The pen, more mighty than the sword,
Their shield, vulnerability...
Their battlefields aren't lush and green;
Their fight is not to conquer land,
These soldiers' blood is shed in tears
Who is this army so confused
A special force that's been comprised
But need they be named here, at last
A literary group, 'tis true...
And so without further delay,
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
There's only one way
One way to go
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
It seems like
Next, Michael switched quickly to guitar to pull a bit of Irish-tinged Greek mythology from his arsenal..."Sword of Damocles"...
She was holdin'
...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
Turn the cheek and
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
Arm yourself with
'Cause I've already
I've already armed
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"...
You don't know
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!!!
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...
And I've befriended
For a while I was a
Now I haven't even
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!)
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!!!)