Last night, I experienced the special, most inspiring honor, of seeing and hearing Damien Rice perform again, in person. This is a gift I will gratefully accept, whenever given the opportunity. He stood alone, with his acoustic guitar and piano, in a beautiful, dimly lit, intimate church in downtown Los Angeles. I sat and took in every single second of the evening, his presence and his profoundly expressive and emotional music.
I intensely connect with my being and all that awakens and inspires me, through music. I always have. When I came to the realization at a very young age that I was misunderstood and the possibility of anyone getting me seemed hopeless, I discovered my love and need for music and writing. When I witness someone sincerely and wholeheartedly communicating and expressing themselves through their chosen medium, I am affected in ways I wish I could explain. Damien Rice has always been such a powerful catalyst in provoking my introspection and penetrating sequestered places within my spirit.
I’ve longed to play piano my whole life. I remember buying myself a keyboard, in my first apartment, teaching myself, ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables, so many years ago. I loved that show, the music, that song; so much. I needed to be closer to the feelings it inspired, and I insisted on learning so I could somehow express what needed to get out. I am now learning and playing daily with my son. The sound of music in our home enlivens my soul and reminds me that it is never too late to fulfill a desire. We should never be too busy to actualize something we truly enjoy. Something which fulfills us and expands the limitations we set upon ourselves and the boundaries we consciously or unconsciously stand behind.
Many things came up for me last night as I experienced the compelling force that is, Damien Rice. His lyrics are so raw, so poignant and so revealing. Each word, each strum of the guitar, each and every touch on the keys of the piano consumed me.
In each word and each shift of the inflection in his voice, I felt his essence, his pain, his warmth, his sincerity, his yearning. It is through that expressiveness that I am able to look deeper within myself and allow for discovery and clarity through the unravelment.
His willingness and ability to expose his heart and vulnerability genuinely touches and moves me. He appears to be comfortable in his skin and he speaks his truth through his music. Intensely. Openly. Lustfully. He isn’t trying to fit in or be anyone other than himself and his authenticity consoles me.
I felt pure love in that space. I gazed at him and the faces of all those enraptured and I felt connected and united and infinite. All at once.
We were sitting in the center, just a few rows from the front, and there was a young man who would occasionally stand up in the aisle and dance his heart out. I truly felt the overwhelming fervor flowing through him, which prompted him to jump up without inhibition, without self-consciousness, and with the spirited and fearless courage to do what felt wonderful and necessary. For him. In that moment. His physical expression from the intensity of the music was a manifestation of what I knew everyone else was feeling inside. He was free and I so enjoyed being an observer.
During the show, I was reminded how thankful I am to be raising my boys with the encouragement and support to express themselves authentically and without suppression or inhibition. It reminded me to live my life fully and to believe I am capable of all I wish for. I am deserving. I am enough. It also reminded me not to allow others’ thoughts, opinions, and judgments to hold me back. Ever.
During the last song, Damien asked people to come up and join him in singing Volcano as a group. I watched everyone quickly approach the stage and I wanted to go also but hesitated. A few seconds later, I stepped up a little closer and took in the united and powerful energy created in those moments. It was awe-inspiring.
When the song ended and the lights came on, I was standing next to who I believed was the dancing man. I looked at him and asked if he was the guy dancing in the aisle. His face was filled with fear and what seemed like embarrassment for a moment. He bashfully and hesitantly said, “Yes.” I replied, “You’re awesome.” He wasn’t sure if I was making fun of him at first but I know he wanted to believe I was sincere. He said that everyone was telling him to sit down and they were laughing at him. I told him that he moved me and powerfully contributed to the show and my experience. I told him to continue dancing and not to ever let anyone take that away from him. He gave me a long and tight hug and thanked me.
It was a special moment. I saw in him what I see in so many of us. Fortunately for him, he hasn’t allowed others’ opinions to stop him. Thankfully, the overwhelming need and strong desire to feel that music through dance were stronger than the fear of what others were thinking and whispering. I completely respect full self-expression.
I’ve also always related to the sadness, longing, and depth of soul-searching many musicians I’ve known, possess. As I listen to my husband play his guitar and compose beautiful and meaningful songs, I feel so fortunate to be a witness to his creativity and articulation. He is teaching our four-year-old son to play. The passion and appreciation for music around here uplift me each day.
Thank you, Damien Rice for touching me deeply with your beautiful gift and for having the courage to stand before others with an open, passionate heart and an honest soul. Rootless Tree is one of my very favorite songs ever. I always feel every single emotion conveyed through your delivery. The fact that you ended it with ‘I Love You’ last night, took my breath away.
We all want to be heard and understood. Through your music, I hear you. Through your voice, I hear my own and I thank you.
One day soon, we will see you again and we will gratefully and warmly revel in your transcendent performance and gracious presence.
I’d like to share one of my favorite versions of one of my very favorite songs.
“Music once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.”Edward Bulwer-Lytton