Cape Town – I was ushered through the Kirstenbosch Gardens in the cooling sun of Sunday 15 February 2015 and rushed back stage to meet Michael Rosenberg who many of you will know as Passenger (the band actually broke up in 2009 but kept the name) the top 10 recording artist that has recently completed a whirlwind tour of South Africa.
I asked him some quick questions and then sat on the grass a few metres away from him while he performed. It was as singularly wonderful as it sounds.
First, here’s the interview:
Channel 24: Welcome to Cape Town Mike, you’re completing your South African tour with this show, tell us what some of your favourite moments have been so far?
M.R: It’s hard to put my finger on one moment but Johannesburg was wonderful. And so was Durban, you know to come out here and have this amount of support is so unexpected. Heart on Fire didn’t do as well as the last record in most territories, but South Africa is one of the places it did really well. I think, and I don’t know if it’s because of Searching for Sugar Man, but South Africans seem to not have to go with what’s popular but what they like and that’s refreshing.
Channel 24: That’s so great to hear and what about the local food, have you tried any local dishes that you enjoy?
M.R: We have had a lot of good food, I don’t know if it’s been very indigenous but it’s all been lovely. Actually we tried this one that was likes condensed milk but not?
Channel 24: Milk Tart?
M.R: Yes! That’s it, it was good.
Channel 24: And we saw recently that you went on safari, what animals did you see?
M.R: Well, we didn’t see any of the big cats, so that was disappointing, but we did see giraffes and Rhinos and Kudus. It’s all so amazing, we don’t have that in England, it’s all like Badgers (laughs) so that was incredible.
Channel 24: Seeing as though this is the last show, would you like to say anything to the fans that have come to see you in South Africa?
M.R: I just want to say thank you, to each and every person who came out. I mean to come out here, to a new place and receive so much love has been such an experience.
Channel 24: One last thing, a little something for our bearded editor, do you have any beard growing tips?
M.R: Just let it grow, never cut it. Because you’ll trim on the one side and then you’ll want to cut it on the other side and it’s like a box of frogs. Just let it grow.
Channel 24: Your beard is magnificent.
M.R: Only from far away, if you get closer you’ll see it’s a mess.
Channel 24: (I) don’t believe you.
M.R: *Chuckle* Trust me you don’t want to get closer.
Then I shuffled away and sat in the rapidly disappearing sun and waited for the show.
I arrived early to the grassy knoll and watched as people streamed in. Ahead of the crowd a blonde mother ran with a troop of kids towards me at full speed. She pounced onto the grass in the perfect spot in relation to the stage, then opened her blanket and laid her snacks (there were a lot of them) in less than a minute. Then turned around to the stunned crowd and said "Yeah, watch out for me at One Direction". Total legend. I had to take a photo of her and her family.
Witness the organisation (they’re all in matching passenger shirts, because she made them all change right there and then)
Back to the show which was beautiful. Start to finish perfection. It was just Mike on stage with a guitar.
He was funny and smart and open. Telling the thousands of people the stories behind his songs as well as sharing cheesy jokes and swearing like a sailor. He got the raucous crowd to keep so quiet that one could hear a pin drop and then hyped them up so much that a man took off his clothes. Almost. It was the best kind of roller-coaster. If he comes back, do yourself a favour and go see him.
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