-- 5 November 2005 --

2005 Index


DATE: 5 November 2005
McCabe's Guitar Shop
Los Angeles, CA, USA





Submitted by Tom:

Bruce was in excellent form, but did very little chatting with the audience. He was careful to identify all the new songs. His intro to This Is Baghdad was the only substantive one, talking about his trip and some of the things he saw. He commented on seeing a US convoy going by, with humvees and troop carriers and then, at the end, one lone pick-up truck with a young soldier sitting nervously in the back behind a machine gun - Bruce wondered aloud: who'd you piss off to get that job? He said he was getting emotional thinking about it and wanted to save the emotion for the song.

One woman yelled out "We love you" and another woman yelled out "I love you more". Bruce replied something to the effect of: "let's not argue about that... on the other hand..." and that got a laugh. The final song Mystery really blew everyone away - and several people were heard commenting on the way out that they couldn't wait for it to show up on an album.

Adam Alsop contributed the photo and setlist scan, and adds:

Saturday we showed up before McCabe's closed and ran into Bruce as he came in. We shook hands and I said "I told you we'd be here". While my wife used the establishment's "facilities", I had the wonderful opportunity to hear part of Bruce's soundcheck (Pacing The Cage) before McCabe's manager asked us to step outside (very politely, I might add - and at the end of the night, he apologized again for having to ask us to leave). The crowd at McCabe's was very enthusiastic, bringing Bruce back out for two encores.

After the show, I asked Bruce's sound man if I could get the setlist (I didn't see that Bruce had one the night before, as he was keeping it on the console by his water bottle) - and he asked if I wanted his copy (of course I said yes). Then when we were waiting for Bruce after the show (we got lucky with a parking spot right behind the tour bus) Leslie came out and asked if I wanted the setlist because no one had asked for it. Bruce's copy of the setlist was a bit fancier than the other one. When Bruce finally came out, he was gracious enough to do a bit more signing (including the setlist) and snapped another picture with my wife and I. Amazingly, Bruce even remarked that he remembered that my wife had worn a pentacle the previous night and asked if she was Wiccan (she replied that she's Pagan, but not strictly Wiccan, but she felt honored that he had noticed and remembered).

TicketsLarry Dunn contributed the ticket scan and adds:

A wonderful night for an intimate date with Bruce Cockburn. McCabe's in Santa Monica is a storied LA guitar shop with what can only be loosely described as a "concert hall" in the back - room just enough for a small stage and 150 concert-goers. Having seen Cockburn in a variety of settings over the years, I knew this would be a rewardingly different experience from all the other venues.

We arrived a mere hour before the concert and still managed fourth row seats only 10-12 feet away from the stage. As with the rest of the tour, it was an all acoustic solo show offering a great list of old and new tunes, including plenty of Speechless selections from the new disk.

As can be seen here, Cockburn played an amazing 24 songs, including 5 from two encores in a nearly 3-hour performance. Being familiar with most of his music, I am almost certain the set list is complete and accurate, though identifying instrumental songs obviously relies on somewhat less clear recollection than do songs with lyrics. Fortunately, Cockburn regularly helped out by offering song titles in his comments.

To numerous calls of "We love you!" throughout the night, Cockburn responded at one point early on, "Now, let's not turn that into a contest." Then, after a pause, he quickly added a quiet, "Or..." playfully accepting the compliment. He spoke passionately about his trip last year to Bagdad, before playing This Is Baghdad, eventually interrupting his comments on the subject by saying that he better leave the emotion for the music. He offered an underlying observation about the situation, noting that no matter who you're talking about - Iraqis, American soldiers, etc. - those orchestrating this war clearly don't "give a shit" about any of them. One gratefully gets the sense that his inclusion of Put It In Your Heart, This Is Baghdad, If A Tree Falls and If I Had A Rocket Launcher indicates that he has not left, nor does he plan to leave, his thoughts about world politics to the past - in or out of his music. Still, his musing that it might be interesting to be around for another 400 years or so "to see how it all works out" reflects the sense of hope that is a part of his worldview.

The venue never was smaller than when Cockburn invited his audience, by looking out into the crowd (he played closed-eyed most of the night), to sing along with Wondering Where The Lions Are, and we all gladly obliged. He closed with a more recent song, Mystery, saying that to do so was "not show business wisdom... if that's not too oxymoronic!" The night ended with a laugh, some final wonderful playing, and a rousing (standing) ovation of mutual thanks. For a long-time fan, it was the kind of concert that you wonder if you should make your last, but just know you won't.



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2005 Index

This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.