By Cami Gore

Every single song told a new story. Every single story brought different emotions. Every single emotion made D.C. love Passenger even more. Needless to say, Passenger did not disappoint at the 9:30 Club on October 16.

Opening for Passenger was folk singer/songwriter Ken Yates. Yates shared with the audience that he got married on Saturday and was supposed to be on his honeymoon. He joked that he made up for it by writing song “Roll Me On Home” for his wife.

Passenger opened with “Fairytales and Firesides” off his 2010 album “Divers & Submarines.” The stage was kept simple, solely featuring Passenger with an acoustic guitar that was frequently swapped out during the show. Blue and purple lights circulated the stage and shined through the crowd. Nothing more was needed because his voice was the star of the show.

On top of the stories told through his music, Passenger introduced songs with a story. University of Maryland computer science graduate Zachary Portnoff appreciated that “he told stories about the songs that he sings” and said “he did that last year” too when Portnoff previously saw him at the 9:30 Club. 

Before playing “David,” Passenger reflected on times before “Let Her Go” came out, which Passenger jokingly said was his one and only hit single. The audience laughed and Passenger remarked “It’s funny because it’s true.”

Before “Let Her Go” was released, Passenger was a street singer for five years. He talked about a homeless man named David that he met while on the road, who told him his life story every day. He then turned the experience into the beautiful song “David.”

His “one and only hit single” got the entire audience singing along. Winners of the Mix 107.3 radio contest for Passenger tickets Lillian Burgos and Allison Castel agreed that it was their favorite song of the night. Castel entered the radio contest because she “like[s] Passenger a lot” and her favorite song of his is “Let Her Go,” which she said was rewarding to hear live.

University of Maryland freshman communication major Gemma Menges noted that Passenger “commented on social issues which made [her] respect him even more. You can tell his perspectives are reflected in his music.”

Before playing his favorite song, “To Be Free,” Passenger told a story about his grandparents being Jewish refugees to Switzerland, and then coming to America after World War II. He talked about the terrifying experience and then reflected on the fact that it’s 2018 and still happening now. “Washington, please keep open hearts and open minds,” he asked.

Passenger went on to talk about the current divide of the world. He pondered the fact that it’s a pretty funny time we are living in before stating, “and by funny I mean pretty f*cking terrifying.” He then asked the audience if for 5 minutes we could not be divided while he sang “Scare Away The Dark.”

One of the most special moments of the concert was when after the song concluded and Passenger left the stage but the crowd continued to sing the bridge. After around 5 minutes passed with the audience still singing, Passenger ran back on and sang along with his fans.

Although Passenger is known for hit “Let Her Go” it is far from being his best song, in my opinion. I encourage fans to explore all of his music and appreciate his talent in storytelling, which he especially demonstrated that night.

Featured Photo Credit: Passenger on stage at 9:30 Club (Cami Gore/Bloc Reporter).

Cami Gore is a freshman journalism and dance major and can be reached at

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