Bruce Cockburn in Nashville
by Ramcey Rodriguez

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Bruce Cockburn - Nashville - Photo by Ramcey Rodriguez

8 September 2011 - After a short break this summer and a trip to Italy, Bruce has started on the fall tour for Small Source of Comfort. He kicked off the tour at the Belcourt in Nashville, where Ramcey, a friend of the CockburnProject and a fellow Human has this to report.

I walked by the entrance to the Belcourt Theater exactly 2 hours before show time. There was already one woman standing by herself, in line. I stopped to ask her if she were really standing in line already? Yes, she was. By the time I went across the street for a sandwich and cold one, a long line had stretched down the sidewalk. The young and rich Vanderbilt kids walked by and looked at all the gray hairs with bemusement.

In line, the chatter all centered around how rare it is that we get to have Bruce in our part of the world; remembrance of past shows, and the like. Soon, the doors opened and we all streamed in.

Bruce Cockburn - Nashville - Photo by Ramcey Rodriguez

The Belcourt is a very small theater which holds less than 250 people. Initially, I was worried as there were less than 100 of us inside. Bruce's sound guy was playing some bizarre house music that ranged from contemporary and very mellow jazz to opera. I started talking with folks around me, taking some pictures of Bruce's stage setup, and soon the theater was nearly full.

The stage was set up with huge chimes on both sides of Bruce. Between the chimes, was a single wedge (stage monitor speaker) which I thought odd since Bruce uses IEM's (in ear monitors). Later, I would figure that the wedge was there for when Colin would join Bruce.

His main mic was centered, with another mic over the dulcimer mounted up high on a modified piano stand. In between was his array of guitars. Both green Manzers, the National Steel, a 12 string, and another 6 string. He has a large rack of gear all lit up behind him that he never touches. He uses the top for his drink, capos and such. Sound was pretty good. Bruce had brought his own sound guy/guitar tech, and his own complete sound system. I went back to admire the sound gear which was all very good equipment. I won't talk more about it since I know that nobody here cares about such. There were 2 mics onstage pointed towards the audience so I was thinking that they might be recording the show. I checked all the sound gear and did not see any recording devices. An old time hippy sound engineer approached me as he'd also been back there to check out the gear. He figured out that the audience mics were so that Bruce can hear the audience during performance. Brilliant!

Bruce Cockburn -Colin Linden- Nashville - Photo by Ramcey Rodriguez

20 minutes past the 8PM start time, the audience was getting a bit restless and started clapping. The sound guy was still tweaking Bruce's guitars, but when I saw him exit the stage and walk back towards the sound board, I told everyone around me that it was show time, and it was! The lights dimmed.

Bruce walked out unannounced to a fairly enthusiastic greeting. It takes a lot to impress a Nashville audience. Many of the people in the house are great musicians, sound engineers and music industry folks. Bruce seemed to be a little rusty perhaps from some time off. He missed a chord or two, forgot a line in Each One Lost, and struggled a bit with some of the high notes when singing. But as the show went on and he warmed-up, he got in the groove.

We got nearly a 2 hour show, not including the VERY long intermission. So long, that the couple next to me walked to one of the restaurants, ate, and made it back before Bruce started the 2nd set. Before the show, when I was back at the sound board area, Colin Linden walked in with his wife. I said hello and shook hands with him, and he intro'd me to his wife before they took their seats. During the 2nd set, Bruce would invite him up twice; initially for a stunning version of 5:51, and then for the encores.

There was clearly a chemistry and joy between the two men that can only come from many, many years of friendship and music together. I have some nice pictures, a few of which are already up on FaceBook. I'll try to put some into the files section of Humans if I'm able, or share them in some other way. There are a few that I know all of you would really enjoy seeing. [Editor note: All of Ramcey's photos are up on the CockburnProject's Facebook page.]

Bruce Cockburn - Nashville - Photo by Ramcey Rodriguez Bruce Cockburn - Nashville - Photo by Ramcey Rodriguez

Bruce came out into the lobby where a long line had formed to meet him and get things signed. I have many autographs from Bruce and have met him numerous times, so I just stood there talking with friends and watching the activities for a few minutes absorbing the last of the good vibes before heading out the door into the cool Nashville night and driving out to the hills.

Bruce Cockburn - Nashville - Photo by Ramcey Rodriguez

Bruce Cockburn -Colin Linden- Nashville - Photo by Ramcey Rodriguez

--------------- 1st Set
1 Last Night of the World
2 Lovers in a Dangerous Time
3 Child of the Wind
4 Bohemian 3-Step
5 When You Give It Away
6 Iris of the World
7 Strange Waters
8 Boundless
9 Arrows of Light

--------------- 2nd Set
1 Lord of the Starfields
2 Pacing the Cage
3 Called Me Back
4 Five Fifty-One
5 Put It In Your Heart
6 Each One Lost
7 Wondering Where the Lions Are
8 If a Tree Falls

Colin Linden - Nashville - Photo by Ramcey Rodriguez

-------------- Encore
1 God Bless the Children
2 All the Diamonds
3 Gifts

(Bruce had "Comets written on his set list for the encore but chose not to do it since he invited Colin up to finish the show with him).

Thanks for making it down "South", Bruce. Go get 'em in Atlanta tonight.........Ramcey Rodriguez

There are also some YouTube videos from this show, you can search from here.

~ 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.