WCL  12-17-04
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Yes, I'm aware Christmas is over (well, officially, anyway) at the time you're reading this page...but when the show it commemorates took place, it was -- like the event herein described -- still being awaited with most eager...

 

And, as the true spirit of the season never disappoints, neither did this truly wonderful musical experience.  That said, there was one small "Bah Humbug" aspect -- the fact cameras were forbidden.  Thankfully, though (and  appropriately for those attending a performance by the founder of "Wanted Man" Music), not everyone obeyed this "law".  Hence, while the photos that have turned up thus far are few, they do exist...and it's been rumored more may follow. If so, I'll modify this page to share those also.  In the meantime, thanks to Donna for the ones scattered throughout the various other images I've enlisted to help visually tell the story of what was heard at...

Michael McDermott
12-17-04

If you're not from the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic region and haven 't had the privilege of visiting this new venue for yourself, I can vouch for the fact that it's lovely outside...

...and very spacious within -- so much so, in fact, that one could easily get lost maneuvering the maze of entrances and stairs...

...the latter of which lead down to the venue where Michael and the band performed -- the heart of the building, one might say.  Or at least that portion of it wherein the heart and soul of an artist -- and his incomparable passion -- were displayed.  Prefaced by that lovely Van Morrison penned intro of "I'll Be Your Lover, Too", Michael and his bandmates opened this amazing night with "Arm Yourself", after which he paused to thank Bruce Warren of the hugely McD supportive Philadelphia radio station...

...as well as everyone else involved in bringing this sold-out show to fruition.  Quickly getting back to the music, however, Michael announced the next song would be one of his newer compositions..."Perfectly Imperfect"...

 


"You're perfectly imperfect...

You're beautifully such a star...

When I listen to you talk...

I swear I don't know who you are..."

 


...after which came "Spark", a composition inspired by what Michael described as "a place I used to go...well, I still do.  It's a German-Irish bar so they're very disciplined about their drinking" -- which comment  Danny followed with the traditional drummer's exclamation point to punchlines.  Michael's response?  "Hey, that's my one joke for the night, so enjoy it!"

      

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

        The hand of fate still seems corrupt...

        When you're caught on the wrong side...

        Of your own generation..."

 

Something else to be enjoyed was the energetic performance of the song that followed, "Hellfire In The Holyland"...a blistering performance that featured some very impressive guitar work from both Michael and a newcomer to his band, Kevin Darish...

"Come tomorrow, and unanswered prayer...
Come tomorrow, will I find you there?

Proving he had more than one joke in him after all, Michael next asked the audience if they knew who Eminem is...and then proclaimed, "Well, I'm not gonna do any of his songs"...which I tend to think came as a relief!  Be that as it may, if you've been in the McDermott camp for the past couple of years, you may have heard Michael borrow just a wee bit of Eminem's material (the repeated chord of "Lose Yourself") as a preface to "A Wall I Must Climb"...however, I don't believe anyone felt Michael's material was missing anything because of that intro's omission on this night...

                                

 

                                             "I'm frightened for I fear...

                                              That my lack of life is my crime...

                                              I am a wall I must climb."

                                             

Addressing the audience once more, Michael announced a song "on the new record called Ashes." -- a now very familiar title (and one that ranked #37 on XPN's Top 50 CD's of 2004) that sparked enthusiastic applause from the audience.  Singling out a couple participants in this, he responded in mock astonishment, "You bought it? ... You too? ... Oh, thank you!  Someday I might actually be able to move out of my parents' basement!"  And, in typical McDermott fashion, he then added in a rueful tone, "You think I'm kidding..."  

In any case, there was no kidding that Michael and the band burned up the stage on (the 2004 ASCAP/Heineken Rock/Pop Songwriting Grant winner) "Dance With Me"...

"Dance With Me, take my hand...
I've become a person I don't understand...
But with you I could finally find a place to land...
If you dance with me..."

...before moving on to the lighter note of the clearly popular, "Hold Back A River" -- at the conclusion of which, Michael addressed the band to let them know, "I'm doing a song by myself...so... talk amongst yourselves."  In fact, however, Michael favored us with a mini-acoustic show within this band show -- playing not one, or even two, but THREE solo numbers...starting with the new song Philly audiences first heard in Sept. at The Point, "Long Way To Heaven"...

 

     

          

     
     "Itís a city of ghosts where no one trusts...

      Itís a city of wings that turn to rust...

      And Iím wandering and I still canít find...

