Over the weekend, Passenger was back in town and played a wonderful and comical show at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre. The english singer-songwriter not only demonstrated that he oozes musical talent, but that he also knows how to charm an audience and have us spilling over in hysterics. You would be forgiven for thinking you had walked into a musical comedy show.
As soon as Michael Rosenberg aka Passenger walked onto stage, in front of a children’s book inspired animation background setting, I was already charmed and intrigued. Before starting his set, he preceded by saying he played one of his best ever gigs at this venue a year before, a brave statement setting high expectations for the audience and himself to say the least. Yet, he laughed it off and proceeded to set the mood into a sombre affair as he launched into the melancholy song “Rolling Stone”.
With six albums and numerous tours under his belt, Passenger is no stranger to Melbourne. He looked comfortable on stage and although giving himself a hard time for the skinny jeans he was wearing, I don’t think he realised how perfect he was fitting in with the hipster crowd.
One thing is for sure and that’s Rosenberg knows how to entertain. He goes to a great effort to interact with the crowd consistently and gets the crowd participating. He had us standing and clicking along to his pretty folky melodies, he has us waving our IPhone torches in the air and then in contrast, at times he had us sitting dead quiet fixated on him as he sung a painfully nostalgic song. He was also adorably hilarious, something that I completely did not expect. One of the most hilarious moments of the show was when he sang his song about all the things he hated in the world, in which he stopped numerous times in the middle to crack jokes about particular mentions.
Once he concluded his main set, the crowd enthusiastically cheered him to come back to stage. He came back for a three song encore, which in one song in which he was joined by his supporting band The Once, and they played a medley of songs featuring Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”.
Throughout his set, Passenger shared the heartfelt stories that inspired his songs and cracked jokes that had us in stitches. It was a rollercoaster of a show and a fun rollercoaster ride it was. But while I appreciated each thank you after each song, it became somewhat excessive by the end of the show. I appreciated that he went to great lengths to ensure we knew how much he appreciated our support to get him to where he is today, but it can be over done, and tonight was the perfect example. But I don’t want that to be the final word. I came to the show with a gut feeling I would be pleasantly surprised, and that I certainly was. Nice one Passenger, nice one.