Tour Reports - Part 2

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20 August 2006 - The Life Short Call Now tour is in full swing. Below are tour reports from several different fans and venues. Bruce is touring with Julie Wolf and Gary Craig and opening many of the shows is Sarah Harmer.

2 August 2006 - The first report I read was from Lorraine who was at the House of Blues show August 1st. in Los Angeles. The show sounded totally on and high energy which got my energy up for the August 5 show at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. All the photos in this article are by Layne Russell, taken during the Paradise show. You can see more photos of Bruce at Layne's Flickr site.

Bruce Cockburn at Paradise, CA Here's the setlist with Lorraine's comments.
Open, Lovers in a Dangerous Time, Wondering Where the Lions Are, Jerusalem Poker Bruce segued into this song by recounting some tidbits from his trip to Jerusalem this past spring (for about a week). After an 11-hour flight there, he and his girlfriend were held up for 5 hours in customs because, while Bruce had a shiny new passport with no stamps on it, his girlfriend (an unspecified type of relief worker) had stamps from Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. so they were closely scrutinized. Bruce described his visit as like `being on acid,' or something like that, partly because of the great diversity and energy in the population. Anyway, he enjoyed himself. (I did not get a glimpse of said girlfriend.)

Life Short Call Now, Beautiful Creatures, Wait No More, Dust & Diesel, Baghdad, Tell the Universe, Put it in Your Heart, Night Train, Different When It Comes to You, Last Night Of The World, Slow Down Fast TWO solos, first Bruce and then Julie they rocked the house! It would be fun if they could work out a call-and-answer type segment to this. Pacing The Cage, If A Tree Falls, Mystery

Encore 1: End of All Rivers, If I Had A Rocket Launcher

Encore 2: Let The Bad Air Out, To Fit In My Heart

The Venue [House of Blues in Los Angeles]
The show was about one-half sold (about 500 tickets), but it seems like attendance was below that. (HoB Sunset's capacity is about 1000.) Someone mentioned afterwards that at this location, people tend to wander in off the street and sit around and drink, not caring who's playing and, a result, creating a loud distraction. I did not notice this, but I was up front and wearing earplugs. :^) The show was standing only, which was good for dancing.
Security was nonexistent at the restaurant, but very tight when we entered the floor for the concert. The men had to empty their pockets, the women had their purse contents inspected, and everybody had to be wanded (front and back). Sign of the times.

The Show
Sarah Harmer and her band played from 8:30 to about 9:10pm. Her voice puts me in the mind of Emmylou Harris. I found her folksy style quite pleasing. Sarah's set list is at the end of the review.

Bruce, Gary Craig and Julie Wolf started playing at 9:35 and did not stop until 11:45. Gary almost stole the show with his animated playing. Really fun to watch! He also played some large bells and chimes. (He missed the chimes a few times, but it's only the beginning of the tour. I'm sure he'll be dead-on in future shows.)

Bruce as always used no less than seven guitars during the show. As noted above, my favorite bit was Slow Down Fast, also (IMHO) Julie's best moment. Something to look forward to, folks! I think Bruce and Julie have hit their stride as a musical team. (Well, there was ONE moment when at the beginning of a song, Julie started playing something, and Bruce turned around and said, "That's not right at all!" and laughed. Julie quickly corrected the error!)

I found the first half of the show to be moderate to slow paced, but the second half picked up. Bruce demanded a lot of his voice by including Put It In Your Heart, Slow Down Fast, Beautiful Creatures and Let the Bad Air Out in the same show - without a break.

Bruce was not too chatty. His longest speech was the intro to Jerusalem Poker. To the obligatory song request shouts, he responded with a polite but firm, "Oh no . . ."

Sarah's Set List (as written on the napkin the four of them had their set lists on napkins who needs a photocopier?
Aglow, Pendulums
Oleander "A song about the survival of a houseplant in Canada"
Phoenix, Escarpment, Silver Road, Ring, Goin' Out, Dandelions.

Bruce Cockburn at Paradise, CA

8 August 2006 - Report on the Great American Music Hall show August 5.

While waiting in line we met up with Paul from Fremont who had just been to the Winery show, keep an eye on the 2006 Archives for a great review of this show from Joseph. We also met some long time fans while waiting in line, this is always one of the most fun things about a Bruce show.. meeting other fans.. you can read more about this at my blog.

The Great American Music Hall on August 5 show was also quite the rocker. The setlist was identical to the House of Blues show with the exception of the encores. The energy in the Great American Music Hall was extremely high, you could feel the give and take Bruce had with the audience. Julie was on the accordian for the first song, Open, which is a great song to open the show with. The next song was a slower tempoed version of Lovers in a Dangerous Time than I had ever heard. Wondering Where the Lions Are brought about the usual sing-a-long, and the crowd certainly seemed into it.

A lovely instrumental, Jerusalem Poker, was next with Julie was playing the Melodica, (that mouth tube thingy - very technical term!). Bruce commented on how a friend had called this one, (Life Short Call Now), of the saddest songs she had ever heard, until she heard the next one Beautiful Creatures. Both songs at times bring me close to tears.

Wait No More burst forth with such energy, Bruce was jamming hard and the hall was rocking. I am sure the missed lines in Dust & Diesel, a favorite of mine for sure, were due to just having too much fun :) Julie's solo soared.