      These things I need to leave behind..."

 

 

 

...then continuing with, "Can't Sleep Tonight".  In sharing a bit of background on this tune, Michael explained that "songwriting gets laborious sometimes...but this one came easily." Speculating on the reasons why such might have proved the case, he eventually concluded that its deeply troubled theme was the result of (to borrow a once- popular movie title) Sleeping With The Enemy  -- which in this instance he told the crowd meant "sleeping with myself" -- adding with wry humor, "Hey, it's no picnic"...

"I can't sleep tonight,
I wonder if it's because
I'm thinking 'bout the person 
I know I once was..."

Switching to piano, Michael declared "I'm gonna do just one more sensitive songwriter thing" --  a song an attendee of the show later described on the Pauper's Sky bulletin board with the words... "Bourbon Blue on keyboards...simply put...awesome"!  Indeed, I couldn't agree more...

 

                                                                   
                                                                   "Listen to the wistful sounds
                                                                      of morning coming through...

                                                                    I'll keep holding on for my
                                                                                 bourbon blue." 

 

Remaining at the piano, but calling the band back out, Michael announced he was about to share a new song that he told the crowd, "I think you'll really like.  I think it's a good one".  Then realizing how egocentric and boastful such a comment might sound, he continued in a richly self-mocking tone..."Well, I think they're all pretty great...buy my CD and I'll bore you for hours with how good I am!"  Personally, however, I doubt anyone hearing the song in question would need any convincing on that point -- since, of course, it turned out to be the beautiful "When It Comes To You"...which, incidentally, was debuted during last year's holiday season,  at Chicago's...


"Yeah, in miracles I still believe...

 'Cause I think you've got one up your sleeve."

 

Returning to true rocking form, Michael next dedicated a very energetic performance of the Rolling Stone's "Sympathy For the Devil" to XPN's Bruce Warren -- a performance so intense it resulted in a broken string on his guitar.  Still, in true McD fashion, Michael soldiered on, even engaging in a complex bit of jamming with Kevin using the 5 strings still intact!  This did create the need for a bit of improvisation for the rest of the show, however, which provided the audience's first opportunity to hear "Everything I Got" on piano -- and, of course, it lost nothing of its excellence in the translation... 


       

"

                     

 

         
         "And all the time we've been together...

          Most of that time was good...

          You never got what you wanted...

          And I knew you never would..."

 

 

 

With the show beginning to wind down, Michael informed the audience the next song would be "a seasonal tune".  Before embarking on this, however, he noted that he'd first played this several years back at a show for his hometown church..."Churches pay really well," he said with a sly smile.  "If you can get the gig, I highly recommend it."  Of course, being Michael he had to also throw in the tongue-in-cheek "confession", "They don't let me in there any more..." Hmm, does that mean his performance at their latest Summerfest was broadcast via satellite, or what exactly?!?"   Whatever the case, I can't imagine anyone refusing to let Michael share his truly fantastic version of "Little Drummer Boy"!

 

 

 

    "Mary nodded, pa rum 
                       pa pum pum...

      The ox and lamb kept time,
                       pa rum pa pum pum...

      I sang my song for him...

      I sang my best for him..." 

 

 

 

 

And, in the spirit of the season encapsulated by the lyrics quoted above, Michael indeed continued giving his best -- singing his best for all of us -- and finished out the set by thanking everyone in attendance before offering the gift of "20 Miles South of Nowhere"... "given" on this night especially to Donna in celebration of her birthday.  In return, of course, everyone present gifted Michael with heartfelt applause -- in fact, a standing ovation.  And, as all had hoped, he therefore returned to the stage for two encores..."Baby, I" and the "grace" note on which Michael often exits shows, "Just A Closer Walk With Thee".  

But, that was not the last of Michael to be seen.  As usual he reappeared minutes later to greet and be photographed with fans and friends...including the birthday girl, Donna...

But where, you ask, is the traditional page ending shot of Michael with Mil.  Well, as you'll recall from The Point's 9-18-04  recap on this site, I told you to take a good look at the one of us therein.  Apparently, my "cutting commentary" about his hair indeed reaped a price -- no photo this time around!*^&%*!  Oh, come on, I'm kidding.   We were the "law-abiding citizens" who didn't bring a camera into the venue, remember?

Or, at least...that's my story -- and I'm sticking to it!!!

On which note I'll close, adding only...

As always, 

Thank You, Michael (and band)!

And, again,

Please come back soon!!!

 

 

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