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British folk singer songwriter Michael David Rosenberg tours the world bringing his unique voice to adoring fans who know him as Passenger. His solo career began on the streets, busking to support himself and fund future recordings. Since 2003. he has transformed into an international chart topping artist with his single Let Her Go hitting number 1 in 15 different countries.
Passenger displayed exactly why his voice has worked its way into so many hearts during a sold-out performance in Sydney at the Enmore Theatre last week. Australian singer songwriter Stu Larsen was the support act, performing a solid set of folky rock music that kept the enthusiastic audience at bay until the main act appeared.
A few notes into Passenger’s first song Fairytales & Firesides and the audience was singing along. After more of the same in the follow up Life’s for the Living, it became clear the crowd was full of devoted fans, ready with the knowledge of every song. The Wrong Direction was one of the most popular inciting screams a few seconds in and even more yelling along as Passenger broke briefly into Haddaway’s What is Love (Baby Don’t Hurt Me).
The night’s other cover, Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence, was one of a few songs where the audience hushed and just appreciated the quality of Passenger’s voice, even during the brief break into a slow, folk version of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.
I Hate got one of the best reactions of the night, with the entire audience screaming “Have you seen Cher’s face? / It looks like it’s been hit by a truck” at the top of their lungs. This was only matched by the uproar two notes into Let Her Go, the song many were waiting all night for. It was a stunning moment, the chorus repeating over and over for the beaming crowd.
Scare Away the Dark was the final song of the main set, with the sing-a-long continuing long after Passenger had left the stage. The final tracks of the night during the encore were the beautiful Whispers, and Holes, a fast-moving track that left the entire audience humming that they have holes in their hearts and holes in their lives as they slowly left the venue.
The performance was the perfect encapsulation of his music — fun, loud and spontaneous, but also beautifully real and emotional. With such a unique, emotive voice it would be surprising if there wasn’t at least someone moved to tears.
Photo: Ashley Mar