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Live from Union Chapel Live
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|2. The Blower's Daughter|
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2007 live mini album, the first-ever official concert release from the Irish singer/songwriter. With songs taken from his critically debut album 0, plus three previously unreleased tracks, this album is a must for Damien fans. It also features his long-time collaborator, Lisa Hannigan. Eight tracks including 'Delicate', 'Baby Sister' and 'Be My Husband'. 14th Floor.
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"Live at Union Chapel" (8 tracks; 36 min.) was recorded in 2003 on the "O" tour, and hence focuses on that album, with 5 tracks: "Delicate", "The Blower's Daughter", a ferocious "Volcano", "Amie", and the traditional "Silent Night", an astounding a-capella version by vocalist Lisa Hannigan. The remainder songs on here are non-album tracks "Then Go" and "Baby Sister" and "Be My Husband". Let me be upfront and state unequivocally that this is a superb collection of songs: Damien Rice and his band are in peak form throughout. (It's regretful that Lisa Hannigan's role on the "9" was severely dimished, in my opinion).
For my money, if the choice is between "Live at Fingerprints" or this, there is no contest: "Live at Union Chapel" wins hands down. But why this release only has 8 tracks, I haven't a clue, and it's a shame. This could have been a 5 star release, but I can't rate it more than 4 stars because of the startling lack of additional material (only 36 min. long?). And why this is released now (as opposed to, say, 2004), again no clue. That said, if you have a chance to see Damien Rice in concert, do not miss the opportunity! I saw Damien and the band (including Lisa) here in Cincinnati in Spring 2004 on the "O" tour and it was a most memorable evening. For that reason alone "Live at Union Chapel" is an excellent memento of that for me.
The album starts with `Delicate' and immediately you realize that this live disc is going to be much superior to the rest. When attending a Rice concert you'll notice that the audience is filled to the brim with people that respect this man for the artist that he really is and so there is rarely a word spoken while he's performing. This fact carries well over onto this album. His words are clear and understandable. `Delicate' bleeds right into his biggest hit `Blowers Daughter' which is approached delicately and effortlessly. In fact I'm almost tempted to say that the live version transcends the original recorded version for the emotion and power is so evident in his voice. `Volcano' is probably his best live performance, on this disc but also when I saw him perform. He really takes the song to new heights with the musical arrangement. It's powerful, edgy and raw and I just love it. Also from `O' we have my personal favorite Rice song ever recorded `Amie'. The live version on this album is not a brilliant as when I saw him myself. If fact, I prefer the album version to this, but he still kills it, seriously.
Damien's former muse Lisa Hannigan (I say former since she no longer sings with him but has left to pursue a solo career) has her moments to shine on songs like the beautifully restrained `Then Go'. Her voice is haunting and soothing and perfectly compliments the guitar work. She also dominates on `Be My Husband' where the tribalesque drum beats lend her a backbeat to bare her soul, and that she does. `Baby Sister' is one of the best tracks here, from the powerful lyrics and the somber, calming musical arrangement complete with some beautiful cello work. I'm dying for Damien to release a studio recording of this track, it's that orgasmic. The ending with the vocal interchange between Rice and Hannigan is so haunting, so masterful.
The album closes with Lisa Hannigan blowing us away on `Silent Night' which is a hidden track on `O'. It's a beautiful way to end the album regardless of your religious background. It's just a beautifully sung song that perfectly embellishes Hannigan's talent. If you've discovered the brilliance that is Damien Rice then this is an album you need to pick up for it stands apart from his previous work, and if you have yet to embrace Rice for all that he is then this album will most likely do the trick.
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