View Full Version : So something amazing happened the other day...

Mark S
10-04-2008, 03:08 PM
On Thursday, I got to play ukulele with Damien Rice in front of 300 people and got a standing ovation.

It still hasn't really sunken in yet :P

You might be wondering why I'm telling you this...
I hope to explain this eventually...
And I hope you'll bear with me while I do...

I'm working with a student society in Trinity College Dublin and we had organised for Damien to come and play some songs and say some words in the Chapel - a really nice venue - for the first week of college when all the Freshmen arrive. He was on a break from gigging and as such didn't really want this to be a concert. He agreed to come as he thought it would be something different, and had no idea or plan for how it would turn out.

Meanwhile, as I said, I was working this society; Everyone was working incredibly hard during the week to run loads of events, clean and lift lots of things and try keep lots of Freshers happy; We were all naturally stressed as a result. We were all in College for most of the week (In Dublin most people will live at home while going to college and we didn't see much of home during the week) and I had brought my uke in (the one which some of you helped me purchase here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5552)).

The uke was fantastic for de-stressing - everyone commented on it; Very few had ever seen or heard one live and loved the relaxing tone. We had many sing alongs and I had many jams with other musicians whilst wandering about strumming. The uke really got around :P It kept a lot of people sane throughout the week. I joked on Thursday morning about asking Damien for a ukulele duet, if only to see his reaction. I did in fact think it would be cool if it did happen, but wasn't optimistic about my chances :P

My friends in the society said I should ask him. After a while I began to think they were right and I figured I didn't have much to lose, so I approached him during his sound-check and explain the situation to him, and how I thought it would be a nice gift to all the students who had worked so hard during the week and who were enjoying the event to play this song especially for them. I remember walking up, introducing myself while holding my uke case and saying "this may seem a bit strange, but..." :P

He was very cool about it - an incredibly nice guy. He was a bit taken aback obviously, but he wasn't so much sceptical as curious as to how it would work... I suggested Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (I had played that once or twice to relax myself and fellow society people) and we tried it out (he singing and on guitar, me with picking and ocassional stumming accompaniment on my uke) - he said it sounded perfect. So we opened the doors and let the show begin.

It was a cool gig; he gave some very interesting insights into songwriting and played some great versions of seldom heard songs (also a quick tutorial on changing a guitar string when his inconveniently broke). I'm not the biggest of his fans but I admire him as a performer and he certainly performed well. The time came for the last song; He explained the situation to the crowd (ie that we had rehearsed for about 37 seconds) and I went up and took a seat next to him.

It was an incredible experience; a beautiful rendition of a beautiful song in a beautiful venue. I did my best to pick along and by all accounts it worked well... I have yet to hear a decent recording of it but Apparently there's a HD video with soundboard audio to come so fingers crossed :) There's currently a very bad partial recording on youtube but I'm waiting for better ones (one of which should be out tomorrow).

Lots of stuff happened that week and a lot of us needed a boost. It meant a lot to me for a number of obvious reasons and to others who were listening. I am so glad that I had such a wonderful opportunity.

Here's what strikes me and this is where this forum comes in; I've only been playing the uke for about a month. I made the decision to buy one based on being lucky enough to randomly find a hostel in Vienna that had one hanging on the wall. I made the decision to buy a better one (specifically a solid wood model) based on testimonials - many from this site - and advice - almost all from this site. So I guess I feel gratitude for the people who helped me out.

Lots more specific things combined to make this cool thing happen; if it had been a guitar, it wouldn't have been as interesting musically. If it had still been my cheap €20 uke I probably wouldn't have brought it to college or had to confidence to ask him.

I'm more than rambling now, and this post is way too long as it is (thanks for reading btw), but I guess I just wanted to share it with you guys even just as a nice story. I've had my uke for just over a week and already it has led to great things and a really fun, musical week; let's hope it leads to many more :)



10-04-2008, 03:12 PM
Very cool! Congrats! Hopefully you'll find a vid of it.

10-04-2008, 03:32 PM
Great story! Thanks for writing in. And do post the video once you are satisfied with the sound quality. You got me very curious!

10-04-2008, 06:06 PM
Congrats on your experience. I wish I could have that kind of luck...some day. :)

10-04-2008, 06:30 PM
Nice story Mark. Keep us updated regarding the video.

10-04-2008, 07:22 PM
Congratulations! That must have been a great experience! Looking forward to seeing the video.

10-04-2008, 08:32 PM
Wow, what a great experience!!! Lucky you. I was curious as to who Damien Rice is, so here is a link to a live recording session of his song 'Volcano' (http://video.google.com/videosearch?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=damien+rice&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&um=1&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title#) .

I visited Trinity Dublin and toured the campus years...I mean YEARS ago. Beautiful campus.

10-04-2008, 08:34 PM
Wow, what a great experience!!! Lucky you. I was curious as to who Damien Rice is, so here is a link I found to a live recording session of his song 'Volcano (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2621255323149751968&ei=rV_oSMvbNJCQqQKVysGYAQ&q=damien+rice&vt=lf)' .

I visited Trinity Dublin and toured the campus years...I mean YEARS ago. Beautiful campus.

10-04-2008, 08:50 PM
Your post was great and no you didn't ramble.....that's a wonderful story and what a uplifting experience for you. I admire your nerve at asking him and your confidence in yourself and your playing ability......I can't even get up the nerve to record a video, let alone ask a professional to play along with me.

10-04-2008, 10:01 PM
Very cool story! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to the video.

10-05-2008, 05:10 AM
What a great experience. Hope to see a video of it.

10-05-2008, 06:43 AM
These are the experiences that highlight our days on Earth. Congratulations! I'm very happy for you!

10-05-2008, 08:37 AM
lucky lucky lucky! damien rice is an awesome artist. i really hope you find video of this event. congrats!:D

10-05-2008, 09:37 AM
I guess this is something we all wish we could do. :) Good job man.

Mark S
11-05-2008, 10:44 AM
Well I guess it's been a while :P

Sorry for the delay. No luck yet getting the HD video, but I found a decent enough Youtube version, and nice photos. I thought I'd post em up, seeing as people were asking.

Thanks a lot for all the wonderful comments! :)



And here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWUQ_-AW6o4

Sound quality isn't great and you can't hear the uke too clearly at points, but it'll do for now :)


11-05-2008, 10:47 AM
Nice !

11-05-2008, 11:57 AM
Awesome venue. Nice job.

11-05-2008, 02:34 PM
Very cool, and what a gorgeous place!

11-06-2008, 06:31 PM
Thanks for sharing Mark.

ke leo
11-06-2008, 08:21 PM
Great story. Thanks for sharing!

11-06-2008, 08:22 PM
awesome photos and video. you lucky guy!!!