Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram

Live Review: Passenger

2 February 2017 | 11:45 am | Rhys Anderson

"When the band left the stage the room continued to sing to a dark and empty stage for a three full minutes."

More Passenger More Passenger

Before the release of All The Little Lights, Passenger would most likely be found busking in market places or playing small shows. However, the 2012 album combined with a support slot on tour with Ed Sheeran saw the young troubadour find unexpected success in the song Let Her Go. This heart-breaker became an international runaway hit with its twinkling keys and catchy, contrasting lyrical themes. Suddenly, venues that had comfortably fit ten audience members and a dog were no longer sufficient to handle the impassioned public interest.

On a Tuesday in Hobart, Passenger played in a refurbished megachurch to a sold-out crowd of 1,100 punters of widely varying ages.

The show, backed by a band and focusing mostly on the newest releases (Young As The Morning Old As The Sea and Whispers I and II), was received with pure, honest admiration by its audience. People cried when it was sad, and laughed at the ex-busker's unfiltered and self-admonishing banter. When Michael David Rosenberg told a long story about the inspiration of the song Travelling Alone there was not a sound among a thousand people. When he sang the line "all men are assholes" laughter rippled around the room. 

Mid-way into the set, Rosenberg dismissed the band and played alone, and it was here he found his feet. His easy showmanship when addressing the crowd spoke to thousands of stomach-rumbling evenings counting out the shrapnel in his guitar case. This is the dynamic he has built his identity and career on and it is here that he is best showcased. A charming wit, an exposed heart, a likeable voice and, under it all, a strumming acoustic guitar. When he addressed the crowd the manner was hardly different to a conversation in a pub. Swearing, then apologising for swearing, and then swearing some more, Passenger shared stories of his songs, his life and his ideas and beliefs — some contrarian, some popular, yet all well-received.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

There is no doubting the effect that a Passenger show has on its audience: the main set ended with a rousing chorus being drawn from the audience, and when the band left the stage the room continued to sing to a dark and empty stage for a three full minutes. For an encore Rosenberg delivered an audience-aided, singalong version of Holes that could be heard for blocks around the venue. Regardless the size, his shows are intimate, melancholic, humorous and always, always leave an impact.