4 March 2002 -- This is the second in a series of fan reports from the current 'Anything Anytime Anywhere' solo tour by Bruce Cockburn. This report comes to the project from Jamie, one of the Humans, [the largest Internet-based Cockburn discussion forum] and is being reprinted here with his blessings.
2 March 2002 -- The ticket said "A Very Special Solo Evening", and that it was. It was just Bruce and three acoustic guitars - no electrics, no charangoes and most surprisingly, no wind chimes, but as Sandy has already said, the man was in top form for the first show of his North American Tour. The Colonial Theater is a nice, relatively small venue that was nearly sold out, and the audience seemed subdued yet appreciative to me until Bruce left the stage and I turned around to see that the ENTIRE PLACE was giving him a well-deserved standing ovation. Three songs later, he would earn another one as he was leaving for the evening. He didn't say much, even when playing the more political tunes in his set, but his lyrics and guitar spoke volumes. He definitely was in good spirits, acknowledging the cheers from the crowd during songs with a disarming grin and a simple nod of the head. I'd like nothing more than to be able to catch a few more shows.
The set list, with comments:
A DREAM LIKE MINE -- Prefaced with a very nice, slow intro. I really like the lyrcis to this song, and it was nice to hear it live again.
LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME -- Pretty much the standard solo version, but he hit some pretty interesting high notes near the end.
ANYTHING, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE -- Prefaced with a comment that he had a new compiliation out and he'd recorded two songs for it because the record label figured it would be good to give radio stations new material to play in favor of the old material that they didn't play the first time. I liked this version better than the studio, though I admit I haven't listened to AAA much since I got it.
THE TROUBLE WITH NORMAL -- Nice picking on this one. It's funny; this was a blazing rocker on the last tour, yet stripped down to its bare essentials it worked just as well in this setting.
WHEN YOU GIVE IT AWAY -- Complete with two brain freezes, which would have made me wonder what was in the thermos he was drinking from if the rest of the song hadn't been so flawless. "Where you gonna go for some innoculation?" I would have called it a Freudian slip a few months ago.
ALL THE WAYS I WANT YOU -- Rendered pretty much along the lines of the original; this sounded really nice. He complemented Jimmy Buffett's version of it.
TIBETAN SIDE OF TOWN -- As I told my friends who were there, it was worth the price of the ticket just to see him play this one tune, as it's one of the best ones, IHMO. Tremendous guitar work.
TOKYO -- Sounded nice. He must like this song because he seems to seldom omit it from his set.
RUMOURS OF GLORY -- This was the biggest surprise of the evening. He's really redone this one and for the better, again in IMHO. In my notes I wrote "exotic intro", and at 1 in the morning I'm not sure if I can think of a better way to put it. I've seen and heard him do this in a variety of styles and this one was the best.
MANGO -- Standard acoustic version.
PACING THE CAGE -- The same; the crowd loved it.
MY BEAT -- He switched to the 12 string for this one, saying that he'd been having fun learning how to play it over the past year, explaining that you basically play it like a 6 string but it feels different.
PUT IT IN YOUR HEART -- A "really" new song, he told us, that was precipitated by 9/11 as well as other things. He opined that 9/11 has affected people in some fairly strange ways, and illustrated that by mentioning that interviewers have been asking him how his own musical listening has changed as a result of 9/11. He wondered why that really mattered since nobody seemed to care what he was listening to prior to 9/11, and quoted a friend of his from Washington as saying that if we want to fight against any -ism, it should be fundamentalism. A statement like this carries some interesting weight coming from a committed Christian. Oh yeah, the song was really cool too. I have a really good feeling about the next CD.
LET THE BAD AIR OUT -- I caught a boyish smirk on his face while he was singing this one. He played it during the sound check too so he must still be diggin' it. I know I am.
CALL IT DEMOCRACY -- He returned to the six string for this one, which was also a crowd favorite.
JUSTICE -- Sounded nice, the first time I've seen him play it live. He performed it without comment before or after the song.
WONDERING WHERE THE LIONS ARE LAST NIGHT OF THE WORLD WORLD OF WONDERS -- My notes just say "WOW!!!" and that's exactly how I felt. He introed this one with a nice solo that led me to think he was playing a different song until the first verse kicked in. I first got into Bruce when this album came out so this was a definite highlight for me.
ENCORE (He did only one, but who's complaining - it was three great songs long.)
WAITING FOR A MIRACLE -- An understated, nice treatment.
DOWN TO THE DELTA -- My friend Elizabeth didn't know this one so when he ripped into it I told her she was in for a treat. I wasn't lying. By necessity, a shorter version than that played by the band in 2000, but a showcase for his guitar skills all the same.
PEGGY'S KITCHEN WALL -- Nice to hear after all these years, and another crowd pleaser. He must have sold lots of copies of "Stealing Fire" in the Keene area because everyone in the place knew the answer vocal and wasn't shy about singing it.
It was a great evening spent with four good friends, and it was nice to meet Sandy from NH (Frizzbean) [one of the Humans, the largest Internet-based Cockburn discussion forum] as well. Those of you who have tickets to see any of the upcoming shows, I hope you enjoy him as much as I did!
Wares for sale -- an AAA t-shirt with the image of him riding his bike that appears on the CD itself on the front and "bruce cockburn anything, anytime, anywhere" on the back. Also the "River of Sand" and "Life and Times" videos and an assortment of CDs, which I didn't look carefully at but I noticed that the out of print "Live" was among the offerings.
If you've read this far, then bless ya. Good night!
[You can find this setlist with links to the songs here]