The above set list is accurate since I obtained a printed one from one of the crew after the show. He actually went out of his way to get one for me. I must say that all of Bruce's crew are just as nice and helpful as he is (more about that in a minute). The concert was held at the Buskirk Chumley Theater in Bloomington, Indiana. The show was scheduled to begin at 8 pm but due to a conflict with an orchestra practice, the show was pushed back until 9 pm (certainly not Bruce's fault although he did apologize during the concert for the wait). The concert began about 10 minutes after 9 pm and Bruce went right into You Don't Have To Play The Horses which was appropriate for Kentucky Derby Day. The crowd was very enthusiastic and supportive but none of the "request shouting" I've seen reported from other gigs. I think we all genuinely appreciated whatever Bruce gave us and couldn't bring ourselves to demand even more. After one song Bruce humbly said, "Thank you" to which a lady in the audience shouted back, "No, thank you Bruce". That brief dialog best describes this audience.
Bruce seemed in no hurry and had several great stories to tell, most of which are a rehash of what you can read from other post-concert notes on this tour (origins of Feast of Fools for example). He did say that he's singing Dialogue With The Devil after so many years because he "finally understands it" and in introducing Call It Democracy he talked about the Reagan era and how Reagan was proud to be a "contra". Bruce said, "I wonder if he even knew what that meant? I doubt it" to much laughter and applause. In introducing his new instrumental he said that he had invited submissions for titling the song but he didn't receive very many suggestions and that the ones he did receive "frankly weren't very good". Everyone laughed. He went on to say that this was his fault because he'd been lazy and then told the audience that the title was End Of All Rivers. Bassist Steve Lucas and percussionist (Ben Riley) are confident and outstanding musicians (I am sure Bruce would have nothing less). Each of them got several solo applauses. Of course we all know what kind of guitarist Bruce is. The three of them together peaked with Night Train. Steve's playing of the standup electric bass and Ben's rhythmic drum playing along with Bruce's penetrating guitar licks was incredible. Cockburn's voice has just gotten better and better and as the night wore on became a highlight in and of itself.
Pure honey. The show ended just after midnight (taking into account the 40 minute intermission, he played for about 2.5 hours which I think is better than the "other" Bruce!) The stage set was minimal but pleasing, one boxed crate stamped "to New Orleans" and another "to Timbuktu" and three tall candelabras with one large lit white candle on each. Even the stage lighting transitions were so well executed that I took notice which is something that is usually not commented on unless there is a problem. The only disappointment to the whole night was that it was not sold out which is an embarrassment to the Bloomington area. One excuse is that it was graduation week but I'm not sure that's good enough.
"Their" loss was my (and my son's) gain. We got aisle seats, on the right facing the stage, second row. We were literally 20 feet from Bruce. How great is that! A personal highlight was a signature I got for my wife. She became ill and unable to attend. I explained the situation to one of the crew and after the show he took my wife's unused ticket to Bruce who signed it, "L--- Sorry you couldn't make it. Hope to see you next time. God Bless. Bruce Cockburn". What class - what a treasure. My wife couldn't believe it. It will be a framed memento for many years to come. "No, thank you Bruce".