Submitted by Nancy Bouwma: My daughter, sister-in-law and myself made the trek up to Toronto to attend Colin Linden's CD release of his best record so far "Southern Jumbo" (highly recommended) at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. As soon as you walk in, you notice that the walls are plastered with pictures of past performers like The Rolling Stones, Tragically Hip, BB King and a great shot of Bruce Cockburn and Bernie Finklestein in much younger days. We were admiring the shot and then went into fantasy mode; wouldn't it be something if Bruce showed up tonight too, it would make for another memorable night for sure.
We staked out our spot at the front of the stage; sitting down was not an option for this show, and we knew we would be dancing the night away. During a trip downstairs to check our coats I heard slide dobro music coming from a musician warm-up room, I wondered who it could be... I tapped on the door and it was Doc McLean, one of Colin's old blues buddies from the south. We chatted for awhile and he informed me that there would be many special guests on stage this evening. I asked if Bruce was among them and all he said is that he didn't want to spoil any surprises.
OK, the anticipation is now on a higher level. We knew Colin's show would be amazing because we had been to the initial release party at The Rainbow in Ottawa the weekend before this. Doc McLean was a great opener, very smooth player with a voice that took you to warmer climates. Then Colin took the stage along with Richard Bell, Gary Craig, John Dymond and a young horn and sax player (can't remember their names unfortunately). Colin's new songs are rich in rhythm — you can't help but move and you can't help but feel good. This tends to make everyone around you feel the same way. We met the nicest bunch of guys, each of them knew the music well and were as excited to be there as we all were. The first guest to the stage was Paul Reddick of the Sidemen — Colin has produced for Paul in the past and Paul appears on Colin's new CD on harp and vocals.
Then I spotted him. Bruce was there in the wings tuning up and preparing to come onto the stage. When I pointed this out to the young guy beside me, he could hardly contain his excitement. The place went nuts when Bruce took his place stage right. I loved the effect this atmosphere seemed to have on him, he was always smiling and laughed easily at all the "BROOOOCE" calls from the audience. He and Colin shared something special between them and it was there for all of us to see. The band quickly switched to "Bambi and the Deerhunters" mode. This was playing whatever striked them with wild abandon, and solos were handed off freely and with great length to each of the talented musicians. They played some Bambi classics: Sittin in my LaLa, Feel Good Music, and Colin always covers Waiting for a Miracle with Bruce singing back-up. Bruce played along on some of Colin's new songs and then left the stage.
This made room for some new guests, Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing joined Colin and played some Blackie and the Rodeo Kings tunes. I've gotten to know these guys somewhat from going to so many shows, and it's always a party when they are around. Bruce was called up on stage for the last couple of songs. The last song was Feel Good Music and boy did we! We hung around to talk to Colin afterwards. It was 2:30 by this time, but we were too excited to be tired! I asked Colin if it was OK to go back stage to say goodnight to Tom and he said sure. Tom had already left, but Bruce was there packing up his stuff so I did get to say hello and shook his hand. He was still smiling away and looked in good health and spirits. Another night for us all to remember.