Embarking on his first tour for over a decade, Damien Rice made a triumphant return to Manchester last night, playing to a sold out Apollo.
Support came from the fabulously talented Spanish singer/songwriter Silvia Perez Cruz, a Catalonian guitarist with a beautiful soulful voice, and the perfect opener for Rice, humble and incredibly excited to be supporting Rice on this comeback tour. Cruz interacted with the Manchester audience, despite the language barrier and gently encouraged all into a sing-along which no doubt amused and thoroughly entertained the audience.
Known primarily for his 2002 release ‘O’, Rice has since released two further albums, ‘9’ in 2006 and ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’ in 2014. The audience were treated to a mix of all three albums. You could hear a pin drop at times due to the delicate, gentle harmonies provided by just Rice, his acoustic guitar and two backing singers. Despite the large capacity venue, Rice made the whole affair feel intimate.
It has been nearly 14 years since his last release, and one does wonder what a successful, internationally world renowned solo singer has been doing with his time since. Rice has filled his days busking, and performing small gigs in Europe, as well as writing new material with his long time muse Lisa Hannigan, whom he worked with on ‘O’ and ‘9’. This new material did make an appearance deep into his set the first a yet unnamed track was well received, followed by two more titled ‘Song For Berta’ and ‘Astronaut’.
It would appear that by the release of new material, Rice is certainly making a comeback to the mainstream market. Appearing nervous, and hesitant at first which is understandable considering his lengthy break from the industry, Rice softened towards the end and started to open to the audience. His encore brought out the big guns, eagerly anticipated no doubt by longtime fans, the penultimate track ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ and the grande finale ‘Cannonball’ which caused a singalong raising the roof of the Apollo. Rice continues his UK tour this evening in London, before embarking on a number of international dates.
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