Submitted by Ann and Emmett Pearce:
Bruce was incredible. This is the most relaxed
I've seen him since 1986. He looked like and acted like the "old"
Bruce. Smiling a lot, laughing more than what I've seen him do since '86.
He looked as though he had a happy spirit. He looked touched and happy to
be back in Toronto again to see old friends. The crowd was very responsive
to him. People were yelling out songs they wanted him to sing. It turned into
a joke as the crowd at one point bombarded with him song suggestions. Bruce
didn't seem to mind and started laughing. Someone even yelled out, "Franklin
theme" in reference to the kid's show where Bruce sings the theme. Bruce's
response was a definite, "No." He commented how you can tell the
demographics of the crowd by their song suggestions.
He talked more than the last few tours. His voice was strong and what more can one say about the way he plays the acoustic guitar. We spotted Steven Fearing in the crowd. As you Bruce fans will remember, Steven was the opening act during one of Bruce's tours and is 1/3 of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Bernie Finklestein was wandering around before the show and stopped to chat with someone he knew (who happened to be sitting behind us). We heard him jokingly say, "I'm sure you'll enjoy the show. It's very musical and you'll love Bruce's band."
There's nothing negative that can be said about the show. He had a nice mixture of songs. The new songs were incredible, especially Messenger Wind. It was a wonderful evening.
More comments from Paul Aitken:
Walking into Convocation Hall gave the evening an immediately good vibe, the presence of one set of monitors and three gleaming acoustic guitars heightened my mood, our seats behind the soundboard capped it off. I spotted the talented young Canadian songwriter Hawksley Workman a few seats down from mine and was happy to see other musicians checking out the show. I've been playing giutar for 17 years and have always admired Burce's playing from a technical standpoint, and always strive to infuse my own playing with the same heightened emotional content.
Bruce's intro to the evening's first tune was
exceptional and I rode a great musical wave throughout the first set, broken
only by Bruce's funny and
poignant anecdotes and the earnest and polite requests of one young audience member for If I Had A Rocket Launcher. I came back ready
for more in the second set and, of course, wasn't disappointed. Hearing two of my favourite Bruce tunes done solo (My Beat & Call It Democracy) was a real treat. The same audience that couldn't quite get up the courage to sing along in the first set certainly got it together for Wondering Where The Lions Are.
Beginning the encores with Pacing The Cage, one of the most beautiful songs ever written (by Bruce or anyone else for that matter) at the request of an audience member showed a great deal of class, his delivery on the song was impeccable. Peggys Kitchen Wall kind of blindsided me as somehow this tune had slipped my mind completely, I instantly remembered it though. Finally Bruce granted the youngster's wishes with If I Had A Rocket Launcher (the kid was polite enough to say thank-you, this got almost as much applause as the song!!)
This was the first show I'd ever seen where the performer was cheered and accepted the opportunity for a double encore, to end with a new tune was a great touch. I came home (to London) and played my acoustic guitar for two days straight. What a great way to start my 29th year. Thanks Bruce!