Tour dates & setlists

-- 15 July 2017 --

2017 Index

General information


15 July 2017


Vancouver Island MusicFest


Courtenay, BC. Canada

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Solo -

Also, 1:00pm - Writer Workshop - The Writer is the Witness - The Grierson Stage

Bruce Cockburn - Vancouver Island MusicFest 2017

Bruce Cockburn - Vancouver Island MusicFest 2017 - photo Terry A. Ferrell


Comments/further information

Setlist and comments submitted to the CockburnProject by Audrey Pearson.

[Before playing new song Forty Years In The Wilderness,] Bruce talked about how he has new album coming out Bone on Bone, which doesn’t mean what you think. When he told the title to the person doing the artwork (Michael Wrycraft), Michael said “Oooh. Sexy.” Bruce said it refers to having no cartilage.

After The Rain - Bruce explained that this came from his “Bee Gees” period. Then he played the chorus of Staying Alive, complete with falsetto. Yes. Really. I burst out laughing, and so did many others. He said he wasn’t going to do disco, but the influence still crept in.

Audrey Pearson - Reporting in from the Vancouver Island Musicfest….

Workshop – The Writer is the Witness with Bruce, Iskwé, Maria Dunn and Martyn Joseph

Martyn you probably know, and that Bruce guy, so I will introduce Iskwé who is Cree, Dene and Metis and Maria Dunn who is from Alberta (I think) and a folksinger in the tradition of Woodie Guthrie according to the festival programme.

Bruce was doing a lot of fussing and fiddling and finger exercises.

Maria Dunn was the host. She started with Martyn Joseph (because he came from the farthest away) who sang a song with the phrase "love wins big." Basically, have courage, believe in love. Lovely, uplifting song.

Next up was Iskwé, who is from Winnipeg and talked about all the indigenous women who go missing and are murdered and their cases are never solved. Tina Fontaine was a 15-year-old indigenous girl, and when her body was found in the Red River, it shocked the country into recognizing, yes, this is a problem. Her song was about all the women who go missing and the "dark corners" in this country. She has a BEAUTIFUL voice and she totally nailed it. I tried to buy her CD, but they were all sold out.

Next up was Bruce. (Extra audience noise when he was introduced.) He talked about wherever he lives, he is inextricably tied to this place (Canada) that we live in a beautiful place and the one small corner of sanity in the Western World, but there are still darks corners "still shit around." He started with Let the Bad Air Out but stopped saying his fingers and voice couldn’t coordinate in the morning. (Note, to a rock star, 1pm is "morning.") He talked about a guitar festival in Colorado and having to play at 10:30am after 2 hours sleep on the tour bus. Everyone else was playing gypsy jazz which he hadn’t played since he first started with the guitar. (I remember that workshop. Bruce looked about as friendly as a grizzly bear who had been forcibly woken out of hibernation.) He switched to Call It Democracy and it went fine.

Next up was Maria Dunn who sang a song about the 1932 Hunger March, which she co-wrote with someone who was there and is now 90 years old. The phrase I caught was "We were good people" i.e. people marched because they were desperate during the Depression. It wasn’t for ideology. Yet, the marchers were met with violence from the police and dismissed as "Reds." She sang about the shock of people who had grown up learning to trust the police and go to them for help to be met with police using billy clubs to crack their skulls. The parallels with politics now are hopefully blindingly obvious.

Round 2 – back to Martyn. He is a big fan of Bruce’s and talked about how honoured he was to share the stage with Bruce. We listen to songwriters to "know we’re not alone in the world." Bruce’s made him feel he wasn’t alone. Martyn sang a new song, inspired by the latest UK election. After Brexit, Theresa May thought she’d call a snap election and go for it. Instead the young people voted and she didn’t get the result she was expecting. His song was about how the young people are different and his hope for a better world with their generation.

Then back to Iskwé. Her next song came from her anger about Harper dismissing there was such a thing as missing and murdered indigenous women and refusing to hold an inquiry. The only lyrics I caught was "Nobody knows." She has an amazing voice. She could blast Harper straight out of the room with her voice alone. Others were jamming along, including Bruce.

Next up – Bruce again. He played Justice and TOTALLY nailed it.

He said in show business, you’re supposed to end on a positive note, but this next song wasn’t a "party song" but we’d have the rest of the festival to get over it. He played Beautiful Creatures and absolutely nailed it. Nobody on stage moved or tried to join in. They just sat there silently and listened, all turned towards Bruce. I tried to not cry. As an ecologist, I know how true that song is.

And the workshop was over. Everyone got a standing ovation.

Photos from:
Vancouver Island MusicFest Facebook
Twitter - Terry A. Ferrell

Bruce & Colin Linden - short video by Laura Thomas on Instagram

More photos and videos via Twitter & Instagram:
Pano of Vancouver Island MusicFest by ComboPlate Booking
Bruce & Colin Linden - photo by Helen Austin - Instagram
Bruce Cockburn & Colin Linden - Vancouver Island MusicFest - photo Helen Austin - Instagram

Bruce Cockburn - Vancouver Island MusicFest - photo ComboPlate Booking

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