Review: Passenger at Bournemouth 02 (12/11/14)


Passenger (a.k.a. Michael David Rosenberg) held an entire audience captive for his show at the Bournemouth O2. Though much of the audience was disappointed to see one man with a guitar on stage (instead of the band they had expected), Passenger won them round. With the crowd revelling in silence during his quieter songs and singing along at any opportunity, the atmosphere was incredible, even if the average age was higher than a typical gig at the O2. Stood there on an otherwise empty stage with his guitar, that was changed a number of times after strings were broken at a phenomenal rate, and playing the drum by stamping his foot on the stage, the one man show did not disappoint.

With 6 albums, Rosenburg has a huge back catalogue to select from, but for the most part played songs from his better known and most recent 2 albums Whispers and All the Little Lights. He opened with the beautiful ‘Rolling Stone’, which had the audience in complete silence, and this was followed by the equally tranquil ‘Life is for the Living’. ‘Wrong direction‘, cleverly mixed with ‘What is Love’, followed next, with the audience singing along.

Gaps between songs were filled between songs were filled with great stories. One of these was about Passenger playing on the pub scene, and then claiming his next song ‘The Sound of Silence’ (a Simon & Garfunkel cover) was his own after recieving the compliments of a small child from an audience of about 5 – an indication of what Passenger had gone through before making it big.

Riding to New York‘ followed another story about the inspiration behind the song; a chance meeting between Rosenburg and a lung cancer sufferer. A long-term smoker had become the inspiration, not just for the song, but behind Passenger’s own decision to stop smoking.

Passenger then played ‘Let Her Go’, by far his most famous song and had the entire audience singing along with him. He also had the audience singing along with the popular song ‘I Hate’ and his finale ‘Scare Away the Dark’.

Passenger had admitted that he feared disappearing after ‘Let Her Go’ was released, but this sold out show and a great performance hopefully points to a bright future; certainly everyone who was him in Bournemouth would be keen to see him again after such a stellar performance.  I cannot wait for Passenger to tour again, and I implore you to get tickets as well. With tranquil songs and the occasional song to dance and sing along to, it will be a show you will not be disappointed in.


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