Live Review: Passenger – Beacon Theatre, NYC

On Saturday night, we headed down to the beautiful Beacon Theatre in New York City. The headliner was English artist Passenger and opening were the Australian band The Paper Kites. I was not familiar with the latter, but I thoroughly enjoyed their set. Several tracks seemed to be heavily influenced from the 1980’s rock scene, but they diversified their set with a few beautiful folk rock ballads including Close To You. All of the musicians were talented and the harmonies between lead singer Sam Bentley and keys/guitar player Christina Lacy were fantastic. I thought the best vocal came on the impressive rock ballad Lola.

Next up was Michael David Rosenberg, better known as Passenger. He came out with tons of energy and impressive light show. Rosenberg had such a fun time and so did the audience – between his witty banter and stories and the songs themselves, sung with his very distinctive voice, we all had a great time. Some highlights were Smile For Living, If You Go and 27 Years. The latter was prefaced with a song about his busking years and how inspiring it is to follow your dreams – the crowd went wild.

For a theatre where the audience mostly sits, Passenger had the crowd on their feet the majority of the evening. He even gave us some great covers including the emotional Sound Of Silence and the soulful Ain’t No Sunshine. As much as he joked about his big song Let Her Go getting confused with the hit song from Disney’s Frozen, it still was a big hit with this city crowd. One song that really resonated with me was called Travelling Alone – Rosenberg told this incredible story of how it came about and it was just so incredibly moving.

Though a lot of his songs seem sombre, Passenger put on one hell of a show. Between his mix of up-tempo tracks and his spoken interludes, the crowd had a great time. He’s an incredible performer and is definitely worth checking out.

Jake Krickhan