“Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.”
(From: And death shall have no dominion by Dylan Thomas)
If you know me, you know that I’m not easily impressed. I tolerate a lot of things, I’m open-minded about changes and new ideas and I always give people the benefit of the doubt, but once you’ve lost my regard (or my attention, or even my respect), it’s incredibly hard to get it back.Imagine this: My sister and I are at our third Chris Isaak concert. This man’s concerts are some of the very best live experiences I’ve ever had, apart from *Live* and maybe Metallica (yes, my taste in music is very diverse). So we usually don’t really pay attention during the opening act. We simply want whoever it is to keep it short, stop trying to be funny (nobody’s interested in your jokes, get over it!), sing a couple of songs while we wait and please do take our polite applause as an encouragement – for you to get off stage as soon as possible.
On walks some guy with a guitar… “Hello, my name is Paul Freeman, I’m Welsh.”
Well, the Chris Isaak concert was brilliant. We had so much fun, there are no words that would do it the justice that it deserves. The man, the music, the band… even the silly dance moves – I loved every second of it!
So, I wake up the day after this brilliant concert and I’m still feeling great about this wonderful night. I’m singing in the shower and while I’m having breakfast it suddenly dawns on me: I’m not singing a Chris Isaak song! The song that’s been in my head all morning is called Tightrope and it’s by Paul Freeman…
“There's no way back if I let go
You’re where I’ll land
So here I go
Cause I just want to live
And I just wanna feel it”
(From: Tightrope by Paul Freeman)
Yes, I enjoyed his five-song mini concert, and so did the rest of the crowd, judging from the louder-than-average applause after, and the attentive silence during the songs. But only the morning after do I realise exactly how much of an impression this man has made. I HAVE to know more!
I am absolutely certain that I had never even heard his name until about 2 weeks ago. And now, I just want him to come back to Belgium and play for me again – I feel as if I didn’t pay enough attention the first time and I’d like to experience it again to see if he can impress me a second time.
So what is it about Paul Freeman that made him able to wipe away a wonderful Chris Isaak concert and make his way into my subconscious? His boyish good looks and radiant smile? Although he definitely has those, it’s the music that impressed me.
First of all, it all seems so very genuine. That’s the biggest cliché ever and it could very well be an act, but his words really spoke to me. His lyrics are smart without trying to be complicated or clever or heavy-hearted. They are intelligent without pretending to be the greatest thing ever written. I love simplicity, but I love intelligence even more!
“It's easier to compromise when everything has gone
And it's hard to make amends when all the damages are done
And to everyone I've ever hurt, I'm sorry
But I was wrong”
(From: That’s how it is by Paul Freeman)
When I got a chance to meet Paul after the concert, he was just as sweet and genuine as he seemed to be on stage and he’s as intelligent as his lyrics. He won my undying respect a few days later when I found out that he likes Dylan Thomas. Thomas was known to be a great admirer of William Blake which almost makes us kindred spirits. (Hey, can you believe I just found a link between Paul Freeman and Richard Armitage? I knew there was a reason I liked this man!)
|Right back at you, Paul!!|
Another thing that caught my attention is the way Paul sings his songs. Every time he started playing, it was as if he went into a world of his own. There was such dedication and joy in the way he performed; it makes me smile to even think about it. But don’t take my word for it, here’s the proof. This is Paul’s performance of Tightrope at the concert that I attended in Brussels.
It’s that joy that woke the room up and Paul managed to grab the attention of people who would usually just see him as the reason why the main act of the evening wasn’t there yet. By the third song, he’d won them over. When he finally walked off the stage, I felt a sense of loss…and the applause continued longer than I have ever seen it last for an unknown opening act.