Submitted by Steve McAslan, Scott Paget, and David Newton. First two photos by Doug Small, second two by George Sproule.
Last night, urbane Canadian Mr Bruce Cockburn entertained a respectable throng of Scots in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall with selections from his latest long-player. He was accompanied in this endeavour by elfin keyboard player Ms Julie Wolf. Mr Cockburn had at his disposal a fine array of acoustic guitars, which he played with customary skill and imagination. Ms Wolf contributed subtle and well-chosen keyboard sounds, and often lovely background vocals.
Vintage favourites Lovers In A Dangerous Time and Wondering Where The Lions Are were followed by a new song introduced as a sequel to the latter, although 25 years late: Tried And Tested. The singer informed us that he had attempted to persuade North American radio to play his next tune, Open, but with limited success. To this end, he had made a promotional film in New York's Times Square. It was filmed at 5.30 one Sunday morning, when the empty square was apparently reminiscent of a scene from Tom Cruise's film Vanilla Sky.
Mr C introduced Wait No More as an exercise in Kurdish rockabilly. I am not too familiar with this musical genre, but the exotic guitar runs and Ms W's moody accordian playing were probably a fair representation. Early in his career, we were told, Mr Cockburn auditioned some of his songs for a prominent New York publisher, who was apparently unimpressed but still offered to employ him teach him how to write hits. Among a variety of rules (all of which Mr C feels he has frequently broken) guaranteed to produce a hit record (or toilet paper, according to Mr C) was the advice to repeat the title of the song at least 4 times. Mr Cockburn admitted that his next song, Postcards From Cambodia, was particularly remiss in this regard, as the title was not even mentioned once.
Ms Wolf took a solo in Trickle Down which she certainly made the most of, combining appropriately trickling piano runs with pleasantly discordant chords. The undoubted highlight of the show (and of the record) for me was the title track, You've Never Seen Everything. Moody and tense in the verse with lots of interesting keyboard sounds, and a welcome catharsis in the warm and hopeful occasional chorus. Mr C's pronunciation of the word "pitchfork" was particularly moving tonight.
The gig consisted of Bruce and Julie Wolf, both in relaxed mood (marry me Julie!!). The crowd really picked on the excitement of the second half and, I think, lifted Bruce & Julie to greater things. Julie played keyboards and accordion and sang while Bruce swapped between his two 6-string guitars (one open-tuned) and the 12-string guitar. The combination is outstanding, with both having the space to really turn in some virtuoso performances where appropriate. Bruce commented that End Of All Rivers is about the sea and not some apocalyptic vision.