-- 4 August 2006 --

2006 Index


DATE: 4 August 2006
VENUE/SHOW: The Garden Theatre
LOCATION: Saratoga, California, USA
SHOW COMMENTS: Gary Craig on percussion, Julie Wolf on accordion and keyboards. Supported by Sarah Harmer and Shawn Colvin.



Submitted by Mark Medvin:

Bruce came on at approx. 9:10 pm and played straight through till 10:20. At one point, Bruce made a comment to inform us of a curfew imposed by the Winery, and after a negative response from the audience Bruce quickly added that we should thank the Winery for having him and allowing us to enjoy this night. Bruce invited everyone to the Music Hall in San Francisco for the next night.

[During her set] Shawn was talking to a little boy who asked her to do a children's song about living on the moon. She asked the boy if he would sing with her and she sat him on the stool on stage and they sang together. It was really hysterical. Shawn is great. Very talented. Shawn's daughter Cali was in the audience and she ran up on stage when Shawn brought the little boy on stage. She was a little jealous. Shawn's encore was left up to a vote by the audience by their response to either Avalanche or Solitaire. Shawn made a comment that it was nice to have enough popular songs that you can't do them all. The audience voted in Avalanche, which was the encore.

Joseph Siegel adds:

Show Short, Cold Night

Since the releases of You've Never Seen Everything and Speechless I had been anxiously awaiting Bruce's new music, since I know he would see more of everything and not remain speechless for long. Gleefully I plunked down the cash for Life Short, Call Now the day it was released to the public, and have devoured the deeply flavourful, sumptuous songs within a few times. Perhaps its because I love his music so much and have been an avid appreciator since 1970, perhaps because I'm a bit of a musician myself, I already know the songs by heart. So it was with boundless delight I invited 7 of my best friends to their first Bruce Cockburn concert at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. We traversed the winding, steep trail to the concert site and ate dinner on the patio overlooking the entire South San Francisco Bay area, paying way too much for wine (but hey its a Bruce Cockburn concert, the event of the year!) and progressively buttoning our shirts nearly up to the collar as a cold wind descended.

Because of the Gestapo like tactics and ineptitude of the event staff we totally missed the opening act Sarah Harmer (another Canadian singer/songwriter) but in the distance, under the increasing wail of the wind I could hear that she had a great voice. Shawn Colvin was awarded a full set of her female pathos revelling, the highlight of which was an impromptu duet with a cute little blond haired boy from the audience singing some contemporary kids' tune about the moon. I couldnt help noticing a drum set replete with chimes and bells and a three keyboard rig on the other side of the stage. This was particularly strange as the concert had been billed as a Solo Acoustic Show. By the end of Shawn's heart chilling set, the chill of night had descended and the wind danced continually through the pines that surround the amphitheatre.

At last around 9:10 Bruce Sauntered out of the darkness, led on by a stage hand with a flashlight, as if the entourage of an ancient sage to the scattered accompaniment of BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE!!! from the nearly two thousand in attendance. As he grabbed one of the 6 or 7 guitars he had on stage from his guitar tech two other people made their way to the drums and key board respectively. I recognised both from his previous tour. It was Gary Craig and Julie Wolf. It was as if Bruce was saying, hey I've got a brand new record out, the world is in chaos. Screw acoustic!

So great to hear his soulful voice and poetic pointed lyrics again! To get the frigid audience a little warmer he
performed Wondering Where the Lions Are as a sing along. Arguably his most recognisable song, along with If I Had A Rocket Launcher, at least half the audience sang back, some in perfect harmony. Bruce paused after the thunderous applause and announced that he had just released a new album and hoped a couple of you have bought it. And played the title track Life Short, Call Now. As many times as I've heard Bruce play live over the years its always great to hear his newest songs since their inspiration is clearly fresher in his mind. And what a perfect anthem for these strange times that could very well be the End of Days. It also reminds me of something I read reputing that Bruce is the reincarnation of a famous Japanese Zen poet. Life Short, Call Now almost sounds like a Zen Koan.

It's amazing how well Bruce can still play guitar even at his tender gray blanketed age. Bruce then got all political on our asses with Tell The Universe wherein he basically psychoanalyses and tears our country's leader a new one. Along the same theme of abuse of power Bruce went back to his last release for Put It In Your Heart. He then formally introduced Gary Craig on drums and Julie Wolf on Keys and accordion. Someone from the audience yelled out, "Whats the name of your band?" Bruce laughed, and answered, "You dont want to know" and Julie piped in, "Really, you dont want to know." I'm sure there's an interesting tour bus story there we may never

Bruce paused to praise being able to share the bill with Shawn Colvin, then brought her on to sing back up
vocals on Last Night Of The World. He then launched into a very psychodelic-infused rendition of the instrumental The End Of All Rivers replete with chimes, echoplex guitar solo and a nice organ solo by Julie. Bruce mentioned the venue curfew and jibed with the audience about curfews being meant to be broken.

Bruce closed the show with Mystery which is probably my favourite song from the new release. At least 5 clearly clued in Cockburn fans in the audience stood up and waved side to side when he sang the last verse of the song.
Pleased by the audience cheers (or are these things all pre-planned?) Bruce and the group reappeared shortly and Bruce picked up his National Steel Dobro and leapt into what I know to be one of his old favourites (he has a thing for trucks apparently) Dust And Diesel about his time in Nicaragua. The evening closed with Wait No More. I think he had a bus to catch.



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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.