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Beneath a cloud of darkness looming like the "Sword of Damocles", Michael took the stage to so beautifully express in song why he "Can't Sleep Tonight"…which is in part because of unending "Hellfire In The Holy Land.  Nonetheless, it would help, he declares, if he could write "A Kind of Love Song" that would seal the "Hole In [His] Heart". But, it seems he can only feel the chill of "Death In The Autumn Air", and confesses that in part, this is because he knows he's "Guilty". Still he longs for the comforting warmth of "Summer Days", or at the very least, a "Lantern" he might use to set a "Spark" ablaze so that he might see his way over "A Wall [He] Must Climb"…or if not, one that would, by the "Grace of God", allow him to burn it down. Lamenting his inability to do this, however, he wistfully yearns, "'Oh, Baby, I' wish I could escape this person that I am, trapped '20 Miles South of Nowhere'…and that I might then soar 'Around the World', to at last find my way home via the New York to Chicago line, on train '#49' ".

And, indeed, on a sultry summer night, this is precisely what Michael did…


New York, NY

As the crowd filed in prior to the show, fellow paupers renewed acquaintances and met new friends until at last Michael took the stage...

...and, as has become his custom at recent shows, opened with the always excellent "Sword of Damocles"...




    "I saw Dionysus in his
         usual booth...

      He was never one who
         wanted to hear the



..which was followed by a song both disturbing -- and yet thought-provoking -- enough to cause insomnia, "Can't Sleep Tonight"...



      I can't sleep

       How is it anyone

       I'm holdin' this

       Like a gun in 
          my hand..."





     "I act like a boy
         when I should
         be a man...

      I can't sleep

       How is it anyone



Next came the truly amazing "Hellfire In The Holy Land"...a song Michael prefaced with the announcement he's planning what one might call a "pilgrimage" to Jerusalem in October as he embarks on an attempt at "a retry of the last 25 years of my life"...then added in recognition of the very ambitious nature of such a resolution, "I don't know if it's gonna work..."  Whatever the case, his performance of this incredible song most definitely worked...



  "Come tomorrow, a
     symphony of peace...

    Come tomorrow, when
      you're on your knees...

    Turn a cheek and offer
      up your hand,

     'Cause there's hellfire
        tonight in the 
        Holy land..."



After this Michael shared the first of three brand new songs debuted at this show, "A Kind of Love Song"...




                   "All I can think about is 
                       all that went wrong,

                     And the things in my
                       life I'd do again..."
   the conclusion of which, he asked the very talented duo of Brian Fitzpatrick and Ed Fritze, who have frequently shared the stage with Michael at shows in recent months, to join him (on guitar and piano, respectively) for the second, "Hole In My Heart"...




            "There's a hole in my heart
                where my love once did dwell...






Next came a tune only slightly more familiar to some, as it remains a very rare (though always welcome) addition to live shows, "Death In The Autumn Air", for which Ed performed (very beautifully) on accordion...



          "Empty kisses
              and your lost

            Come back to 
                haunt you 

             Like a dream
                that won't 
                come true..."



Michael then switched to piano for the Randy Newman cover, "Guilty"...



     "Yes, baby, I been

       And I shouldn't come by,
             I know,

        But I found myself in
             trouble, darlin'.

         And I have no place
            else to go..."



...the remembrance of "Summer Days"...


                 "Now those days are just 
                     distant memories,

                   And how I miss 'em,

                   How I miss 'em...

                   And I miss you, too..."



...and one of my all-time favorite songs, "Lantern"...


   "I think of you when the
         rain comes,

     And I find your face in 
        the fallin' snow...

      I hope you think of
         me, too,

      And there's one thing
         you should know..."



Returning to the guitar, Michael then launched into the coolest version of "Spark" I've ever the tune of "Broken Down Fence".  An intense, powerful and yet somehow jaunty performance....okay, maybe you had to be there, but believe me, it was great!




          "Some doors seem like they're
                always shut...

             The hand of fate still seems





And to follow that, he subsequently offered the rapt crowd what he introduced as "an oldie but a goodie"...referring, of course, to "A Wall I Must Climb"...





    "I'm frightened, for I fear
         that my lack of life
         is my crime...

       I am a wall I must climb."





Next came a much newer composition, before embarking on which he noted, "this might sound a little like the 3rd or 4th song I played...but it doesn't. It's just your imagination!"  (Actually, it doesn't) All it sounded like to me was "Grace of God"...



         "Dyin' ain't no way to make 
               a livin',

           And I ain't quite ready to


           There but for the grace of
               God go I..."


After this Michael once more invited Brian and Ed back to the stage "to bring it on home" before beginning the third (and my personal favorite!) of the evening's three debuts, "Oh,Baby, I"...



     "Oh, baby I...

        I'm the only one
           for you...

      Oh, baby, I...

     'Cause I'm so
        rare and true...







    Oh, baby, I....

       I wish I was

     Oh, baby, I wish
        I was..."

 the conclusion of which Michael said, "That was, like, on the verge of rock!"  The verge of rock, perhaps, but  most definitely well beyond merely the verge of fantastic! 

And, as the show began to wind down, the boys favored us with (the also on the verge of rock...and likewise excellent) "20 Miles South of Nowhere"...and as usual they jammed!!!


    "Dan sat at the 

      He was talkin'
        about his car
        with Alice... 

      She was headin'
         out to Vegas,

      Runnin' from 
        her dark days 
        in Dallas..."



Alas, after this came perhaps the only moment no one looks forward to at a Michael McDermott show... that of its conclusion.  Nonetheless, as he's so frequently done before Michael chose to end on the beautiful note(s) of "Around the World"...



   "I know that I have
        met some prophets...

     I've befriended the 
       lowest of the low..."



But... of course, the crowd wasn't about to let him go without an encore....

...which it doesn't look like Michael was too willing to share...only kidding!  Actually, he very graciously returned to the piano for a beautiful rendition of "#49"...



    "Lifelessness cries from the
         fountain of youth;

     Lawyers debate the
        meaning of truth..."




After the show, despite the "thematically dark" set he'd played on this night...and for which he at one point apologized to the crowd, as you can see Michael  still had a smile (okay, maybe even for a moment a Cheshire Cat grin!) to share with the camera as he posed for photos, both alone...

...and with fans and friends...

...on which note I can only add...

 As always, Thank You, Michael,

And again,

Please Come Back Soon!!!


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