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After an eight-year hiatus, Rice is back on tour

April 06, 2015 04:45 PM

With the house lights on, those gathered for Damien Rice’s sold out show at New York City’s Beacon Theater are a calm group of adults ranging in age from 24 to 65. But turn the lights off, and these “adults” transform into an adoring mass with the frenetic energy of One Direction fangirls.

“I love you,” shouts an anonymous woman from the crowd once Rice, 41, takes the stage.

“I love you more,” counters another.

“I love you the most,” chimes a third.

These professions of admiration continued throughout the entirety of the two-hour show, a shrill “Take your shirt off!” included.

What this proves, aside from the fact that you’re never too old to have a crush, is that Rice’s fan base is still strong – and they’ve missed him.

After an eight year hiatus from music, the Irish singer-songwriter recently released his third studio album My Favourite Faded Fantasy.

“Sometimes you have to step away from what you love in order to learn how to love it again,” Rice, 41, previously said in a statement about his break from music.

With a renewed appreciation for music and an album full of fresh songs, the Irish singer-songwriter is spending his summer traveling North America and Europe with his My Favourite Faded Fantasy tour.

Starting in Atlanta on March 31 and ending in Old Hickory, Tennessee, on Aug. 16, Rice stopped in NYC on April 4 to greet his patient fans once more.

The show was a test and tribute to the resiliency of Rice and his music. Rice performed his set on an expansive stage stripped bare of effects, except for a handful of light stands.

What may seem like an intimidating space to most, Rice – slight, compact and emboldened – filled using solely his voice and guitar, managing to effortlessly hold the audience’s attention without flair or complicated production.

The years have passed, but Rice’s voice hasn’t aged. He is still capable of escalating from sweet and somber crooner to bitter and powerful screech in one sigh, and he did so relentlessly.

While this tour is for My Favourite Faded Fantasy, the mix of songs performed, from Closer classic “Blower’s Daughter” to new single “I Don’t Want To Change You,” was varied enough to please Rice fans of any ilk.

He didn’t take his shirt off, but Rice still knows how to bare it all.

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