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14 November 2008 - The last 3 gigs Bruce played were benefit concerts. Here's a synopsis with links to articles and interviews.

On 20 September 2008 on Mt. Nemo in Burlington, Ontario Bruce joined Sarah Harmer and others for a benefit show for PERL (PROTECTING ESCARPMENT RURAL LAND). Graham Rockingham of the The Hamilton Spectator has written a great article about this show. "Cockburn, looking like an old Zen master, added his own 40-minute solo set, delivering an acoustic guitar showcase with the instrumental Where All The Rivers End (End of All Rivers). He pulled out some old favourites like Tokyo and Wondering Where The Lions Are, as well as some eco-appropriate songs like If A Tree Falls and Beautiful Creatures."

On 2 October 2008 at the Wild Horse Theatre in Fort Steele, BC. Bruce gave a benefit show for the Jumbo Wild Campaign. Lindsay McPherson of the Invermere Valley Echo has a great article titled Cockburn loud and clear on Jumbo. And Daniel Keebler has posted another good read by Wendy Stueck of the Globe & Mail. (scroll down to early October dates for this one). One quote, "I can't see any kind of logic to this," Mr. Cockburn said recently in a telephone interview from Ontario. "You're going to build a 6,500-bed resort on a melting glacier at a cost of millions or billions ... a huge investment going into this resort at a time when the viability is draining out of ski resorts across the continent."

Another CockburnProject reader sent us the following report :

Tie Me at the Crossroads, Planet of the Clowns, Mines of Mozambique, Give It Away, If a Tree Falls, Baghdad, Kit Carson, and Put It in Your Heart. [Some new songs were played during the sound check as well.]

Here's the main gig report.

The concert opened with a traditional greeting from the local First Nation whose traditional territory includes the Jumbo Glacier. Everyone was especially concerned about grizzly bears. An elder gave a talk and said an opening prayer. "Grizzly bears hold everything for us." The elder made some remarks about being back in Fort Steele and the memories there. He made an impassioned speech about wanting to show his grandchildren grizzly bears, not just pictures of grizzly bears. "Let the grizzly keep what he has."

Set list :: Shipwrecked at the Stable Door, Lovers in a Dangerous Time, Tokyo, Don't Feel Your Touch, Last Night of the World (Bruce made some remarks that his vocation and avocation and travel taking him far away from his home and loved ones and he can't be there for them.) World of Wonders, Beautiful Creatures, Dream Like Mine (dedicated to all First Nations), End of All Rivers, Give It Away, Kit Carson, Put It in Your Heart (he came alive on this one), Wondering Where the Lions Are, If a Tree Falls, Mystery,

Encore :: Child of the Wind (where he had to stop and retune. He said the song was going to sound really horrible really soon if he didn't.) , Slow Down Fast, Anything Can Happen (he didn't remember the order of the lyrics, but didn't seem to be concerned).
He only had the green Manzer and the 12 string, so that might have influenced the song choices.

Bruce Cockburn - photo credit

On 4 October 2008 at the Farquhar Auditorium - University of Victoria, in Victoria, BC, Bruce Cockburn and retired General Romeo Dallaire, both University of Victoria honorary degree recipients, teamed up for Child Soldiers No More, an evening of song and spoken word in support of ending the use of child soldiers.

Rebecca Tucker of the Marlet wrote this report on Oct 08, 2008.

The University Centre Auditorium was granted a great honour Saturday, Oct. 4, when Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire and Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn presented their "Child Soldiers No More" benefit concert.

The faculty of Human and Social Development arranged for the two Canadians to present their stand against child soldiers worldwide in a compelling, passionate manner.

The first half of the concert was devoted to Dallaire's disturbing speech about the global issue of child soldiers. After a brief intermission, Bruce Cockburn appeared on stage and played some of his best-loved songs.

The concert opened with a short video portraying some startling details about child soldiers, accompanied by alarming pictures of these children holding dangerous weapons.

Dallaire was then introduced by Mary Ellen Purkis, dean of Human and Social Development. Before he was able to say a word, the entire audience - all 1,200 people - were on their feet applauding.

Dallaire was very well-spoken, especially for someone whose first language is not English, and the moving, charismatic way he presented his speech had each person in the auditorium hanging on every word.

Although he did refer to his own experiences, the majority of Dallaire's presentation was dedicated to the issue of child soldiers worldwide. Dallaire delivered a riveting, unforgettable speech, full of insight, shock, and even humor. His mission of calling to attention the issue of child soldiers in underdeveloped countries was undoubtedly fulfilled at UVic. Although he mainly focused on this problem in Africa, Dallaire ascertained that this concern is also alive in Asia, Central and South America and Eastern Europe, whether the children are involved in an arms war or drug war.

The pictures shown in the presentation depicted seven-year-olds with machine guns.

Many audience members expressed horror as they witnessed this. After his presentation, Dallaire responded to questions, giving a thorough answer to each query.

Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn, who has also been an activist in the deterrence of child soldiers, also presented a stunning performance. He too received a standing ovation from the crowd before he was able to begin his presentation.

Cockburn astonished the crowd with his music. Although he was alone on the stage with only his guitar, the sound completely filled the room and energized the crowd. Some of his songs pertained more to the theme of the concert, such as The Mines of Mozambique, as well as strumming out some favourites such as Wondering Where the Lions Are and Lovers in a Dangerous Time, both of which had the audience singing along.

Cockburn explained the stories behind his songs, obligingly answering the questions audience members were shouting out. The music was gripping, and it was evident that each and every song had a deep meaning both to the listener and to the performer.

Halfway through Cockburn's performance, Dallaire once again took his place on stage. As Cockburn played haunting background music. Romeo Dallaire told a story of an encounter with a very young boy when he was in Rwanda. Dallaire recalled his mixed emotions about this child, and pondered the whereabouts of this boy, now a teenager.

Both men exited the stage after this brilliant coordination of music and remembrance. Cockburn returned to play a quick encore, and then he once again thanked the audience.

The stirring, emotional concert proved its worth in exposing the importance of attention to these global issues.

The disturbing factors of Dallaire's speech could remain etched in the minds of those lucky enough to witness this show, and will inevitably inspire many people to take action.

It was evident that both men had put heart and soul into their respective presentations, and left no dull moment all night. ~from

Related Links

  • The Truth is Out There by Carolyn Nikodym
  • Unlikely Alliance by Adrian Chamberlain, Times Colonist

  • ~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.