Bitter End 12-23-02
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Having not experienced a live Brian Fitzpatrick show since August (due to schedule conflicts, surely not a willing absence!), it was truly a treat to again be in attendance as he and his band reminded us anew of why we'd come to enjoy and appreciate such evenings in the first place.  And, as an added bonus on this particular night, we had the privilege of meeting Brian's parents (which was indeed a pleasure -- thanks much, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick!) and hearing two amazing brand new songs that surely made everyone present eager for what is already shaping up to be an awe-inspiringly impressive follow up to the current (and arguably hard to improve upon) album State of Grace

And while I could say many wonderful things about the performance, and its highlights -- which were pretty much every single song -- I think the most outstanding thought that struck me while mentally re-living the show after leaving the venue (and contemplating how I might put it into words on this very page) was how little difference there seemed between the spirit at The Bitter End on this Christmas Eve Eve (?), if indeed that's the proper term, from that which has prevailed at all the other Brian Fitzpatrick shows I've attended there (and elsewhere) at other times of year.  What I at last concluded from that puzzlement, however, was simply that the gift that is true art, and the giving nature of a genuine artist (as I've mentioned elsewhere on this site), indeed embodies the Christmas spirit...even when Christmas is still many months away.  And, as a result, I realized that on the Bitter End stage this night we had been visited by -- perhaps not Dickens' vision of these characters, but nonetheless, the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and the many wonderful Christmas futures that surely lie least, for Brian Fitzpatrick fans...

That said, without further ado...

The Bitter End

Brian and company opened with "Caroline", a selection from the 2000 album, When I Bleed...


   "I was a lonely man

        living on my own and

       dreaming of two...


       The way us dreamers do...


      She came into my life like

           an angel in the night..."



...before moving on to that "murder song" of which I never tire, "Cross That Line"...


"I know that
    you're the
    hurting kind,

  But I ain't 
     left you yet...


   But one of
      these days,

   I'm gonna 
     cross that



Next came my favorite of the handful of covers Brian performs from time to time, the Michael McDermott-penned "Kung Fu Videos"...


   "Go ahead and make your
             phone call,

     I said with a grin...


      Tell your mama you'll
          be stayin'

      At the palace of sin..."



...after which Brian introduced a "brand new song" -- one surely destined to become a crowd favorite over the next few months, "Shoot The Moon"...

"The sun catches fire when Lily smiles...
Everything's all right,
If only for a while.

Stargazing eyes remind me
of some movie...
Feel so alive whenever she talks to me..."

This was followed by the soberly reflective "Thinking", which was written shortly after the death of a good friend...



  "Ain't it so strange

    How with age
        you miss it

    Just wait a day,

    It could be
       just like before..."



...and a likewise contemplative tale of what was, is not, and maybe yet could be -- a little "Further Down The Line"...

  "Somewhere in a lonesome
    In a day much less confined,

    Where innocence and beauty
        don't bear the ravages

     There I take you down so
          nice and slow...

     Silk, satin, and indigo, and

      Everything's alright, yeah..."


As usual, Brian interjected a bit of humor into the show, turning the potential distraction of switching/re-tuning guitars into a welcome interlude.  "It's hard with all these guitars, you know," he said with a regal air, then quickly added with a smile, "Doesn't that sound pompous, huh?"

At last ready to go, he announced, "This is an Irish if you know an Irish jig, feel free...and if you don't, then Ed'll teach ya!"  Actually, Ed was a bit too busy making his accordion dance on the up-tempo tune that followed..."Sweet Maria"...

Reluctantly, the band surrendered their positive feeling as Brian warned the crowd, "You always follow the upper with a downer...this is a downer".  And indeed, the beautiful new composition, "Valhalla" shares the sad story of a girl from Brian's childhood who "disappeared one day".  He later learned she had been admitted into an aggressive and controversial drug treatment program at an institution that was later closed down for child abuse.  Unfortunately, the damage in Brian's young friend's life had already been done, and the aftermath of this led her down a dark path that eventually resulted in her tragic murder. 


   "I won't let your story go

     And that's a promise that

     I promise to uphold...

     Staring down at 
           your grave,

     And shaking 
            off the cold..."



And, as the show began to wind down, Brian announced that the band was "gonna do a couple more and then we'll be on our way" before launching into a song "off a CD [he] did back in 1998", "Starlight"...


     "Lying on my back...




        Just looking at the stars...


       Searching for you in the night..."



After this, Brian introduced the band, and informed the crowd of his parents' attendance on this special evening -- their first New York Brian Fitzpatrick show.  He then dedicated his final song of the night, "Northwoods", to them, adding "this is a song about where I was born", a town about an hour outside of Boston known as Holliston, MA...




    "I wanna thank you 
         for your time...


      The understanding
           meant so much 
           to me..


      Now I do believe it's 
            time to move 




And, indeed, on that note, Brian and his comrades did indeed move along, though their leader was still willing to take a bit of time, of course, for greeting fans and friends in his characteristic, wonderfully good-natured way...


...on which note I can only add once more... always, thanks much Bri and band!

See you next time!


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