. This was particularly relevant following recent tragedies in the Melbourne CBD, and the crowd sang with enthusiasm which was indescribable. Even when he had left the stage, the crowd continued singing the chorus repetitively, which echoed throughout the venue – it was something which truly needed to be seen and heard to be believed.

Passenger returned to play two songs, ending with ‘Holes’, leaving everyone up on their feet singing to his classic original piece.

If you have the opportunity to see Passenger perform, I would highly recommend it not only for his incredible musical presence, but for the atmosphere of his concert and his comedic personality.

If you have the opportunity to see Passenger perform, I would highly recommend it not only for his incredible musical presence, but for the atmosphere of his concert and his comedic personality.