William Fitzsimmons - Photo by Erin Brown

Photo by Erin Brown

Didn’t we all become too cynical? Too hardened? Too distracted? Sometimes we all forgot to listen. To each other, to the world and even to the sound of music. People in urban hot spots like Berlin might know a thing or two about this. It all became too loud. Concerts became events, music became random, blog-based buzzes became bubbles that burst faster and faster. We need to silence ourselves, leave our iPhones in the pocket, our business talk at the door. Sometimes all it needs is one voice to silence a room. WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS is such a voice. A voice of reason and brutal honesty. Yesterday’s concert at Berlin’s Lido was the proof. The musical proof while we are all wrong and this man … well, he might be too. But at least he’s admitting it with dignity.

The sold-out show at the quite small venue marked the final point of a three-day-long promo marathon for FITZSIMMONS‘ upcoming new album Lions. A marathon that also included a NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION interview which you can read in early 2014. And since he’s already in town why not playing a small club show with just him, his guitar and his voice. Reduction at is best. And frankly, you could have asked anybody in the audience – there was never any need for anything more.

Finding the right words to describe this event is a tough challenge. Pardon the author of these lines but the surrealistic beauty of each and every second of this event is really quite hard to put in vocabulary. It was WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS in his purest, reduced to his songs. A man so full of honesty, sensitivity and well, laughter. Yes, he’s an entertainer. He might not know it but he really is. And he managed what not many performers in Berlin can. He silenced the audience. No chatter, barely any smartphones. No use for hashtags. For the duration of this solo show all that matters was the beauty of this music.

The songwriter presented a fine selection of old classics and previously unreleased songs from Lions. Still, the painful little anthems of his morbid 2008 masterpiece Sparrow And The Crow marked the emotional highlights of the show. Earlier he told NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION how hard he still finds it to play a song like I Don’t Feel It Anymore. He’s fighting, we can all feel it. Everything Has Changed got the same effect. The pain is choking you. The distance between artist and audience already vanished away by this point. You Still Hurt Me is terrific, Beautiful Girl from 2011’s Gold In The Shadow as well.

And between the painful melancholia FITZSIMMONS provides dry humor with his on-stage-announcements. Laughter fills the audience, especially when he covers BRYAN ADAMS’ classic Everyhing I Do with consequence. Same goes for Wonderwall by OASIS. Even the songwriter finds it depressing to return to his normal songs after this. “But after all, it’s still a WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS show” he says.

And that’s what it is. In the end he jumps into the audience, finishing with his classic Passion Play in the middle of the crowd. Some of the people already started talking again by this time due to the impending end of the show. After all it was just a dream, a short break in time. WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS gave us a moment to catch our breath, a moment to reflect on ourselves and previous behaviour. In the end you can’t help but smile. And who would have guessed that in the beginning. Hope’s not entirely lost yet.