Submitted by Reg Brick. Stephen Connella adds:
I was amused at how subdued and seemly conservative the Canadian audiences were compared to shows I've seen in the US. People hardly rocked their heads to the music. But I'm sure some were at least tapping a foot. We were very curious to see how he would be recieved back in Canada on return from a long tour around the US and we were excited to see him at the Royal Theater in Victoria. In our minds, he is a one of Canada's great national treasures. However, his reception in Seattle was overwhelmingly stronger!! Many standing ovations during the show. When he left the stage at the Royal, I didn't think anyone was going to stand up.
Bruce didn't talk much at all at during the show, and I thought it may have been a bit of "tour burn out". IN fact, all the Canadian shows I saw felt a bit "tame" to us compared to other Cockburn shows I've seen in California. Also, his guitar playing seemed a bit subdued except on a couple of expected 2nd set rockers. Many of the songs were performed exactly like on the studio album except with less guitar energy and volume than is even present on the studio albums. Knowing Bruce's awesome capabilities on guitar and all the other musicians capabilities on the stage with him, it felt like a lot of the time no one got let off the leash musically, and it was frustrating not to see Bruce take longer solos and interact and improvise more with Julie Wolf and Steve Lucas, who are both stellar musicians.
Julie's solos were very fresh, energetic, and surprising, and a nice addition. During one of her solos, she and Ben Lucas had this awesome interaction between keyboard and drums that was very exciting and inspired and just opened the door a crack to what could happen musically between these great musicians if they would just "go off road" a bit more now and then during the show. And how great to have the harmonies sung! I've only seen Bruce with Lucas and Riley or solo and I have yet to hear Lucas put down a harmony.
However, all in all, the show was very professional, perfectly executed, and exquisitely beautiful, and, even if it was our third time in six nights seeing Bruce come out and open the show with "Tried and Tested", it's still Cockburn, and light and love always seem to get a bit "thicker" when he steps on stage and plays. Cockburn has truly become one of the greatest philosophical/spiritual Bards of our time. My only "left field" theory for why the playing seemed relatively tame and subdued this tour was that Cockburn may have been very concerned and focused on having the lyrics understood this time round, as the new album and its prose are so timely, meaningful, and profound. The energy of the shows did seem much more lyrically oriented than other shows I've seen where there was much more volume and energy around the instrumentation and jamming. In Seattle, I yelled, "I'm not 50 yet, turn it up!" Bruce and some of the audience cracked up and, clapping his hands, Bruce came to the mike and to the sound guy in back said, "well Bob, that goes to you." It's live music, and I think most of us want to feel it as well as understand it. Being there live is about energy and presence.