2 July 2002 -- Bruce has started the second leg of the Anything Anywhere Anytime tour, the summer series. He is playing many out door festivals. I was fortunate to be able to catch him on this tour and as a added treat, meet up with several BC fans who, to this point, I had only 'met' online. Keep reading for the whole story.
2 July 2002 -- The Kate Wolf Memorial Folk Music Festival is held at the Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, California. This is a 3 day folk festival with food booths, crafters, artisans, and enviromental booths set up around the perimeter. It was a hot 95+ degree day with a wind that did help cool things down. This ranch/venue is located near a creek with a good swimming hole, lots of old oak trees surrounding the bowl and parachutes set up for shade. I guess there were a 1000 or so people there, it's hard to tell as everyone moves around so much. This is a beautiful woodsy location, laid back by its very nature. The crowd was certainly a mixed bag with a lot of over 40s, little kids, folkies and hippies from way back.
The trip there was an easy one for me as I live 45 minutes north of the concert site. Not so for some folks. One special thing about this show for me was that I would get to finally meet some BC fans I have only 'met' online. Doug Stacey travelled in from Wisconsin, Elsie Christensen from Connecticut, Paul Chiu from the south bay California, and Pat Seaborg from southern California. We had set up a meeting time at a friends craft booth, but I was impatient! I had a picture of Doug, and actually went up to a few people asking "Doug?"... but no. So I guess I had to wait.
I arrived on Saturday, just before the West Coast Live, with Sedge Thomson, show started. This show was to feature interviews and music from Greg Brown, Bruce Cockburn and Utah Phillips, was being taped and will be broadcast on July 27 on many PBS stations.
I made my way to the side of the bowl (stage left) and was watching the Greg Brown interview, when a woman walked by me with a rather large lens on her camera. I blurted out "Elsie?" She did a double take...I said who I was...and we both looked stunned. How I picked her out of a crowd (no picture here) was one of those truly psychic moments. She led me to her space with Doug Stacey...and stunned him as well.
Bruce is coming on stage now. He has just arrived to the site and hasn't had a chance to really acclumate. During the West Coast Live interview Sedge Thomson asked Bruce what the song Listen For the Laugh was about.. Bruce made the comment that at that time he had been in love with someone who he shouldn't be as they were married. This cause a bit of a stir among the fans.
He then played Lovers In A Dangerous Time which always lights up my life. Then he spoke about the latest album and how, adding new material to an 'oldies' compilation helps sell it... and then he played the title track - Anything Anytime Anywhere.
After the West Coast Live show, Paul Chiu joined us in our space about 5 rows back and just left of center. Again being able to see and experience Bruce with other folks who really get him is a special treat. After that little show, we all split up only to meet up again later.
Seeing Bruce outside was a first for me. Seeing him in such an informal setting was truly wonderful. I have been to many shows starting in the early 80's, and usually could 'make contact' back stage after a gig to say thanks. I was hoping that this venue would allow Bruce to roam a bit, and sure enough, mid-afternoon he was spotted strolling the crafters booths. I had made a beaded necklace for him some time ago, and this was my chance to actually present it to him with my heartfelt thanks to him for keeping my heart and mind alive with his songs and music. It was but a brief 2 minutes...but wonderful just the same. There were many people waiting for the chance to say Thank You Bruce. This was also were I met another friend of the project, Matt, and we shared our 'When did you first hear Bruce' stories. As Bruce strolled on I saw that he spent a good amount of time talking to the folks at the Earth First booth.
At the scheduled meeting time Doug, Elsie, Pat, myself and my husband met up. We were sharing our Bruce moments when it became apparent that Bruce was on stage doing a sound check. So we moseied on over to listen, seems to me we heard a few riffs of Lily Of The Midnight Sky, and 2 new songs, I think one may have been Everywhere Dance, but don't know for sure. There also seemed to be a slight mishap as one of the stage persons dropped one of Bruce's guitars, but no damage was done.
Around 6:30 we took our seats and listened to some of the other musicians. This show being many performers through out the day, I was prepared for a more abbreviated set than what he had been doing in the winter/spring.
At 9:30 Bruce came onstage, he made the comment that he was having too much fun to go to work, so he wasn't going to. He was just gonna play some and have fun. and he broke into the etheral entro to A Dream Like Mine.
I was in rapture mode by this time. It is so cool to be able to look at someone hearing the same notes as you and instantly connecting. That's what is was like sitting with Doug, Elsie, and Pat. We were sharing this concert in a way that I have never shared one before. And that made it even more special. Bruce was in a very good space, talking and laughing and really letting it flow. He sounded great, his playing was superb, and he was very much into talking with us fans. He played, what seems like an anthem these days, The Trouble With Normal. His twinkling eyes, and grins for When You Give It Away sent tingles down my spine.
We also got a surprise, when he did Mamma Just Wants To Barrelhouse for us. A fan asked him what barrelhouse-ing was, and although he gave the meaning to be the old road houses with barrels of alcohol, he said that it could be interperted as something else, and for himself, that is what it meant.
The next song, Rumours of Glory, is still playing in my head. I have always loved this song, but this version is by far the most stunning. It really should be recorded this way. The he launched into My beat.
At this point he had switched to 12 string, Bruce started talking about 9-11, how at first people asked him if he had written a song about it, and how he felt at the time that that was a silly thing to do. But later, one came to him....and he did Put It In Your Heart, followed by a rousing version of Let The Bad Air Out, which almost got the crowd singing along.
He talked about a new song that Andy Milne recorded, Trickle Down, which he had first played at the G8 Summit in Calgary on 26 June. He said how Andy's version was too jazzed up for him to play solo, that he needed a 4/4 beat, so he rearranged it so he could play it. This is an edgy politcal song that does deal with the issues surrounding globalization. It has an almost 'rap' feel to it, but it's Bruce rap for sure! He made many a comment on the evil 8 doing injustices to the world. After this, he broke into one of my all time favorites, Call It Democracy, which is even more powerful today than when he wrote it.
By now the audience had warmed up to Bruce a bit, you gotta rememeber there were a lot of people there who may be having a first Bruce experience. Wondering Where The Lions Are was a crowd sing along pleaser.
Bruce made mention that he had missed something by not having met or known Kate Wolf, and he had been asked to do a song for the memorial. He brought Nina Gerber on stage and they played Closer To The Light ... I could swear Nina was crying and Bruce's heart was wide open at that time. There were tears in many eyes.
Really by this time, I was so overwhelmed with emotions I find it difficult to put into words. Last Night Of The World brought some levity back and the enchanting entro to World Of Wonders caused a hush to fall, until he rips into the song. To hear this song this way is moving beyond the pale and a great way to end the set.
Of course he was brought back for an encore, immediately breaking into another of my personal favorites, If I Had A Rocket Launcher. After which he told us how he had been taken to a hot spring 30 years ago and it had left such am impression on him, that finally a song emerged from that experience, and we were treated to Celestial Horses, a new song that was released on the Borders books special Live on World Cafe, packaged with Anything Anytime Anywhere. The grand finale was the sing-a-long crowd pleaser, Peggy's Kitchen Wall, and we did a very fine job. Bruce's voice was strained at that point, so we all called it a night, and oh what a very fine night it had been.