Tour dates & setlists

-- 25 September 2019--

2019 Index

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25 September 2019


Covenant Fine Arts Center


Grand Rapids, MI. USA

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Crowing Ignites tour w/ John Aaron Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn & John Aaron Cockburn - Calvin College - 25 Spetember 2019 - photo Brent Hepp

Bruce Cockburn & John Aaron Cockburn - Calvin College - 25 Spetember 2019 - photo Byron Borger




Comments/further information

Setlist provided to the Project by Brent Hepp, who also sent in the top photo.

Photo guitar cases: Byron Borger - Twitter

Photo-review: oddude1or2 - reddit


Bruce Cockburn has been doing this a long time, and it is evident that he is quite comfortable with how good he is. An attentive crowd of several hundred fans at Calvin College’s Covenant Fine Arts Center showed their admiration as the 74-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter and guitar hero performed two sets that broadly covered music spanning his nearly five-decade catalog.

The evening included several breathtaking instrumental compositions taken from the just-released album “Crowing Ignites,” Cockburn’s 34th official release, a collection of all-instrumental guitar work. There were also plenty of opportunities for Cockburn to showcase his smooth, round baritone voice and signature lyrical style — a combination of traditional folk storytelling and confessionals with vivid spoken word poetry and frequent barbed iconoclastic wit.

Imagine if Leonard Cohen could play guitar like Django Reinhardt and possessed the trickster satirical bent of Randy Newman and you have an idea of Cockburn’s eclectic range. From ’80s gems like “Wondering Where the Lions Are” (his biggest U.S. hit), “Peggy’s Kitchen Wall” and the Reagan-era protest anthem “Call It Democracy” to later work like the playfully romantic “Last Night of the World” and withering social commentary “Café Society,” he gave his audience a full spectrum of what has made him a unique and beloved artist. The adoring response showed why he has made the trip to perform at Calvin University “at least 6 or 7 times.”

Though he has never enjoyed the same broad popularity in the States as in his native land to the north, his emotional depth as a songwriter and virtuosity as a player will ensure that he always has a loyal and grateful base. They’re comfortable with how good he is too, and Wednesday night proved he still has plenty more to come. – By Calin Skidmore

PHOTO GALLERY: Bruce Cockburn at Calvin University - Photos by Kendra Petersen-Kamp

Show Review: Bruce Cockburn returns to Calvin by Anna Jeffries, Guest Writer|September 30, 2019

At the age 74, Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Bruce Cockburn has 34 albums to his name, including his most recent instrumental album that came out earlier this year. As part of his “Bone on Bone” tour, Cockburn once again graced the CFAC auditorium with his presence on Wednesday evening.

While Cockburn has performed at Calvin on numerous occasions — at least half a dozen times, by SAO Director Ken Heffner and the audience’s reckoning — a good-sized crowd of both older and younger generations gathered to hear him perform two full sets on the CFAC stage.

Cockburn, accompanied by his nephew John Cockburn, played a wide selection of songs from his vast repertoire that spans nearly 50 years (his first album debuted in 1970). Songs included “Night Train,” “3 Al Purdys” and “Café Society,” as well as a good selection of purely instrumental pieces.

A great number of Cockburn’s songs — like “3 Al Purdys” and “Café Society” — are underlain by shrewd and biting social commentary. As one line in “Café Society” goes, “The caliphate of perverts, the flight of refugees / Expanding ranks of homeless and the disappearing bees.”

Perhaps Cockburn’s most famous song in this vein is “If I Had A Rocket Launcher.” In the discussion with Ken Heffner that followed the two-hour show, Cockburn commented on how tired he is of audience members who demand that he play “If I Had A Rocket Launcher.” Cockburn also mentioned his empathy for Greta Thunberg and her environmental activism.

In the Q&A session, one audience member asked Cockburn what pains him as a Christian living in a broken and painful world. Cockburn explained that the thing that pains him most, now an older man who’s seen a great deal of life, is “the distance between myself and God… I don’t want to die and go up to heaven and be unable to recognise God.”

In response to Heffner’s classic closing question of “What would you want your audience to come to your concert with?” Cockburn replied that the more interaction he could receive from his audience, the more he could give as an artist.

Cockburn then thanked the CFAC audience for being a lovely and loud audience. “My last audience was good in their own way,” he said. “They listened intently and never interrupted. But you guys are good in a different way, so, thank you!”

In his uniquely quiet, intense way, Cockburn continues to dazzle his audiences with incredible guitar picking while also challenging them with the heart-wrenching troubles of the world. Secular and Christian audiences alike can’t help but pause when Cockburn sings, “And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate / If I had a rocket launcher, if I had a rocket launcher / If I had a rocket launcher, I would retaliate.”

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