Bitter End  5-27-02
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Having not experienced one of Brian and Ed's acoustic shows since January, I was very much looking forward to this latest appearance at New York City's Bitter End.  While (as you already know if you've checked out the other review pages of Brian's shows featured on this site)  I always enjoy the full band gigs immensely, and especially appreciate the flawless musicianship Brian's comrades never fail to contribute... the new life his songs take on in such a dynamic setting... still there's something special to me about getting to hear them again augmented by only the sparse accompaniment of an acoustic guitar... with, of course, a bit of piano or accordion thrown in like a dash a salt.  There's an immediacy to the music, an intimacy to the environment that draws the audience in as friends sharing in dark secrets they already know...yet need one with the songwriting talents of a Brian Fitzpatrick to give these thoughts a voice and convert their darkness to a cathartic and artistically beautiful light.   And, needless to say, this is a feat Brian and Ed once more deftly achieved on this beautiful late spring night. 

The Bitter End

Brian opened with the 7-minute (yet not one note too) long "Forgotten Sounds" arguably near-perfect composition from his latest album State Of Grace (not that you'd ever guess from that description it's also one of my favorites, right?!?)...



   "There's an old man

     Wearing a young
           man's clothes...


      And I'm an idiot,

      But I'm frightened
         by how much I



After this (eventually) ended (just kidding...although the audience gave it enthusiastic applause, unfortunately Brian himself doesn't seem to enjoy "Forgotten Sounds" nearly as much as I do, since he continued to joke about its length even after the show), Ed Fritze contributed accordion accompaniment (and backing vocals) to "Cross That Line"...a song Brian prefaced with the far from comforting introduction, "This is a murder song."  Be that as it may, it's definitely an excellent song, and one with which Brian seems to be constantly experimenting in terms of tempo, vocal styles, etc.  As noted on the 5/3 Underpass show page, most recently he's thrown in the added detail of a (very cool) high note on the last verse, which he even expanded upon slightly for this performance...



  "I've been lonely and
           I've been confused,

   I've been let down and
          I've been abused...







                               "I've spent my time playing
                                     in these back street bars

                                While you're out with him
                                     laughing under stars..."


Brian then announced to the close to capacity crowd (many of whom later said they'd decided to attend after catching Brian and Ed's recent appearance on NJ News 12) that he had copies of his latest CD available for sale -- adding in a very well-timed bit of deadpan humor, "This song's not on it"  before beginning the beautiful "I Can't Be Your Savior"...on which Ed this time played piano...


   "I only wanted to be a

    I know friends are hard to

    I didn't want to be another
      one of those people who

    Come along, use you up
       and move along..."



Next came a beautiful song of self-exploration and growth, the title track to Brian's 2000 release, "When I Bleed"...



                                    "Words like this aren't 
                                           easy to write,

                                     Songs like this are
                                           hard to play,

                                     Some say bringing 
                                           the ghosts into the 

                                      Makes them fade away..."



...and a beautiful as yet unreleased tune -- a tale of loss and the struggle to understand its associated questions and emotions..."Further Down The Line"...



   "When I heard those
        voices in my 

      And all those things
        that you had said,

       Like a prayer...

       I remember 
          every word..."



Yet another song from Brian's second album followed...a sad story about attempting to come to grips with a relationship gone bad while "Walking In The Rain"...



                       "There's no contentment
                             in making frames

                          Or coloring each other
                             in blame...

                          There's no winning line
                             to cross

                           Because we both lost..."




Continuing in something of the same theme, albeit from a more angry lyrical perspective (couched in a deceptively catchy melody that almost dares one to sing along) Brian moved on to "Broken Heart Reprise", from his debut album, Other Side...


    As all the 
       others you
       and criticize...

    Crawl back in 
       your head 
       and live your


...then introduced a song "written for a friend who passed away about this time last year"...the excellent "Thinking", another great track from State of Grace... on which Brian was once more accompanied by Ed on piano and backing vocals...


                              "I heard myself singing
                                    a song that sounded right,

                                These emotions always
                                    get to me about this
                                    time of night...

                                When there's no one left to
                                    talk to, and nothing left 
                                    to say...

                                 I'm sorry if I let you down;
                                    I never wanted it that way." 


Following this, Brian announced he'd do just one more song, then thanked both Ed and the sound man, Bill, before launching into the always engrossing "North Woods"...


   "May the light of
         love shine 
         down where
         you roam

     As you weave
        within this 

      May God be
         on your side
         along the way..."



And on that note Brian and Ed moved along their way, leaving the crowd to take with them on theirs the memory of yet another great which for having experienced I can only add...

Thanks much, Bri and Ed!

See you next time!!!

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