Passenger at Hammersmith Apollo
Passenger (aka Michael Rosenberg) made a triumphant return to Hammersmith Apollo last night; a venue he last graced in 2014 with a solo acoustic set. Two years later and he’s back on tour, this time playing with a full live band for the first time in many years.
By his own admission, Passenger “only has one famous song”. But while other singles might have failed to match the enormous success of hit Let Her Go – which sold over a million copies and racked up a staggering one billion YouTube views – its success has allowed him to build up a dedicated fan-base, ready to sing along to every word of even his lesser-known numbers.
The show gets off to a lively start with a selection of more upbeat tracks, including the poignant yet ultimately cheerful Life’s for the Living and the sentimental Anywhere – one of the highlights of his recently released album Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea.
With a little encouragement, the crowd dutifully danced and clapped along to this energetic section of the gig. Soon, however, Rosenberg asked the live band to leave the stage and began a stripped-back segment, just him and his guitar, echoing back to his days playing acoustic shows to small audiences. During this part of his set he entertained with jokes and stories to complement his songs, inspired by years of busking and the characters he met along the way.
Some members of the audience by the bar were a little restless and impatient for more music during Rosenberg’s extended storytelling. However, the singer held the attention of the bulk of the crowd for the entirety of this quiet middle section, which is no mean feat in London on a Friday night .
By the time he finished an emotional rendition of Travelling Alone it was possible to hear a pin drop in the Apollo. But this silence was short-lived as Rosenberg invited his band back on stage for the rousing final performances. These included new songs Everything and Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea as well as a polished cover of Bill Wither’s Ain’t No Sunshine and, of course, the unavoidable Let Her Go, still performed with genuine emotion after all this time.
Rosenberg is a natural storyteller and captivated the audience with his dark humour, his engaging stories and, most importantly, with his infectious, folksy-pop tunes that a vast number of concertgoers were still humming as they filed out of the venue in high spirits.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information about Passenger and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Anywhere here: