Whiskey Bar 2-26-03
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The pen, more mighty than the sword,
With words the weapons in this war,
Through passion victory's assured
As soldiers do their souls outpour...

Their shield, vulnerability...
Their armor, only bravery.
Their javelin, blunt honesty...
Closed-mindedness, their enemy.

 Their battlefields aren't lush and green;
On them no bulwarks can be seen.
Their comrades few and far between --
Or so, at least, it oft must seem...

Their fight is not to conquer land,
But quell unrest so close at hand
By helping others understand
The forces under their command...

These soldiers' blood is shed in tears
That mark their sorrows, joys and fears
As they press forward through the years
Heeding a call missed by most ears...

Historically a ragtag lot
With names like Dumas, Poe, Alcott...
Their outward uniforms match not
 But uniqueness these all have got.

Who is this army so confused
(As they may seem from weapons used
And the protections they've refused)?
"Insane", to some they stand accused...

A special force that's been comprised
Of those mentioned herein with pride
That's walked among us, side by side;
Through centuries they stand allied.

But need they be named here, at last
To their identity unmask?
Their mission unchanged from days past:
To serve mankind, with love, their task.

A literary group, 'tis true...
Though painters, sculptors fit here, too.
Their work provides insight -- a clue --
Into themselves...and me and you.



And so without further delay,
Presented on this page this day,
A warrior that's come our way
Fresh from this corps', "artists", fierce fray...


Michael McDermott
The Whiskey Bar,
Hoboken, NJ

In a set that started several minutes ahead of schedule (a fact that I must confess inspired a bit of panic, as surely no one wants to miss a minute of a McD show!), upon approaching the entrance, Michael's strong, impassioned vocals floated out onto the sidewalk.  And their message was an earnest and hope-filled declaration that there's only "One Way To Go"...and that is... toward the music, of course!





    "A voice from above,

      It answered with

      But are you ready
             to hear?

      There's only one way
             to go,

      One way to go  
             from here.






And, at the conclusion of this great introduction to the evening...

 ...bass player and welcome comrade, TJ, joined Michael onstage...

... for a journey to Black River Falls, a place that inspired a song by illuminating tales about the "Darkest Night of All"...



"Yeah, the sun  
   never rises

When you're
   wearing your

It seems like
   it stays dark
   for days..."




Next, Michael switched quickly to guitar to pull a bit of Irish-tinged Greek mythology from his arsenal..."Sword of Damocles"...



 "Down around
     the bookstore
     is where I saw


   She was holdin'
      that dagger in
      the palm of
      her hand..."




...as well as a song about a region where an unfortunate number live -- and die -- by the sword of their opposing convictions, "Hellfire In The Holy Land"...






"Come tomorrow, an
    unanswered prayer...

  Come tomorrow,
    will I find you there?










  Turn the cheek and
      offer up your hand,

   'Cause there's
        hellfire tonight

    In the Holy Land..."




As so often grace the setlists at this prolific artist's shows, a brand new song followed. Based on the story of a soldier (of the conventional variety) heading off to war and the woman he leaves behind, "Arm Yourself" offers pervasive insights into yet another type of weapon, one that can guard against the mightiest destruction, if only one follows the advice of the chorus' admonition...




   "Arm yourself with
        my love...

    Arm yourself with
       my love...







     'Cause I've already
armed myself with

I've already armed
myself with yours."




And as a follow-up to this sample of Michael's newest creations came one of his oldest, for which he was joined by Eddie Fritz on accordion..."Death In The Autumn Air"...


"Friday night
    is callin',

  You're crawlin'
    up the wall

  You don't know
     what you're
     gonna do...



In pretty much the only commentary to punctuate the music on this occasion, Michael briefly introduced his next song with the proud pronouncement it had appeared in a movie released in theaters a few months back...to which he added the rather ego deflating epilogue..."it went to DVD, like, a week later!"  Ah well, whatever the film's misfortunes, "20 Miles South of Nowhere" has already enjoyed a much longer run with fans...and shows no signs of abating in popularity anytime soon!!!




                      and his
                      one man

                      note like
                      it was
                      his last..."






Unfortunately, since Michael had the opening slot of a three-set night, due to time constraints this show's run was already winding down.  With that in mind, Michael made his way back to the piano for his traditional set epilogue, "Around The World"...uh, well, sort of...

"I know that I have met
     some prophets,

  And I've befriended
     the very lowest of
     the low...

   For a while I was a
     rich man,

  Now I haven't even
   an Avis car that I
   can tow..." (?huh?)


Needless to say, that last line sparked a bit of curiosity...and certainly left anyone happily singing along suddenly spluttering into silence! It was later explained that the rental van in which Michael and TJ'd ventured  from Chicago for the East Coast swing that included this show had encountered a mishap involving a chunk of ice somewhere shy of Pittsburgh...with a broken windshield the result. 

Funny, somehow that seems to bring the evening full circle, lyrically speaking, as such events conjure an image of the lines that opened the show (yeah, the ones I missed this time around!*^*!^*!)..."You say your luck's run out..." Well, I'd say Michael's and TJ's luck was far from running out, though it could certainly be argued it wasn't quite smiling upon them with regard to this particular event.

Fortunately, in true artistic warrior fashion, after the show Michael was still able to smile, nonetheless...

... (but then again, that could be because the ball of ice had fallen on TJ's side of the van...only kidding!!!!)   

Be that as it may, you can bet I'm serious that having experienced yet another terrific McDermott show, no one else present on this evening (or who's had a chance to check out the above photo!) could have trouble smiling, in any case...

On which note, I can only add...

As always, Thank You, Michael (andTJ!)

And again,

Please Come Back Soon!!!


(P.S.  Don't forget to check back for a page on Brian Fitzpatrick's Whiskey Bar show as well, which included an unforgettable performance of "Kung Fu Videos" featuring none other than M. McD!!!)


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