Bruce wasn't chatting up the crowd, but he did mention his trip to Baghdad and the collaboration between Ben Reilly, Steve Lucas, Julie and himself that brought together Tell the Universe, then he went into Put It In Your Heart, a song with intense lyrics but a danceable beat that Bruce was blazing through!

Night Train, with Julie on accordian, rocked and rocked some more. The crowd was jumpin'. I love this new song, simple that it is, Different When It Comes to You, and Last Night Of The World brought the crowd into another sing-a-long. I was so blissed out by this time.. this show was more high energy than I have seen at his shows in quite some time.

Bruce was growling through Slow Down Fast with blazing guitar and keyboard solos. Slowing the pace a bit for Pacing The Cage causing more than a few goosebumps. If A Tree Falls is usually well received on this liberal north coast, and this was no exception. He ended the set with Mystery, a slow but catchy 'camp fire' type song.. the more I hear it the more I like it.
Bruce Cockburn at Paradise, CA
Encore 1: Let The Bad Air Out --- Bruce's deep growl of "let the bad air out" is always fun.
To Fit In My Heart -- I am still warming up to this intense slow song.

Encore 2: If I Had A Rocket Launcher - I bet Bruce would love to never have to play this song again, but I love it every time and his guitar work is just awesome. Not wanting to leave us with that song in mind, he surprised us all by playing Lord of the Starfields. What a great way to end the night.

~bobbi wisby

Related Links

  • Layne Russell's photos of Bruce
  • Layne Russell's photos

    Tour Reports

    30 June 2006 - As promised, below is a review of the gig at the Kate Wolf Memorial Festival, where temperatures were in the triple digits all weekend, hot is a good way to describe the whole show!

    I was looking forward to the Kate Wolf Festival, it is always a fun and intimate venue to see Bruce at. The vendors always have something for everyone and just meeting the people and hanging is a great way to spend the day. This day, though, dawned as hot as the previous few days, it was 104.4 F at our house (1 1/2 hours north-west) at 2:00pm we left for the site, much later than usual. On the way I got my first listen to the new cd, Life Short Call Now, which has some very different arrangements and muscial stylings to appreciate.

    Bruce Cockburn

    The air-conditioned drive cooled us enough to get into the bowl and find our chairs which a friend had put out for us that morning. We had just settled in, it was about 4:00pm, when Bruce took the stage for sound check. He was a bit unreconizable with his floppy brimmed hat and sunglasses.. did I say it was hot? I was taking photos off to the left side of the stage, my camera was so hot I could barely hold it .... it was 108F in the bowl about that time. Bruce, Leslie and Bob set up the sound, and Bruce played Let The Bad Air Out and another song that (silly me) I didn't write down and then I got heat exhaustion and couldn't remember anything!

    After sound check we took off in search of COLD water and food. The temps started to come down, and I started to function more coherently. We met up with Doug Stacey, long time CockburnProject friend, and several of his friends from Illinois, who came out west for the show. Bruce was to come on at 8:30pm, but due to Greg Brown and the Campbell Brothers running over an hour, Bruce didn't come on stage until around 9:30. He opened with a beautiful instrumental that I couldn't place at that time (remember heat - brain - fade), but will update in the setlist in days to come.

    Goin' To The Country was next in line and wonderful to hear live. Open and If I Had A Rocket Launcher brought a crowd response... although I must say the audience was quieter than at most Bruce shows I have been too. Bruce also wasn't as chatty.. too bad, I really enjoy the insights he gives in those moments.

    Although he described this title song to the new cd Life Short Call Now as a downer, it has a great melody:
    "Got no city, got no land
    Got no lover, got no wife
    How many ways to say goodbye
    Can one man fit in a nomad life? Life short-call now"

    I like it and can relate to it. Almost anyone who has spent "time on the road" or looking for love, can. I really wanted to call out "Give me your number!" but my throat couldn't handle it. I was surprised that no one else did!!

    Beautiful Creatures is a mournful song. The pace picked up a bit with Put It In Your Heart, a song about Osama bin Laden, and another crowd pleaser. The tirade against the Bush's in Tell The Universe was followed by This Is Baghdad. A friend asked me in the middle of the above set, if he was always 'this serious'? Before I could answer, Bruce said something along the lines of, 'Ok, now that we have the party songs out of the way..' and the crowd laughed, breaking the tension a bit.

    One of my favorite older songs, After The Rain was next, and a real treat to hear. Then the song which is the 'single' from the new cd, Different When It Comes To You was performed to a good response. Last Night Of The World always a crowd pleaser, and the enchanting The End of All Rivers which never sounds the same to me twice. Bruce got the crowd singing along with the oldie but goodie, Wondering Where the Lions Are. And ended the set with Mystery, another beautiful slow song.

    He only left the stage for only moments, came back and treated us to the bluesy King Kong Goes To Tallahassee and rocked the house with the meaningfull (especially for where we live here on the North Coast of California), If A Tree Falls. He thanked us, bowed and blew kisses and was gone. He left me wanting more, and I think it is good way to leave. All in all it was a good show. Bruce's guitar playing was spot on and really shinning. I look forward to listening more fully to Life Short Call Now and to seeing Bruce with Julie Wolf and Gary Craig later on in the tour.

    Related Links

  • Cumulus Presents
  • ~bobbi wisby

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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.